What is an Email Autoresponder? Read This Article For More Info

If you’re in business, you may have heard people talk about customer communications and it caused you to wonder, “What is an email autoresponder?” Email marketing is good for business owners who have online or offline business entities.

Keeping in touch with your prospects and existing customers means you have a way to promote your products and services to them, provide increased value, and keep an edge over your competition.

An email autoresponder is a custom tailored message that you send out through an automated system. You can send one message to thousands of individuals all at once, but it will have their name in the greeting.

It’s highly convenient as opposed to personally emailing each person on your list. Plus, an email autoresponder system lets you see statistics about your mailing, such as how many emails bounced, what your email open rate was among recipients, and more!

What kind of messages do you send out with an email autoresponder? Many business owners like to focus on value and information. This helps you create a sense of trust with your clients and it positions you as an expert in your niche market, too.

Other entrepreneurs like to send out nothing but sales pitches via email. This can work for some people, but for others, it backfires and makes you appear as a spammer, so you need to use this approach cautiously.

If you have an offline business, you can use an email autoresponder system to alert your customers about in-store happenings like special discounts and sales – some that are perhaps just for those on your subscriber list as a perk for staying signed up!

With an email autoresponder system in place, you won’t have to worry about removing people who choose to get off of your list. Each email will include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email, and users are only signed up after confirming they’ve made that choice, so there are no accusations of unwanted spam.

To get your email autoresponder system off the ground, you first need to choose a company and plan that’s right for you. Then go through the technical set-up steps that allow you to put an opt in box on your website.

Once it’s all in place, you can begin filling up your autoresponder system with messages that can either be blasted out or trickle out over a period of days on a schedule. If you go about it the right way, your prospects and customers will be able to form a relationship with you via an automated system that doesn’t cost you much time or money, but which provides a lot in monetary returns for you.

Free Versus Paid Email Autoresponder Systems

When you’ve made the decision to use an email autoresponder system, you’re going to be faced with a tough decision – especially if you’re an entrepreneur on a tight budget with little wriggle room for added expenses.

Email autoresponder systems come in two forms – free and paid versions. There are pros and cons to each, one of which is obviously cost. Free might seem like the most attractive choice, but you have to consider the cost involved that’s not of a financial nature.

With a free email autoresponder set-up, you’ll be limited in what you can do. You might not be able to send out messages about certain topics. You may be limited in how many subscribers you’re allowed to have and then be faced with the harrowing task of moving your list elsewhere.

Still, it’s nice to have a free option to use when there’s just no money yet in the coffers to spend on email communications with your target audience! And these free systems are void of extra bells and whistles, so it helps with the simple learning curve and getting you used to being an email marketer.

Paid email autoresponder systems have their drawbacks and perks as well. Depending on the package and company that you choose, it could wind up costing you a pretty penny if you’re not careful.

Some companies charge per email campaign that gets blasted out. Others charge per subscriber. Some will level you up as your subscriber base increases. For example, the first 10,000 opt ins might cost you $20 a month, but the price increases once you go to the next tier.

The great thing about starting off with a paid email autoresponder system is that you won’t have to switch the list over at a later date. You’ll also be familiar with the system, so you won’t have to go through two learning curves to get the hang of it.

With a paid system, you’re usually allowed to market about topics that you want to email about. Some free systems prevent you from emailing about gambling, marketing, nutrition, credit repair or adult topics.

Both free and paid email autoresponder systems will generally have some starter information for those new to the email marketing scene. They’ll make it easy with opt in web templates you can choose that match the design of your site, and the set-up will guide you through the steps to completion.

Only you can determine if your budget will allow you to start off with a strong foundation rooted in a paid system. No matter what freebie you’re considering with a tool, there will always be some sort of hidden cost that might weigh heavily on you at a later date.

Setting Up Your Email Autoresponder Opt In Box

Setting up the official opt in box for subscribers to use in order to get on your list seems very intimidating to those new to email marketing, but it’s not that difficult to do. You may have a slightly different experience, depending on which company you use, but the basic steps are pretty much the same.

You’ll want to start by having your web page editor open and ready for when you want to insert the code into your site. You can use an editor like Microsoft FrontPage, for example.

Make sure you toggle from the Normal tab to the HTML tab before you paste the code you’re about to produce, or the opt in box won’t show up. Go ahead and figure out where you’ll want to put your code. Usually, it’s below the main headline and sub-headline, and possibly next to a set of bullet point benefits your visitor will see on why they should sign up.

Now minimize that while you open your browser and log into your email autoresponder system. We’ll use Aweber as our example, since it’s one of the most popular email marketing systems.

You should land on the main user control panel. You want to click on a tab or link that says Web Forms or something similar. Make sure if you have more than one list, that you’ve selected the list you want to create code for in the drop down menu, if applicable.

Click on Create a New Web Form and choose the design for your opt in box. They have a set of templates with a wide variety of niche images on them. For example, you might choose a box with fruits and vegetables surrounding it for a health or diet niche site.

Choose which type of opt in box you want. An In-Line box appears static on the page. A pop-over hovers in the web page. A lightbox is a pop-over that shows up while the rest of your site is darkened until the visitor takes action. And a pop-up open a new window.

You can adjust the width of the opt in box, either by manually dragging the sides or by typing in the specific dimensions you want to use. Choose which fields of information that you want the opt in box to collect.

You can go with the default of just name and email address, or add on a physical complete address or any other information with a ‘create a new field’ button that you name yourself.

Click on the various sections of the box to do any editing you feel is necessary. For example, if you don’t want the button to say “submit” then change it to something else such as, “Send Me That Report!”

Save the web form and name it and then go to the Publishing section. It will ask if you’re going to publish or install it yourself, or if you’ll be having someone else do it for you. You can even host it right on the system, but this isn’t recommended.

Click “I Will Install My Form” and then choose the raw HTML version. Copy the long, complex code and paste it where you want it to go in your HTML editor. After pasting the code, publish the page and test out the system to ensure it works properly. You want to be signed up to your own email autoresponder so that you’ll see exactly what your customers are seeing whenever they get a message from you.

Crafting a Follow-Up Email Autoresponder Series

Once your email autoresponder company is chosen and the technical set-up has been done, you may want to create a series of follow up messages that get dripped out to your customers and prospects on a regular basis.

Consistent communication is vital to your email marketing success. If you get someone to sign up to your list and you neglect them for too long, they’ll forget who you are. The next time you email them, they’ll also forget they gave you permission to – and they’ll click the spam button. Too many of these and your account can get shut down.

Your customers initially signed up for a reason. What was it? Did you offer a free report? Did you promise to provide a series of lessons on a certain topic? Did you tell them they would be on the receiving end of some amazing freebies or offers from time to time?

Start by creating a warm welcome email. You want to thank the person for signing up. If you promised a free download, make sure they don’t have to jump through hoops to get it – give them the download link right in the first email.

Your follow up series of emails could be a variety of things. And just because you have a follow up series in place, it doesn’t mean you can’t blast out a broadcast message on occasion, too.

Step-by-step email follow ups are great because it keeps the target audience waiting for the next email. If you promise to teach them how to get their relationship back on track in 7 short steps, for example, don’t give them all seven steps in one email.

Spread them out among seven different emails. This gives you ample opportunity to interact with your readers and also direct them to some sort of product or service that could help them.

Thought provoking emails are always great for driving traffic back to your blog and getting people to comment on what you just said. You can use something in the news to provide an entrance for you on the topic.

Inquisitive email follow ups are those where you’re specifically asking for your reader’s input. Everyone loves to be asked for his or her opinion. You might even poll your audience about an upcoming product or service you have.

It’s best to sprinkle the regular follow up emails with some special perk emails. These are ways you can thank the reader for subscribing and letting you access them on a regular basis via email. Consider it a privilege.

Make sure you spread your follow up emails out in a way that your specific customers will respond best to. Some respond best to daily emails. Some might respond to once every four days, or bi-weekly. You’ll have to gauge your audience and see what works for you.

What Warrants a Broadcast Email Autoresponder?

An email autoresponder system lets you reach out and contact your subscribers in two ways. You can set up a series of follow up emails that get automatically dripped out over time. Or, you can blast out what’s known as a Broadcast email to your list at any time you’d like!

Keep in mind that these people have you their trust. They handed over some very valuable information to them – their name and email address at minimum. So you want to treat that information with respect, not go filling their email inbox with dozens of messages each day. That’s a quick way to whittle down your subscriber list.

Broadcast emails should be used sparingly if you already have a follow up system in place. You don’t want your customers getting two emails per day from you. One is about the most your subscribers will want (and some won’t even want that many).

What goes into a broadcast email? Several things are appropriate. You might be the kind of person who has zero follow-up emails, so your daily broadcast can be less urgent – something where you simply touch base with your readers and discuss topics of your choice within the niche.

If follow ups are already in place, then choose to use your broadcasts for items of a more urgent nature. For example, if you have a sale that’s going to last for 48 hours, go ahead and blast your list to let them know about it.

Perks are always welcome, too. If you have a special code or coupon your prospect or customer can use to receive a freebie or discount, then by all means go ahead and blast that out!

The same goes for any freebies you have to offer in the form of immediate downloads. You can tailor your message to say you didn’t want them to have to wait for this amazing gift, so you’re sending it out ASAP.

Important news can be blasted out in a broadcast message. For example, if you discover something alarming that could have a detrimental effect on your target audience, it would be seen as a courtesy to rush the news to their inbox.

Broadcast emails are often preferred by email marketers because follow ups have to be tended to over time. If you have a follow up email that includes a link that goes bad, or even content that becomes irrelevant, and you have hundreds of follow ups in your queue, it can difficult to prune those from your communications.

If you use broadcast emails only, make sure you do set up at least one follow up email – your welcome message. You don’t want someone to subscribe to a bimonthly email newsletter the day after yours goes out and have to wait two weeks before they ever hear from you. So get the greeting over with and reiterate which days they will be hearing from you.

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