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A Ninja Email Autoresponder Trick You Can Use to Save Time and Make More Money

A Ninja Email Autoresponder Trick You Can Use to Save Time and Make More Money

By Pat Flynn on

Email Autoresponder TrickToday I was supposed to publish an epic tutorial style post about how to host a webinar for free using Google Hangouts on Air. I spent 8 hours on the post so far but decided just now to wait to hit the publish button because I wanted to test a couple more things before I share the tutorial with you.

I’ll be hosting my 2nd free monthly live Q&A session on Monday, December 9th at 3:00pm PST where I’ll be using these methods and testing these things out. After that’s over, it should just be another day or two before I hit publish on the post. I only want to bring the best information to you about this because I know you’re going to rock these webinars you’ll be hosting for your audience in the future!

In the meantime, I had this post up my sleeve for a while and am excited to take this opportunity to share it with you.

You Have an Email Autoresponder Series, Right?

I’m a huge fan of using email autoresponder sequences – a series of pre-written follow-up emails that are sent sequentially and automatically to your subscribers over time after they’ve subscribed to your list. Most email service providers include this feature.

It’s a great way to keep in constant contact with your audience over time and build rapport without you having to do any extra work beyond the work that you need to invest up front to write your emails.

Plus, it keeps your list warm so when you do send broadcast emails, your open rates are much higher and people are more likely to take action.

When I started my email list back in 2010, there were about 5 or 6 emails in my initial sequence. You don’t have to start with very many. Over time, I’ve added more, and today new subscribers are taken through a series of 35 emails over the course of an entire year. I’ll probably add even more.

There are a few special things I like to include in my autoresponder emails that I always recommend you do:

1. Make sure the first email in your follow-up series is mind-blowing, and preferably something that people can see instant results from.

I share my best tip first because that first impression is so important, and I want people to stick around and look forward to the rest of the emails in the series, and open them too.

2. Include a “poll” type question in one of your earlier emails. In the 4th or 5th email that is sent, I ask the following question:

“What would you like to see me write a blog post about?”

As a result, since people are signing up to my email list every single day, I get a constant stream of responses, daily, from my audience telling me exactly what kind of content I should be publishing.

No more guessing involved.

Another great question to ask is:

“What are you struggling with right now?”

The fact that you’re asking people on your list to reply goes a very long way, and it helps your audience feel like they’re involved in your brand too.

Those aren’t ninja tricks though – that’s just smart content to include in certain emails within your autoresponder series.

A Ninja Autoresponder Trick You Can Use Today

The trick I’m about to share with you I’ve been testing during the past two weeks. I’ll explain what my results were in just a minute, but let me tell you what the trick can do for you first.

How would you like to include a call to action in all of your autoresponder emails – a call to action that, at any moment in time you can change in one location and it will update the call to action in all of the automated emails in your series.

Promoting a product? Hosting a webinar soon? Featured on a well-known website? Planning a meetup? Need extra traffic to a particular podcast or post that you just wrote?

Awesome! Instead of going into each email individually, you just have to change the call to action in one spot, and it will be included in all of the automated emails that go out.

This allows you to dynamically include and control specificreal time content in previously-written, automated content.

It’s incredibly powerful!

If you have 35+ emails like I do in your series, then this trick is a golden time-saver. If you’re just starting to write your sequence, this is good too because you’ll be all setup and won’t have to go back and change anything in the future to make this happen.

Just think – if you have an email list of 1000 people that you send an automated email to each week (assuming they aren’t at the end of your auto-responder sequence), that’s 1000 opportunities, every week (or 4000 opportunities every month) to get your subscribers to take some sort of extra action.

Of course, open rates play a role here, but that shouldn’t stop you from utilizing this strategy. 

You could take it a step further and have all of your automated emails go out on specific days of the week, so you know and can track when your calls to actions are actually sent.

For example, I’ve setup my autoresponder emails to only be sent to subscribed on Wednesday or Thursday. I do this because I like to leave the other days open for potential broadcast emails and I can avoid sending two emails to a single subscriber in one day.

It also allows me to strategically place and time a call to action much better too.

The calls to actions don’t have to be for direct promotional purposes either. If you have nothing “real time” going on, perhaps it’s following you on Twitter, and then later you can change it to becoming a fan on Facebook.

The possibilities are endless with this type of application.

So How Do You Do It?

If you use Aweber [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.], this will be very simple to do. I’ve looked to see if other email service providers include this sort of function, and as far as I can tell, they don’t.

They should though, and maybe after reading this article, they will. It should be a standard feature in my opinion.

Anyway, here’s how you can add a “snippet” in Aweber. If you don’t have Aweber, I’ll share a workaround you can use that follows the same principle.

Step 1: Log into Aweber and Click on List Options -> List Settings (making sure your current list is the one you want)


Step 2: Click on Personalize Your List to toggle those options below.


Step 3: Scroll down to Global Text Snippets


Step 4: Name your Snippet in the ‘Name’ field.

Step 5: Insert your Call to Action in the ‘Snippet Text’ field.

You’re allowed up to 100 characters in the ‘Snippet Text’ field. Links will be clickable in HTML emails, but make sure to include “http://” – use to shorten your links to get even more space.

Step 6: Click Add.


For the name, I put: calltoaction

For the snippet text / call to action, I put: Join me for a Live Q&A Session on 12/9! Click here:


You’ll see that under the name I chose for this snippet (and you can create as many of these as you’d like), it says:

{!global calltoaction}

This is the tag we’re going to insert into our emails. Wherever this tag is inserted, the snippet text / call to action text we put will be included. We can change and update that text at anytime here, and it’ll be updated in any new emails that go out after saving. 

Step 7: In a Follow-Up email, click on Personalize to open up the personalization tags. Scroll to the bottom of that list and click on the tag with the name of the snippet you created in Step 4. This will add that tag into your email. 


When the emails get sent, where ever you placed that tag, your snippet text / call to action will show up. See email below:


Please note that when you create a custom tag like this, Aweber automatically adds an additional one with the word “fix” next to it. It looks like this:

{!global_fix calltoaction}

Whenever you see “fix” in Aweber’s personalization tags, that simply means that Aweber will capitalize the first letter of every new word. See below:


The only time this would work for us is when we personalize an email with someone’s name. Sometimes people don’t capitalize their first or last name in their email forms, so using {!firstname_fix} is always better than using {!firstname}, just for that particular reason.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve used this strategy to insert a call to action at the end of my emails to vote for the SPI Podcast for top business podcast award, linking to During the two week trial, I was able to get an additional 639 clicks to vote. There was no noticeable increase in unsubscribes.

Where you place the call to action, and exactly what you say can obviously affect your click-through rates. And remember -your email has other copy in it that serves a primary purpose (so these tags may or may not make sense to include in every single email), but as you can see, including an extra call to action can help you get get more clicks for something, and including these tags is a smart way to give you an opportunity to change and update where you’d like to send people.

If You Don’t Use Aweber

If you don’t use Aweber, that’s okay. There may be options for other email service providers that I haven’t found yet. If you use something other than Aweber and know something like this is possible, please share where you might find similar options in the comment section below.

If no snippet-type options are available, here’s a solution that uses the same principle:

Instead of creating a global tag that can be updated in one spot, you can include an image in your email that has call-to-action text. The image could be updated “in one swoop” simply by replacing the image file with a different image of the same filename, and the link (when the image is clicked on) could be updated in one spot using a redirecting tool like one of my favorite WordPress plugins, Pretty Link.

The image could be a banner ad type image to something you’re working on right now, or it could even be an image made to look like text within your emails. If you don’t want any images to show during a particular moment in time, then you could just replace the image with another one of the same filename that’s a 1×1 white pixel.

Of course, this is a little more complicated and requires you to create image files (which some email clients like gmail require a person to click “display images below” to see), but it can still yield those additional clicks that you’d miss out on in your automated auto-responder emails.

After starting an email autoresponder sequence, it can be easy to forget that your subscribers are constantly and consistently getting emails from you over time. Don’t forget, because these automated emails can be used to your advantage for real time things you have to share.

What do you think of this strategy? How will you be using it in your email autoresponder sequence? Please let me know in the comment section below.

If you don’t have an email list already, here’s my free tutorial to help you set one up. If you do and you’re looking to finally include an autoresponder sequence, check out the 4 Types of Autoresponder Series and the One You Should Totally Avoid

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