An example: Opt-in plus Auto-Responder sequence

When I start brainstorming opt-in offers with my clients (and sometimes before they sign up with me during our 25-minute quick chats!) the most popular suggestion that comes from them is to give away a do-at-home workout.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing a good workout to your prospects, but it’s been done before. So, instead, I wanted to take you on a journey… (As I alluded to in one of the comments on my last post, I wanted to give you an example of the entire process from opt-in through auto-responder!)

Meet Julie

Julie is an independent personal trainer. She trains her clients in their homes and runs a bootcamp on Saturday mornings. Julie is working on growing her email list through her website and social media. She is also scheduled to speak at the Chamber of Commerce in her town to discuss the benefits of regular exercise. She knows that the upcoming talk could take her business up several notches and wants to have a compelling opt-in so that the Chamber members, their guests and the community at large feel compelled to opt-in.

Julie sits down and brainstorms freebies that she could use for this opt-in

  • A do-at-home workout
  • A list of the best places in town to workout on sunny days
  • A city-wide fitness inspired scavenger hunt
  • A take-anywhere workout

stretching-in-parkJulie elects the list of the best places in town to workout as her opt-in!

The freebie includes a list of 5 places with awesome terrain or equipment or views around town. It has images and maps. Julie has done a good job putting this PDF together.

On her website, she presents the opportunity as “Stuck in a workout-rut? Grab my list of 5 incredible places in our community to take your workout outside!” and asks for the first name and email address.

Julie has done her research, she knows this freebie is going to convert. And it does!

Kick in the Auto-Responder

After a prospect asks for Julie’s list of best places to workout, they are added to Julie’s primary mailing list at Aweber and receive the first email in her auto-responder sequence. It looks as follows:

It’s a happy day {subscriber name}, do you know why?

Because of you of course! {subscriber name} — you decided to take your workouts and flip them on their side. I’m going to take you to the best trails, parks and stairs in town!

The 5 incredible places for you to start working out in are inside this PDF {PDF link here}.



PS: When you go to any of the places listed, snap a selfie and post it on Instagram – we’re using the #OutsideFitnessWithJulie!

In that first message, Julie is giving the prospect the information they requested and using an upbeat tone. She also provides a simple CTA (call to action.)

Email #2

Two days after Julie’s PDF is delivered, the first follow up message is sent. This message is designed to enhance the opt-in offer. So, for Julie, she takes one of the locations listed in the PDF and provides a workout that can be done at that location. Here’s the email:

Hi {subscriber name}!

I hope you’re enjoying my favorite locations for workouts in our community. In case you missed the list, here is the PDF again {PDF link here}.

Sometimes it’s overwhelming to figure out what to do in regards to working out, even if you know you’re in a great place. So, here is a short 10-minute workout you can do at {specific location}

  • Warm up:
  • Workout body:
  • Cool Down:

That’s all for today, just want to make sure that you have the tools you need to succeed!


In this next message, Julie gives away something more! She isn’t asking for anything in return, there is no call to action on this message, because it’s important to let the prospect know that she just wants to help them reach their fitness goals. A call to action might make them less likely to follow through.

Email #3

Two more days pass and now Julie sends her second follow up message. This message is usually the shortest in the series. Here is what Julie sends:

Hey {subscriber name}!

Just a quick note to see if you have any questions about my favorite locations and what kinds of workouts you can do there. Simply hit reply to this message and ask your questions.


PS: Have you thought about having a workout buddy? I’ve got a couple of people asking to be paired up with other community members!

Julie’s objective in this email is to start personal communication. She is letting the prospect know that she is willing to answer their questions. She also provides them with the first inkling of accountability.

Email #4

Three more days pass. It has now been exactly a week since the prospect has subscribed. This email is the final in Julie’s auto-responder sequence and once this one is delivered, the subscriber will flow into the regular stream of emails that Julie sends to her list. This email has two purposes

  1. Make sure the subscriber has an accurate view of Julie’s business
  2. Complete the discussion on the 5 locations in a way that entices the subscriber to continue opening future emails.

This email is probably the most important email of the sequence to provide INSANE value… mostly because if it is opened and read, the subscriber is accustomed to opening Julie’s emails and is invested in her relationship with Julie. Here’s the email:

Hey {subscriber name}!

The #OutsideFitnesswithJulie instagram photos have been so fun. I love connecting with others in our community and Instagram is so fun, isn’t it?

I have been so happy exploring all the nooks and crannies of our community, to find the best places to workout. I teach a bootcamp on Saturday mornings at {park location}. I chose not to include it in my favorite locations because I did not want you to feel like I was forcing you to come to my bootcamp! That’s not my style. Sure, I want to help you towards your fitness goals and I’m happy to do it in anyway that you see fit. I would love for you to come to bootcamp because we have A TON of fun while working up a sweat!

There at three things that I look for when scoping out a potential park or trail for a workout, and since there are far more locations around town than the ones I mentioned, you should have that list too (your safety is important to me!)

  • No construction at the location (it’s such a pain to navigate around the equipment and detours!)
  • Adequate parking (don’t waste your time finding a parking spot, enjoy your time outside!)
  • Terrain/Equipment (generally the more varied the better)

My emails have been hitting your inbox every few days, because I wanted you to get the most value from the locations in the initial PDF. Now that you’re up to speed, you should expect an email from me every 7 – 10 days.

I’m here for your fitness success!


PS: I like to hangout on Facebook {insert Facebook page link}, so come over and hang out with me!

See how Julie set the stage for future communication, gave an inkling into her business and continued to provide value? That’s going to keep the subscriber opening emails!

Your call to action today: Craft your three follow up emails and get them in place after your freebie!

In the comments below, share the theme of your freebie + auto-responder sequence!

  • Jaime, this is AWESOME ADVICE!! Love the auto-responder idea, as it’s so important to keep touch with those who are literally saying “YES! I want to hear from you!” Keeping in touch with these folks by delivering value and continued touch points is what will grow you an engaged and strong email list. Thanks for this!

    • Thanks Kate! I think so many amazing fitness professionals lose sight of their goals when the are putting together a freebie/opt-in. I love how you highlight “ES! I want ot hear from you!” (It’s a theme I see you demonstrate so effectively at EOF and on Kate’s Take.

      • Thanks, Jaime! It always helps me when I’m creating content to know that people CHOOSE to be on our site, we don’t force people there (same goes for your list). Now that they’re there, give them a TON OF VALUE so they want to keep coming back for more! 🙂

  • Jaime, I love that you included examples of these emails and broke down the important aspects of each. When I was first drafting my auto-responder sequence I felt so inept and hesitant because I wasn’t sure what tone and specifics were required for each message.

    • Thank you Jodi. I’ve seen trainers get really good opt-ins on their giveaway and fail to engage the subscriber through follow up emails or mis-use the follow up to try to immediately sell.

  • Maritza Parra

    Wow Jaime! You have given so much in this one post! And I love the ideas for different optin gifts you share!

    • It’s always a matter of setting yourself up as the right trainer for your prospective clients!

  • Kaly McKenna

    Thank you so much for giving me a concrete example of an autoresponder flow! I love how you pulled everything together and made clear CTAs. Thank you so much!

    • You’re welcome Kaly! I’d be happy to review your auto-responder sequence when you’ve created it, if you want!

  • FireStarters

    Such a great example, thank you Jaime! I appreciate you walking through each step with the actual examples to use. This will surely get your clients started right away with an autoresponder thanks to providing this valuable info and ultimately close more business for them!

    • That’s the goal Dean… help my clients attract more ideal clients for their personal training and fitness businesses!

  • John Ramstead

    Jaime, that you for opening up your marketing brain and sharing! This gives me so many ideas on a few follow up sequences that I am planning as people show interest in different things we are doing. I love the psychology that went into this!

    • You are most welcome John! I always here that “The money is in the list” but never step by step tactics for making the list full of warm leads, that’s what I work with many of my clients on 🙂

  • Mani Vaya

    Thanks for an excellent example of auto-responder sequences, Jaime! You slowly built a relationship with the subscriber and had very clear CTAs as well