An autoresponder, a sequence of emails that are sent to subscribers automatically, is a powerful too that helps generate buzz around your product, service, or campaign. If you’re confused about how this technical and digital side of marketing works, then think of it as a science-fiction film. In a classic sci-fi film, there’s always the first point of contact. That’s the big deal, but the story doesn’t end there. After the first point of contact, there are subsequent points of contact that develop the plot until full immersion or understanding is achieved.

There’s a craft to this, a delicate balance and approach to how contact is made. It’s thoughtful and deliberate versus repetitive and pushy. In a sci-fi setting, you don’t see intelligent alien life form pushing repeat contact onto humans. They’re not door-to-door salesman or cold-callers.

Here’s what they do instead…

First, they make their presence known. They show up in the sky or announce their arrival with a crash. Somehow or the other, you know they’re there and it’s made clear they’ve arrived. In your case, this is the first stage of marketing. Using brand development, marketing basics and even a bit of PR, you need to make your presence known.

Second, aliens know they’re aliens. In this way alone, they’re already showing higher signs of intelligence than human life form. People, especially gimmicky sales people and small businesses, tend to assume that because your front door says “open for business,” that people are going to want your business. They assume that because you exist, people should want to do business with you. They don’t realize that they’re essentially alien to their target audience. In sci-fi films, there’s a subtlety in how aliens make themselves known, or how they engage once they’re stumbled upon. Even aggressive Sigourney Weaver, impregnate you like a parasite, aliens know there’s an air of caution. Whether it’s a momentary stand off to assess the other or a warm and fuzzy E.T. moment, there’s an observation that takes place.

In your case, this means that you’re going to need to need to use autoresponders diligently, but gently to continue introducing yourself as if you were alien to your consumer. It calls for being observant and assessing the needs and motives of your target audience, and gently introducing points of contact to familiarize them with your product or brand. Not doing this makes you the War of the Worlds type alien, and that didn’t go too well for anybody really.

Instead, you’re Klaatu from The Day the Earth Stood Still. You know humans are a fearful skittish bunch that doesn’t trust unsolicited points of contact. So you way for humans to show the first sign of curiosity. In our case, that means a consumer has visited your social media pages and your website. Maybe they’ve signed up for your email or they’ve initiated a cart without full conversion. This is the first point of contact. From here on out you build on that momentum with autoresponder email messages that initiate future points of contact.

A good rule of thumb is to send one out on the same day a sign up or a cart was initiated. You’re fresh in their minds and you want to let them know you recognize them. Day 2 would trigger a second autoresponder message that continues the conversation. Maybe you skip day 3 but you send out a nudge on Day 4. Skip Day 5 but make the case for completing the conversion on Day 6.