Should you try to connect all of the emails in an autoresponder sequence together?
Or is it OK to build a “sequence” of one-off emails that don't interrelate?
That topic popped up a few days ago in a private forum I belong to.
Both approaches *can* work, but in my experience one is clearly better.
And since the goal of email marketing is to build an audience that's eager to hear from you, I like to use an analogy from one of my all-time favorite TV shows, The X-Files.
If you've ever watched that show, you'll remember that about half the episodes were entirely self-contained, just one-off stories about some kid with psychic powers or a worm that gnawed out people's guts.
60 minutes of suspense and drama and then it was all wrapped up.
A lot of autoresponder messages are structured this way. Each email is pretty much self-contained, and the order doesn't really matter.
Nothing wrong with this approach.
But to go back to the X-Files analogy, I always felt like those standalone episodes were filler.
What really sucked me in about that show was the ongoing storyline.
The smoking man. The shadowy conspiracy. The blind alleys and false trails…
So my preference when time allows is to create longer sequences where the emails are tied together by a theme and an ongoing storyline.
The effect when you do this well is really powerful. Subscribers really start to look forward to the next email.
(I frequently get emails from people who missed an “episode” and want me to resend it.)
Either approach *can* work just fine.
But if you have the type of personality that likes to plan things out, I'd strongly recommend creating an ongoing X-Files-style drama with your emails.
There's no better way to get your subscribers hanging on your every word.