Content Marketing On Steroids: Email Autoresponder Secrets with John McIntyre

In this episode we speak with John McIntyre of Drop Dead Copy. John and I discuss how you can integrate an effective Email Autoresponder into your Content Marketing strategy.

John McIntyre is the founder of Drop Dead Copy. He uses an assortment of high-level techniques, including conversational copy that addicts prospects to receiving your emails, plus advanced techniques (like the open loop) from courses like Andre Chaperon’s Autoresponder Madness (the ONLY autoresponder course he recommends, btw).


  • John’s Journey – A look at how John became the Autoresponder Guy
  • Why Email Marketing – A quick look into why email marketing should be a key driver of sales in your business.
  • Effective Email Autoresponder – Learn about the keys to building an effective autoresponder.
  • Content Marketing and Email Autoresponder Integration – The Formula for success.


Jake Hower: Welcome back to the show listeners. As discussed at the top of the episode I’ve got John McIntyre on the line. The Auto Responder Guy. John how are you?

John McIntyre Fantastic Jake.

Jake Hower: Thanks very much for coming on. As you can imagine or if you’ve been following along to the show out there listeners, you might have worked out that what I tend to do is consume information or learn information as I need it, and so over the last few episodes you will have noticed that I’ve been bringing on people relevant to what I was learning at that time. One of the recent shows with James Wedmore was about moving people from YouTube into your funnel and that is a natural extension of that with John today who is obviously an expert at moving people from that funnel into customers.

John, I’d love for you now to give our listeners a little bit of background about you and how you’ve become the auto responder guy.

John McIntyre Ah Jake, well I moved to the Philippines in October 2011 as part of kind of an internship doing marketing for a resort there. That wasn’t copywriting that was something different. So I was doing that for a while and around maybe six months after I arrived I started getting involved in learning copy. The reason for that was that I had a product, it was a weight loss product that taught people how to lose a little bit of weight with fresh fruit and vegetables. just recipes right. Then so what I did was I changed that title because it wasn’t really selling. So I changed the title, I don’t know where it came from maybe it was a light bulb moment and I changed it to Lose Ten Pounds in Two Weeks and that one simple change instantly caused people to buy. All of a sudden the amount that were buying it increased by two or three or four times. So, that to me really woke me up to the power of how I say stuff. The way I present things and the way I communicate things with the marketplace is extremely important to be successful in that way. That was kind of like where copywriting started for me.

I also knew that if I could be the guy that could … that knew how to make money; that knew how to make myself money and knew how to make other people and their businesses money, that there would always be demand for whatever I did. Whether in a recession or not.

Jake Hower: Yeah absolutely, yeah. It makes total sense. So, why … what are auto responders?

John McIntyre Auto responders. That was kind of like a gradual shift. When I started writing I started doing a … just random copy jobs. I would maybe do a sales letter for someone or I did do an auto responder but I wasn’t really hip to the value that auto responders could create for small business owners.

It was kind of like I just found my way over a number of months, a number of weeks and it kind of transitioned into what I am right now; is the Auto Responder Guy which is something I did about a month ago for positioning reasons, was to realize that I could either be a generic copywriter, and there’s tons of generic copywriters, or I can start calling myself and tell people that other people call me this as well is the Auto Responder Guy, which then positions me as this guy who specifically does auto response. Still does sales letters, that’s fine usually I can write … doesn’t matter. I can write either but if people think, well I need an auto responder they’re much more likely to well you can get an auto responder from The Auto Responder Guy which is way better than an auto responder from just an ordinary copywriter.

Jake Hower: Absolutely, it sure is. Now one of the things I guess which really attracted me to you John and what you’re doing, I’ve heard you on a couple of podcasts prior, but the main thing was the fact that you’ve recently been recording a heap of videos. I guess you’re … you’ve prescribed to this content marketing strategy and that really built up my trust in, in inviting you on the show because I knew based on your videos I knew you were an expert. How have the results been about … with that to date?

John McIntyre It’s been, to be honest it’s been a little bit slow. What that came from was I’ve always thought of content marketing as a very slow way to do things but I was out with a friend one weekend and we were going hiking and we started talking about it and I can’t remember exactly what made me do it but I was like, “Well I’m going to do a video challenge. I’m going to create 60 videos in the next 30 days.” Part of it was just to see if I could do it, to have a bit of fun, to do something that I hadn’t really done before.

So, I’ve had a few people say, great videos, just like the same stuff you kind of said. Great videos and I really liked them, what you’re coming out with. But, the way I’m thinking about it hasn’t been … it has been a little bit slow but that doesn’t bother me because to me it’s like a long-term thing. I know that in six months someone could be browsing around the website and could find one. Maybe they get a ton of value out of these videos.

What really worked me up to it was I had a few people email me about Drop Dead Copy. That’s the site, and they … it had been a hobby right? I hadn’t been putting much time into it. I’d post whenever I felt inspired to write. That was about it. Then I had a few emails from people and some of them said that the content was incredible. One guy even said that he had printed out a number of my articles to read and make notes and highlight which I thought was incredible. That really made me think, if that’s what the articles are doing well I can do the same thing with videos. Videos are easy to produce and it’s just another way to communicate. Some people are going to prefer videos to content so that’s really got me up, got the ball rolling.

Jake Hower: Yeah definitely, definitely and I can certainly see that long-term that’s … I’d suggest that’s a strategy you should continue to focus on. Now what we’d like to do in today’s interview, John, for our listeners what we aim to do here is to provide some actionable advice that people can take away from an episode and go and implement in their own businesses. Now, I would like to first of all focus a little bit about the connection between content marketing and introducing an auto responder into your sales funnel. Then after that maybe we break down how we go about setting up an auto responder sequence. How does that sound?

John McIntyre That sounds great.

Jake Hower: Fantastic. All right. So let’s keep focusing on you for just a second and what you’re doing with these videos. Have you spent any time on strategically thinking about how you’re going to connect your audience from viewing these videos on YouTube to getting them into your funnel?

John McIntyre Absolutely. The whole reason, and this goes back into marketing as a whole, like concept marketing and marketing as a very broad thing, is the fundamental idea is you try to get someone’s attention. You don’t want anyone’s attention, you want the attention of a very specific person. Say a business owner like myself has something to sell, I want the attention of people who need that product and who are likely to buy it. All the other people I couldn’t care less about.

So when I am thinking about these videos I have been, and I’ve been doing this with blog posts as well, is that I … because I’m positioning myself as The Auto Responder Guy, I want the attention of people who need an auto responder right now or may need one in the future or are interested in learning about auto responders. The way I think about that is well therefore I need to create content that’s going to interest those people. I don’t need to create generic copy content, I do do that from time to time but I … the big picture is really about getting the attention of these people who want to know more about auto responders so it’s just great content about auto responders. I’ve had a … it was a blog post that I wrote called eBooks suck which is about why I don’t think eBooks is a very effective way to get people onto the list. A lot of the videos I’ve done have focused on how do I write auto responders or how many emails should you have, or how to make people open your emails. By doing that what that does is it gets the attention of people who … the attention of the people who I want to get the attention of.

Jake Hower: Yes certainly. That makes a lot of sense. I guess what I can take out of that is certainly that thinking strategically about it is very important. There’s no point just going out there and producing content willy nilly without the end goal in mind. So I think for our listeners out there if you can take anything from that is to if you haven’t sat down or thought about strategically what you want your customers to do or your prospects to do is to actually sit down and focus on that and then start molding content around it. Okay, so if we continue going through your funnel, John, people view these videos on YouTube and on your site. Where do you take them from that free content across into your auto responder funnel?

John McIntyre At the bottom of every post, I have a kind of a non-traditional blog website theme. Most blogs have the main content on the left and a side bar on the right so you know but at the bottom of every an absolute key to copywrite from sales copy to marketing is that instead of appealing to, instead of writing just what I want or what I think they should want I’m kind of thinking what do they really [inaudible 00:10:04] and what that really does is … I think it gets a lot of people’s attention. I don’t put the form there on the page. I discourage people from doing that.

You want to make people click and then take them to another landing page where you can [inaudible 00:10:22] so I don’t do it as above the bold stuff. I don’t put the form in the side bar or even on the build it right below the blog post. I make people click over then they read a bit more about … basically I sell them one. I tell them about auto responders I tell them again how to receive an auto responder quote, price quote basically and where they’re going to learn about how I write auto responders. How I write subject lines, how I create a concept all those different things so then that means that if someone actually ends up signing up they’re very qualified because they’re going to be very interested in auto responders because they’ve taken the time to go and read that page, scroll all the way down to the bottom and find the place where they get to sign up.

Jake Hower: Makes a lot of sense. I think looking at one of your videos recently you’re talking about you tested offering something as an [inaudible 00:07:37] bribe against just offering a newsletter sign up box on the bottom of every post. Maybe before we actually delve into this can you recap for the listeners exactly what you’re talking about in this video?

John McIntyre What happened there is so I’ve had this auto responder about auto responders up for a while now and I thought, well a lot of blogs have a free updates section where you sign up and you get sent updates. I thought well if people are signing up to this other list surely they’re going to want free updates that’s a logical kind of thing; so I did what most people do and I put the form, just a little opt-in box just below the post, just below there’s a little about me section and then you have the email updates section and almost no one signs up to it; much more people sign up … so that form’s right there, it’s right below the blog post, it’s very easy to see, it’s right in front of you. The other [inaudible 00:12:11] the other lists or funnel someone has to actually click over to another page like I said and scroll down to the bottom and sign up there. That gets many more opt-ins than the free updates box which is right in front of them.

Jake Hower: That’s really interesting. It’s sort of … I’ve to this date followed that free update strategy thinking that only people who were really interesting in what I’m talking about or the topic will sign up for free updates. But I think what clicked in my head watching your video is you still have to … you have to direct people and you’ve got to get the right people on your list. By offering a free update you’re not necessarily targeting someone who’s going to become a customer.

John McIntyre: Right. I think what a lot of people miss is that when you have free updates that all you’re doing is you’re getting the attention of people who just want to get updates. That’s all you know about them. Whereas when you have a specific offer such as I’m going to send you a course about how to write auto responders everyone who signs up to that I already know they’re interested in auto response. There’s a real critical, it’s very simple, but it’s a really critical difference between the two things that a lot of people miss and they could really improve their content marketing efforts and their marketing efforts as a whole by understanding this, that they need to get specific attention not broad attention.

Jake Hower: Yeah definitely. All right well let’s move down into the actual auto responders then. What’s the typical structure of an auto responder sequence that you’re setting up?

John McIntyre The ones I do for clients are usually ten emails. We usually send them, it will depend on the situation and the context, but usually every three days. It will be … the first thing I will say, hey welcome to, depending on whether it’s corporate or a personal style kind of thing, I might say “Hey welcome to the family.” I can actually bring up my template. So the first thing I will say something like, “Welcome to the family. Hey John here. First of all you’re in. Welcome to the Drop Dead Copy Crash Course which from now onwards I’ll refer to as DDC. Real glad you’re here. Before I start I have a question for you. What’s the most important thing in marketing in 2013? Think about the answer. I doubt you’ll even get close but give it a shot. I’ll give you the answer in another email.”

What I’ve done right there is created an open loop which is going to make them … it’s going to create tension so they’re more likely to read my future emails. The rest of the email essentially just preps them, kind of sets the stage. I might say ask them a couple of questions like that then I might say, “I’m going to be sending you some information about auto responders so you’re going to learn some really valuable stuff about how to write subject lines that get opened” or how to write emails that really build a solid relationship, or how to get people to actually click or how to get people to reply to emails with these special questions. Or what questions you can ask your audience that will get you valuable information on what you need to say to them to get them to buy something. That’s what I’ll kind of set the stage for in the first email. Then the next email two or three or ten is just delivering that value. Whatever I told them I’m going to give them.

Jake Hower: That value that you’re delivering, is that generally … is it simply just value that they’re going to derive from the actual email or are you directing them to, I don’t know, that content which you’ve already potentially produced on site or something like that?

John McIntyre There’s no right answer here. I think most people seem to think there’s an exact recipe but there’s not. The crucial thing is if you’re helping someone. I read a forum thread this morning and someone said to me, someone posted the question that they had just … they were getting more opt-ins right, so they were getting more signers so they were happy with that. But they wanted to sell them faster so they weren’t happy with the fact that they were presenting someone with a sales pitch after they’d signed up and they wanted to sell them faster. I can’t … I can’t understand that because if they don’t … if they don’t know who this person is in the first place they’re not going to sign up faster and if someone tries to sell them straight up they’re leaving a huge amount of money on the table so what really needs to happen and what most people don’t do is they need to create value and help these people solve their problems before they can sell them something.

There’s an element of trust that has to be created. Jay Abraham calls this, this is in another video I think I’ve done, is the strategy of pre-eminence which is you want to become your prospect’s most trusted advisor. So when they think about I want to learn … I need to talk to someone about auto responders I want them to think well John is the Auto Responder Guy and I really trust him. I like him. He’s the guy I want to speak to and the only way to do that is by giving them value. So with that in mind when it comes to emails and what you put in them it’s about value. That can be my blog post or my videos, that can be other people. I’ll send people to YouTube videos sometimes. I will just include the content in the email. But the central overriding factor has to happen, preferably in every single email is that you’re helping this person one way or another.

Jake Hower: Yeah sure, that’s great. I’ve got a couple of questions from that but I think it’s probably going to pay to hold them for just a second and maybe if, if we get you to just … let’s go through a typical sequence that you deliver so you’ve got … we’ve had a look at the first email, we’ve had a look at delivering value in the next couple, when do you start asking for a purchase?

John McIntyre Once I … me personally I usually wait until email three or email four. There’s not really a right answer here. It may be relevant or it may be valuable for you to suggest it earlier but what most people do and I think Dan Andrews coined this phrase, is they try and sleep with their prospects on the first date. They try and sell them way to soon. It’s like trying to meet a girl at the bar and then trying to sleep with her straight away, when you ask her let’s go back to the hotel now. Instead of taking some time to build a relationship.

So yeah, there’s not a right answer but obviously you want to establish some sort of baseline. Then again if they already know who you are, if they’re already familiar with Jake Howard or they already know who John McIntyre is because of maybe it’s interviews I’ve been on or different things like that. There’s not so much … so in an … someone has to take the time to understand what … like what’s the current state of the relationship between the prospect and the business and what’s going to make them move then towards the point where they’re buying. So if they’re cold you don’t want to pitch them [inaudible 00:18:37] fairly warm or if they’re hot even yeah sure. I mean tell them about the products straight away. But it’s that kind of … does that make sense?

Jake Hower: Yeah it does, it does. The question I really had about it which is just certainly makes me wonder you’re talking earlier about the fact that you’re trying to warm up somebody but people come in or warm up and cool down at different stages. So, is there a way in which you can keep an auto responder funnel going that’s going to capture as many people at the right time as possible?

John McIntyre: You mean like if you don’t put a pitch in every email you’re not going to get everyone is that what you mean?

Jake Hower: Yes, and then on the flip side if you’re pitching too early maybe you’re not going to get someone as well. It’s like maybe how do you not … how do you keep as many people onsite as possible?

John McIntyre: I would … well I think part of it is understanding the type of prospect. So the people who buy straight away, they’re probably going to buy later. There’s a fairly good chance if they’re ready to buy at the first email I’m sure they’re probably ready to buy in the third or fourth email. Conversely though the people who would be ready to buy in the third or fourth can be extremely pissed off when you try and sell them in the first email. So, there’s more at stake when you pitch too early than if you pitch too late.

What I think another thing is that a lot of people about the sale as a one-off event. What people really need to do, what people need to do is they need to think about this as an ongoing relationship. So that first sale is just a first step, because this person if you connect with them on an intimate basis and they like you and they trust you they’re going to be buying from you for the next 12 months or for the next five years or for the next ten years. That’s … I think that’s the secret to long term business growth. These one off, these one hit wonders they’re leaving, it’s a huge amount of money on the table.

There’s a reason why guys like Jay Abraham tell people that the revenue and the business growth a large amount of it comes from the customer list. The people that you’ve already sold things to, not the new people.

Jake Hower: Yeah, yeah. I apologize John, I’m sort of pulling my thoughts together as we’re going through this.

John McIntyre: That’s all right.

Jake Hower: I think what I’m … I guess one way you could probably do it is of course design the auto responders for the different funnels or the different products you’re looking to sell and I guess the … you could almost have and correct me if I’m wrong potentially you could have a master auto responder sequence and then direct people into a more relevant sequences as you’re going through that master sequence?

John McIntyre: Right, you could do that with Aweber or Office AutoPilot is one that a lot of people rave about, which is yeah … you might have the master you know the main list which is about weight loss and then you have let’s say in one email, email three, you send people to a video on YouTube about the raw food diet. What you can do with that email software is every person who clicks that link to learn more about the raw food diet is you can put them on a secondary list. Then when it comes time in the future if you’re maybe you have a product that you’re releasing in the raw food market or maybe you’re promoting someone else’s product instead of sending it to the master list and pissing off all the people that aren’t interested in the raw food diet you can just look at the people who clicked on that link. Because everyone who clicked on that link has essentially put up their hand and said I’m interested in raw food, click that.

It’s the same if they buy products. Maybe you have a product that you sell and it’s a raw food diet, like you have a generic weight loss list so everyone is on that list, men, women they’re all just interested in getting healthier and losing weight but you have a raw food product that you’re trying to sell. Then what happens is every person who buys that product goes onto a secondary list and you know that everyone on that list is interested in raw food because they’ve spent money on them. If you have a … you know send out another offer or another product or another something like that on raw food you would send it to the raw food list not the master list.

Jake Hower: Yeah, cool. Makes a lot of sense. Let’s then … let’s get to the actual part for our listeners. I’m a good example here. I don’t have an auto responder sequence. Let’s say I’m selling … I’m selling myself … I’m selling a four week master class course for helping people create a video system. How do I go about setting up my auto responder?

John McIntyre: The first thing when I would talk to a client I would say, who … what is the product. You said it’s a video system?

Jake Hower: Yes.

John McIntyre And what does it teach people?

Jake Hower: Okay right, so a video system it teaches … it shows people how to put in place a team around you which is going to allow you to produce consistent news style videos and leverage it across the multiple channels in under 40 minutes per episode.

John McIntyre: Who is the type of prospect for that if you know?

Jake Hower: The type of prospects for that would be most of our listeners, so content marketers who are running their own businesses and need more time to focus on running their business rather than producing content.

John McIntyre Okay great. What we have right there is we have the product which is this video, this course that teaches people how to do these videos and then you have the rough market where you’re trying to sell them to. The way I frame this up is there’s a bridge that you have to build from where the prospect is right now which is content marketers to where you want them to be which is buying this product. Everything in between which is the bridge, is going to be the auto responder.

In a case like this instead of saying sign up to the marketing … a multimedium marketing show list, just for free updates or something like random you would have something like where … I’m sure if you have this product you could probably create five or ten emails and some really useful information about how to do these videos right?

Jake Hower: Sure.

John McIntyre: So you would create a course, five emails, ten emails, and you would … it would be like the product but a light version. So you would tell them a lot about the what they need to do but you wouldn’t so much tell them how. This is a marketing technique you can use. So you would tell them what to do in the emails and then you’d say if you want to get the how or you want to get the real nitty gritty details on how to do this I explain everything in this free webinar. So you’re promoting it with a webinar. You would go from website visitor, to auto responder subscriber to webinar. Then they’ll be more engaged webinar visitors then at the end of the webinar you would try and sell them the product. So the auto responder is just to bridge that gap.

Those people, the content marketers, you would use the … a landing page to capture the attention of those content marketers who are interested in video so the headline would be something like, “Are you interested in video marketing?” or “Do you want to automate your video marketing process?” What the headline is doing is it gets the attention of the exact people you want and then you tell them I’m going to send you ten emails or five emails to crash … It’s Jake Hower’s crash course to automating the video production and sign up and I’ll send it out. Then you send them each email every three days and then you have this free webinar which you could automate that as well so you could have that on email five or email ten or every email.

What you would do instead of pitching, instead of sending emails out saying hey my product’s really good here’s why you should sign up you would just give them valuable information and then say look if you want to learn more, if you want to get more in-depth in this and you really want to make it happen, here’s the product. That’s how I would use an auto responder in this situation.

Jake Hower: Yeah cool. All right. Okay how about drafting individual emails? I’m big for … I’m not big on really sort of sneaky … sneakily crafted sales pages, etcetera, etcetera. I like speaking from the heart and making it relatively personal. Are there some, is there like a template or something that you use through your copy that our listeners can implement?

John McIntyre: I don’t really have a specific template I can use. The main thing that people should keep in mind is that they want to write like they talk. The same way you talk to a friend … I mean the best way for this class would be to go and look at the emails that they’ve sent to their friends in the past. Look at the subject lines that they’ve sent to their friends and look at the … the friends and family because those emails are going to be relaxed, they’re going to be very casual, they’re going to be very personal and intimate. You want … like they should take that language and those ways of doing things and apply that to how they’re going to write the emails.

Basic templates, I could probably … I could probably create a template for their first email and I’ll create a page on dropdeadcopy and you can send people over there and that would give them email number one. The template for that would just set them for the rest of the … set the tone and show them how I write emails and how they can write the rest of them as well. That’s the main thing. There’s not much that can go wrong when you … just be conversational, be friendly. Don’t be too friendly because they might not like that. Just give them good valuable information. Don’t try and pitch them. People hate to be pitched and these days it’s like information overload. With the internet, with everything else we have way too much information. So don’t try and pitch people, don’t try and use sneaky tactics or anything else just and get their attention. If you’re trying to get the attention of the video people that’s what I mean. Instead of creating a clever entertaining catchy headline all you need to say is are you interested in video marketing, because that right there is going to get the attention of anyone who’s interested in video marketing which is all you really want. That’s really it. Write like you talked and provide lots of value and then present the product that they’re promoting in the context of that value.

Jake Hower: You make it sound so easy. It makes sense. I guess yeah that really does it. It resonates very strongly with me and your copy does also. It’s engaging, it’s like I’m having a conversation with you reading your text and it’s to the point. I really, really appreciate that I’m not being sold using tricky tactics.

John McIntyre Yes. It’s … and I think I like there’s a lot of different ways to do it. You have to kind of figure out your own way. I was speaking to James Fractor the other day and you should see his emails. They’re … I mean they’re like one paragraph with a picture and a link. That works for him because he’s built up an audience of people who … they’re no nonsense, they don’t put up with sales hype or anything like that so they really appreciate this. Super simple, super spot on emails. So that could work. It’s just about understanding that. It depends on the audience, the people that you are trying to talk to. How … are they used to sales copy or are they used to being sold … especially in marketing. Anything in marketing or internet marketing is going to be way … they’ve been overexposed to the hilt to sales copy and hype and all that, so you don’t want to do it. To other people it might work. It’s really about understanding who you’re talking to. That is the absolute key understating the prospect.

Jake Hower: Fantastic. All right John that’s really great. I think if we haven’t done anything else in this episode we’ve made it really clear that you … all you need to really is focus on your customer. If you understand your customer then you can really write great copy if it’s coming from inside of you. Fantastic.

How can our listeners find out more about you?

John McIntyre The best way is to go to my website which is It’s not drop dead beautiful but instead That’s where the video’s at, that’s where the blog posts are that’s where I hang out on line.

Jake Hower: That’s fantastic. I believe you’ve also got a course coming up in the short term?

John McIntyre Right. Basically I can only handle a couple of clients at a time so I decided to convert the process that I use into a product. That will be, that’s going to be out in the middle of March. That will be a four week course with videos, audio, transcriptions which will … it will just work you through it step by step. I think Week 1 we’re going to do the big picture, Week 2 will be the outline and Week 3 we will be wiring them and then Week 4 will be implementing it and the software. I’m just going to walk people through how I do auto responders and it’s really for small businesses if you want to start leveraging auto responders to build a relationship kind of on autopilot.

Jake Hower: Brilliant. Excellent. Listeners can just sign up over at to get access to it?

John McIntyre: is the blog. There’s a link if they go to a blog post to the new product or they can go to McIntyreMethod which is … I need to change my last name. M-C-I-N-T-Y-R-E

Jake Hower: That’s brilliant. All right John thanks very much for coming on today you’ve shared quite a substantial amount of information with our listeners and I really appreciate that.

John McIntyre: Thanks Jake, thanks for having me.

Jake Hower: Cheers.