Last week I wrote an exquisite post on how alien sci-fi films are a lot like autoresponder messages when it comes to points of contact. Now that we know your audience needs sequenced points of contact with you and your brand, the next question is, “Exactly what does that look like?”

Keeping with the first point of contact theme that is carried across six days, we’re going to focus on what your first set of messages look like. Beyond that, how you engage your audience can vary based on the success rate or your personal marketing cycle – though the emphasis is engagement. After six days, you definitely don’t want to go back to your home planet never to make contact again, which is the kiss of death for many marketers. You don’t want to put in all this work over the first six days, just to not keep reappearing thereafter.

So in your first six days, have a game plan that looks at a timeline. We’re going to shift our focus away from the alien film genre and over to drama. In any good drama movie – and this is moreso true in drama genres than romance – the audience is slowly pulled into the world of the character. You’re not given everything all at once. Instead, you slowly get to know the characters, their backgrounds, their hopes, dreams, frustrations, conflicts and what makes them unique. In the same way, you’re pre-determined autoresponder emails need to have that same dramatic element.

This means that no matter how you’re sharing that info – whether it’s a graphic, an article for a video – you’re thinking in terms of pulling the reader into your world, slowly and gracefully. So over the course of six days, host a timeline of what type of info you want to share and in what order. I recommend writing this down in a list and transferring that to stickies or note cards, and then shuffling the order around. This way, you’ve got something thoughtful with pen to paper, but you’re able to visually play with how you want to present yourself.

That said, you do want to vary how you present that info to your reader. In a drama film, you wouldn’t get all your information the same way. Sometimes you get it straight through character exposure. Other times, it’s through an intimate exchange with another character, a past story that might be shared, or even in the landscape or in the architecture and interior of the space you’re pulled into. There is layered complexity in how you’re pulled in and in the same way, you want to pull your reader in by showing them a different side to you in a different way.

For example, there’s someone I know who is incredibly passionate about their cause and very well-informed. However, every single autoresponder email from him looks and feels the same. It’s a long piece of unbroken text, the tone never changes, and there isn’t any sort of graphic or design element to capture the eye. So no matter how much I respect him personally, I have never once read past that first paragraph of the first email campaign he said; and it’s safe to say I have never shared any of his campaigns because it would reflect poorly on me. So if you want to capture your reader and encourage them to share your campaign, you have to entertain them.

The goal of any autoresponder series is to get more people to engage with you in your email marketing campaign. The reason is this: if you have 5,000 email subscribers but only about an average of 500 people open any given campaign, then you’ve really only got about 500 email subscribers. Email marketing isn’t about who you’ve managed to wrangle into your crowd; it’s about who shows up when you ring the cow bell. Creating a smart series with autoresponders make sure that you’re ringing that bell regularly enough so people remember you’re there and know you have something to offer them.