The term autoresponder gets bandied about a lot by marketing gurus. Everyone says you “need” an autoresponder, but often you don’t see a good explanation of exactly what an autoresponder is or how it can be used in your business.
At its simplest, an autoresponder is just an email that is sent out automatically. Sometimes people go on vacation and set up an “out of the office” message that goes out whenever an incoming email is received. That outgoing email is an autoresponse.
Autoresponses are almost always used when you buy a product online. In that case, when the transaction is complete, the shopping cart sends out an email with your receipt. Sometimes you may receive other “follow up” messages after you ask for information or buy a product as well.
These follow up emails are written beforehand, so the business owner doesn’t have to take time sending out emails every time someone buys something or asks for information. Instead, the business owner uses autoresponder software to set up a sequence of emails that go out at regular intervals.
Autoresponders can be used to generate leads as well. For example, when you signed up for this newsletter, you provided your email address. Every Wednesday you get a new issue. My autoresponder software manages the subscriber list, so I don’t have to add and remove names myself. It also sends the newsletter out to everyone on the list.
A newsletter is just one way to use an autoresponder. You can also use autoresponders to send out sequences of emails, such as an “ecourse” or special reports. In this case, you write up a series of emails. The autoresponder software then sends out the emails at the intervals you specify. For example, people who download the 30-day trial of our IdeaWeaver writing and creativity software also get a complimentary ecourse called Get Unstuck: 15 Ways to Jumpstart Your Creativity, Get Organized, and Finish Your Writing Project..
Because the trial version of the software lasts for 30 days, I set the email interval for the autoresponder to every two days. That way people get the tips as they are putting the software through its paces. At the end of the course, people get a printable PDF file they can keep for reference.
In our busy world, an important aspect of marketing is simply reminding people you exist. Studies have shown that people need to hear about a product seven times before they take notice.
When you offer quality information that people want, they happily give you their email address. With an autoresponder, prospective customers give you permission to send them marketing information. It’s a great opportunity to educate and inform people about your products and services. As you send them good information over time, you establish trust. People buy from people they know, so adding an autoresponder to your marketing mix can be a good way to add to your bottom line as well.