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Make Autoresponders Work For You
by Conley Stallard

If you currently run a website, or you have been using email for some time, you’re probably familiar with autoresponders. An autoresponder is a prospect management and email marketing system that automatically answers e-mail sent to it or responds to form input from subscription forms, opt-in forms, etc. They can be very simple or quite complex.

Autoresponders are often used as e-mail marketing tools, to immediately provide information to their prospective customers and then follow-up with them at pre-set time intervals. For double opt-ins, (to meet the SPAM Act requirements to prevent SPAM), when someone subscribes or opts-in to one of your campaigns, the autoresponder immediately sends out a Verification Email request that a verification link be clicked to confirm the sign-up. Once the verification link has been clicked, the autoresponder will send out a series of pre-written, follow-up emails on a schedule specified in the autoresponder.

Note: As an example, I use an autoresponder to send out weekly devotionals (automatically every 7 days for 1 year) from a ministry web site to subscribers.

Autorespondes are useful to online businesses in many ways:

The major use of autoresponders is for List Building and follow-up promotions to the list for your online business. An example is that you have a sign-up form on your web page for any type of campaign and when prospects signs up, the autoresponder adds their name and email address to its list. The autoresponder will then send out a series of pre-written, follow-up emails on a schedule specified in the autoresponder to promote your products to the list.

They can be used for technical support to tell your customers that you have received their message and will get back to them soon. This automated email is important in that it lets the customer know that the message has been received and will be responded to promptly.

They can be used to send prospective customers information about your products, your FAQ (frequently asked questions) and other fixed information.

They can be used to send email courses to those who subscribe. For example, if you have a three week course, with course information or documents to be sent to your students once a week, you can automate the sending of the email course by the use of an autoresponder.

Autoresponders may also be incorporated into mailing list software to confirm subscriptions, unsubscribe, posts, and other list activities. A different autoresponder should be setup for each campaign or specific function of your business for which you want to automate.

A couple of professional, highly rated Autoresponder services which require a monthly fee are shown below:

Aweber — Aweber is a professional autoresponder solution with unlimited follow-up messages, HTML/plain text options, a web form generator, a wide range of HTML email templates, the ability to customize emails with up to 25 fields, and much more. Automated tools to help ensure your emails get delivered and comply with all relevant legislation. Aweber has a pricing plan that grows based on the amount of service. Account plans start at $19 monthly for handling up to 500 subscribers and increases as your subscriber list grows.

Email Aces — Email Aces is a full service autoresponder, with follow up marketing, and mailing list management service providing small business owners the ability to run a professional email marketing campaign and effectively manage their email and client lists. Email Aces has some cheaper options for limited features, but the unlimited autoresponder service currently has a $7.95 start-up fee and costs $19.95 each additional month.

To be fair and balanced, I will include some FREE Autoresponder services:

Freefollowup – Free Automatic Email Responders with No Ads! No scripts or software to download. Full features allow you to add your own leads and prospects, create HTML & text messages, create or use pre-written unlimited follow-up letters, create subscriptions by email, create subscriptions by web form, personalize your messages, send messages instantly or in intervals set by you, search your leads & manage bounces, send broadcast messages to your leads (subscribers). Currently, there is a one-time $4.99 set up fee and NO monthly fee.

List Wire – List Wire was designed to make effective email marketing simple, with a full-featured prospect management and email marketing system that makes it easy to create, and send effective email to your subscribers. List Wire makes it easy to create subscription forms and add them to your own website or blog, using their “SqueezeFrame” system that allows you to add a subscription form to your website, even if you don’t know a thing about uploading web pages, editing HTML, or using an FTP program.

Others — There are other free autoresponder services available, with GetResponse being one of them, but most have limited features or put an advertisment on your emails as they are sent out.

All of the Autoresponders listed above are “Double Opt-in” autoresponders, which means that when someone subscribes to your newsletter or list, the autoresponder sends out an email asking the subscriber to verify that they did subscribe by clicking on a confirmation link provided in the email. The autoresponder will not send out any more emails to the subscriber until they have confirmed. This meets the SPAM Act requirements to prevent SPAM.

In conclusion, it is imperative that you make use of autoresponders in your online business. It automates your business with prospect management and email marketing which frees you up to do other things you need to do.

Include sign-up autoresponder forms when designing your splash pages, sales pages and websites.
Conley Stallard is a retired Engineering Programs Manager, the Author of the “Web Page Design Guide” and is the owner and creator of several websites. The 76-page Web Page Design Guide is a “How-to” Step-by-Step Guide for Newbies Click here for more information:
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