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How To Set Up an Email Autoresponder To Improve the Customer Engagement Cycle in Your Business

customer engagement cycle
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customer engagement cycleIn business, there are a few common phases we all have to go thru: idea > startup > getting traffic > getting conversions > scaling > exit or legacy building.  Of course, there are many tactics that vary between each industry, and even moreso when you look under the hood of each business, but the basic strategy, from idea to exit is the same.  A huge and vital component in any company is customer engagement.  Without customer engagement, you won’t have referrals or retention which is the lifeblood of any long-lasting business.  In this article, I want to explain how to set up an email autoresponder that can help you improve the customer engagement cycle in your business.


I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs try to exit the startup phase and struggle with getting the traffic and conversions to stabilize their businesses.  Testing and stabilizing consistent routes of traffic and conversions is one of the most trying parts of entrepreneurship: it can take days, months, or even years to balance the traffic and conversions with the business expenses (especially if the overhead is high).  Even after the startup work is done, some entrepreneurs struggle to maintain the balance for years, or even for the life of the business.


Let’s not let that be us!


The Key To Balancing Sales and Expenses


While this brief summary sounds much easier than it is in real life, the basics of what needs to be done is…


Create a good customer experience and follow the formula for customer loyalty to expedite the process of stabilizing traffic and conversions.   In today’s market, it’s very difficult to create a quality user experience and orchestrate ongoing customer interactions without using digital marketing.  Digital marketing can enable you to walk customers thru each phase of the customer purchase cycle: research, awareness, interest, desire, and action/sale.


Within digital marketing are many components that are key to creating a preeminent brand.  For customer acquisition, some key components are (some with more attention than others):


  • Aesthetics and Website design
  • Website Conversion tools
  • Social media
  • External Networking, Masterminding, and Community Building
  • Joint venture
  • Media
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Affiliate marketing


And for referrals and retention, some key components are:


  • Content creation
  • Product and service delivery
  • Quality
  • Customer service and responses to inboxes/threads
  • Internal Networking, Masterminding, and Community Building
  • Affiliate marketing


Nowadays, email marketing is a MAJOR component of business: both those primarily digital and brick and mortar.  It’s very effective at creating highly engaged clients if you use it properly.  Piggybacking off of my previous article on creating engagement on your email list, I want to share with you a few strategies for using email marketing to create engagement with customers in your business.


What is the Customer Engagement Cycle?


customer engagement cycleThe customer engagement cycle is the epitome of business interaction with their customers.  It’s a circle that shows the customer going round and round like this:




Many people experience the connection phase.  Some may get to the customer connection and interaction phases, but the very successful companies have several people who have fulfilled all of the phases!


It’s a very big achievement to have several people who have gotten from connection all the way past advocacy and back again!  That’s a level of greatness we should aspire to!


As entrepreneurs, we want to stabilize this circle and expand the volume of people engaged in our customer engagement cycle.  The more customers you can take from connection to advocacy, the more sound your reputation, and the more organic referral growth your business can have!

Facts About Customer Engagement

1. Customers won’t advocate for a company without knowing WIIFM (What’s in it for me?)

2. Most customers value their reputation, so they want to share products and services that authentically offer value

3. Some people can be bribed into promoting faulty products and services, but this is not a long-lasting business approach because the truth of the product/service quality will be discovered.

4. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing expenses by 10% (Emmet Murphy)

5. 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact in the buying process (ITSMA/CFO): there’s a place for technology but a place also for human interaction.

6. 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations (Forbes): future pacing is a huge key to solving customer problems and maintaining a preeminent brand.

7. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey): customer experience is the key factor to differentiate yourself from competitors.

8. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% (Emmet Murphy): not only should you pay attention to sales and budgets to forecast business income, but you should also consider retention, churn, and referral ratios.

9. The revenue impact from a 10% improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion (Forrester): customer experience is what will help you stay top of mind and be the first choice in the customer purchase cycle.



How Does Automated Email Software Relate to the Customer Engagement Cycle?


While social media tycoons like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are trying to create a streamlined buying experience where customers and businesses rely on social media, the truth is most people still have better experiences with the basic email.  Customers desire human interaction and email enables the flow of communication from person to person.


Automated email software is coming a long way!  Automation can enable you to stay top of mind while responding to customer emails can offer them the human connection they may need in their purchase cycle.


Now, rather than simply sending emails or broadcast newsletters, there are many more interactive options available that are enabling business owners to understand and interact with their customers better.  Automations can be set up for onboarding, escorting customers thru the sales funnel, introductions, ongoing checkups, and so many other things.  You can still balance the human need for connection without creating extra burden and anxiety by “missing days”, not being consistent, or messaging at odd times because of the convenience of email automation.


There are fairly evergreen methods of setting up email marketing automations to engage with customers on a regular basis.  Why wouldn’t you use the automation abilities of the email marketing software to engage more with your customers?


Automated Email Marketing Service


My preferred automated email marketing service is Convertkit.  With Convertkit, I am able to segment my clients based on their interests, purchasing habits, or interaction (clicks, opens, and replies) to enable the right messages go to the right users.


With alternative platforms I’ve tried, creating automation workflows is very complex, but with Convertkit, sending courses via email, setting up email sales funnels, or overall automated interactions is easy to set up.  The colors and visual automations make it very easy to glimpse at your automation workflow to identify what triggers send customers to one sequence or another.  You can see some examples of what I’m talking about here:




What is an Email Sequence?


An email sequence is simply a planned series of emails that goes out in an automated way.  You can create a sequence with one email or you can create much longer sequences–it’s entirely up to you.  With Convertkit, you can choose to only send sequence emails out on specific days of the week, and you can choose the spacing in between emails.  For example, you can set up your first email to go out immediately following a trigger like “person completes optin”, then you can send email two the following day, or space it out however you wish.


Email marketing specialists use email sequences to send out e-courses via email, to follow up with customers who made a purchase or are considering a purchase, to take customers from the research phase of the sales funnel thru to the action phase, and so on.


You can see an e-course email sequence I have set up in Convertkit:


customer engagement cycle


You see how easy the Convertkit interface is to understand?  On the left are the series of emails: the top is first and the bottom is last.  If I want to add more messages into the sequence, I simply would have to scroll to the bottom message and click a button that says “Add Email”.  You can see that here:


customer engagement cycle


Create Interactive Newsletters vs. Live In-Person Interaction?


When you have a physical business location, customer interaction is quite a bit different than in the online world.  Usually, when you walk into a location, there is a bell or alert letting office residents know someone entered the door then someone rushes to greet you.  How do you make up for the greeter?


In retail locations, they take it up a notch because many locations have someone who will ask you what you’re looking for, and even walk you to the section so you can make your purchases.  How do you escort the customer over to the area where they can make their buying decision online?


Of course, the aesthetics and navigation of your website is going to play a huge role in performing the live person functions in a digital space.  Optins, live chat, and notifications also help to bridge the gap and help online entrepreneurs create a live person feel in a digital space.  Do you know another key ingredient in creating the live person feel in a digital environment?




customer engagement cycleIf you use an email autoresponder without interactive features, it would be very difficult to liken the user experience to a live person experience.  As competition and technology drows in the digital space, users are expected a higher quality experience online.  Email service providers like Convertkit enable entrepreneurs to create interactive newsletters where even psychographics and underlying beliefs can be learned easier.  The more you know about your client, the better because with the data, you can be a better advisor, understand their intent and their goals, and MAKE SALES!


By setting up hyperlinks and tags inside of email newsletters, you can segment your audience by interests and buying histories.  This is powerful!


You can nurture your clients by email automation–allowing them to self-elect things they may be interested in, and serve them information based on their stated interests!  Gone are the days where internet marketers have to broadcasts tampons to their whole lists because they can’t tell whose man versus whose women.  Many awkward moments can be avoided if entrepreneurs take the time to set up email automation workflows and interactive newsletters.


Interactive Newsletter Ideas


1. Storytelling


Andre Chaperon introduced many to the concept of emailing similar to screenwriting–where you break a story into parts, and leave cliffhangers from one email into the next.  When you add lots of drama into a story, and leave suspenses to be fulfilled later in your email sequence, it draws people into your sequence.


TV series writers are experts at writing high drama episodes and leaving cliffhangers that make viewers eager to come back for the next episode.  In his course Autoreponder Madness, Chaperon teaches the same method, but he also uses storytelling to segment readers from one relevant sequence into another.


Storytelling can be very powerful for mproving the customer engagement cycle!


2. Interest Based Sequence Optins


customer engagement cycleAdded onto storytelling, you can hyperlink interest-based tags.  For example, you could write a story about how you struggled when you started your business, but then you had an epiphany.  You could leave the cliffhanger like that, and connect it to a call-to-action where you say something like “if you are currently struggling in your business startup and you’d like to know my steps to success, CLICK HERE”, then you could draw those who clicked from one sequence into a more relevant sequence for their situation.


If I didn’t explain that well enough, please leave your questions in the comments section below.


Not all email marketing software can easily perform like that, but Convertkit makes tagging and segmentation a peice of cake!


3. Tags Post Purchase


Another great way to use the tagging feature is to tag users who make a purchase.  I’ve seen entrepreneurs who use email service providers like Mailchimp that doesn’t have tagging capabilities.  When customers make a purchase, they don’t have an easy way of segmenting customers, so when they have sales or specials, it creates disloyalty and dissatisfaction for the customers who bought the product or service prior to the sale.


For example, maybe you have a product that you sell for $199, then, you decide to have a 50% off sale.  Without tags, most people would simply send out a broadcast email.  When the customer who made the $199 purchase the day before the sale (or even the week or month before the sale) receives your message about 50% off, how do they feel? In cases like this where companies send out pre-purchase message to post-purchase users, they typically see higher churn rates, sometimes effects on referrals, and overall, it’s better to have the pre-purchase and post-purchase users segmented.  It saves alot of potential havoc.


4. Left the Page without Purchase Tags


One very cool tag is the one you can add when a user leaves a sales page without making a purchase.  If they’re on the sales page, it’s very likely, they have correlating interests with your product or service.  When effectively used, having the ability to tag users who don’t buy can trigger a sequence.


You could set up a simple message that says something like, “I noticed you scanned the sales page, but didn’t buy, did you have questions I can help you with?”.  Being able to initiate a conversation about potential reservations prior to the sale and automate the conversation could be extremely powerful, and could play a positive role on your sales volumes!


5. Hyperlinks to relevant posts, products, or services

Another way you can add interactive abilities within your emails is by using simple hyperlinking.  By hyperlinking relevant posts, products, and services in your emails, you could add a huge additional value to your clients by email which would reward you time and time again with their engagement and attention.


Lots of VALUE wins ATTENTION.  ATTENTION is required for ENGAGEMENT, so add LOTS OF VALUE!  Storytelling, interest based sequences, helping to answer reservations, and hyperlinking to additional value.

A Playlist on How to Set Up an Email Autoresponder to Improve the Customer Engagement Cycle



Final Words on How To Set up an Email Autoresponder to Improve the Customer Engagement Cycle


The goal of this article was to show you how to set up an autoresponder to improve the customer engagement cycle.  Hopefully, you use the information in this article to achieve new levels of success in your business.  If you have questions or concerns, I’d love to help you out.  Please leave them below.


If you’d like my help to start or grow your online business, let’s get started by setting up your FREE account HERE!


Now, it’s Your Turn…


Have you set up an email autoresponder to improve the customer engagement cycle in your business?  What were your results?  What advice would you give for someone setting one up for the first time or someone whose may not be working?  Leave your comments, questions, and feedback below.

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