Email Autoresponders

Email Autoresponder ArticleI introduced you to the principle of relationship building in the previous part of this Internet marketing series. Now that you understand why a static website “brochure” is not enough and know that you need to build relationships with your customers let’s take a look at the most powerful tool you have available to accomplish this task, the email autoresponder.

What Is An Autoresponder?

There is a good chance you have experienced the most rudimentary email autoresponder, the “away from my office” message. When a person goes on holiday or is away from their office and work email for a period of time it’s quite common to switch on an autoresponse message that sends a reply to every email received. The message is a common courtesy, aimed at explaining why a personal reply email won’t be forthcoming until after the person returns to work. This is a good example of the most basic autoresponder. It demonstrates the principle of sending an email in response to an action, in this case an email received.

A fully fledged online marketing system uses a lot more powerful autoresponder that can send multiple emails during set time intervals and in response to different actions. They can also be used to handle newsletters, mailing lists and subscriptions. Integration is seamless using a sign-up form on your website or an email address that your visitors can email to join your list.

A Practical Example

At the top of this website (http://www.SmallBusinessBranding.com) you will find a subscription sign-up box requesting the name and email address of visitors to join my Blog Traffic School mailing list. Once a person submits their details they receive a confirmation email asking them to click a link to confirm their subscription (this is called double opt-in and stops me from being accused of sending SPAM). Once they are confirmed a welcome email is sent saying hello. A day later my email autoresponding system will send out another message that I programmed it to send. Another three days later another email is sent including an article and so on.

Each of these messages is personalized using the name of the subscriber and signing-off from me. All the messages are pre-set to come out at certain time intervals and create a natural dialogue with my subscribers. Even though the system is sending out every email automatically and handling all the communication it appears to be quite personal and consequently builds a relationship.

Autoresponders Are Not Too Technical

You might be worrying about how technically difficult it is to work with autoresponders. Thankfully if you choose a good system you should get the hang of it within a few hours and there are always lots of help files and customer support staff you can call on if you get stuck.

My autoresponder of choice is called AWeber and I recommend it to everyone. It costs between $15 USD and $20 USD per month depending on how much you prepay. AWeber has been around for over five years and has the backing of hundreds of online businesses, including all of mine.

However that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look around yourself. There are many different autoresponder services available, some that are specialist services like AWeber, others that you can install on your webhost or on your own computer. I strongly recommend you choose one of the specialist external services because they are specifically set up to send lots of email. If you try and send out broadcast email messages to hundreds of people using your own computers you may be accused of spamming or your mail may be blocked. If you are in doubt, please feel free to email me, I’d be glad to help you make a choice.

E-Courses

One of the most common ways to utilize an autoresponder is to distribute an e-course. An e-course is a fantastic way to build a relationship with your website visitors by teaching them something of value.

The first step to establish an e-course is to write it. Five to seven short (500 words each should be enough) sequential lessons written in plain text is all you need. As you have probably guessed what you are reading right now is part of an e-course, although you may be reading it at a website or in a PDF and not through an email subscription. You take your lessons, put them into an autoresponder designed to send the lessons out once per day over a week and hey presto! – instant rapport building tool that demonstrates you know what you are talking about and provides real education to your eager students (potential customers).

Autoresponders + Website = Customer Relationships

Now you understand the basic formula for online marketing. You realize that the web presents an amazing opportunity to get customers. You understand that “just a website” is not good enough, you need to build a relationship and establish communication channels. Autoresponders are the tools you use to do this, providing an automated system that communicates with your website visitors automatically, selling value and creating rapport on your behalf.

The final ingredient necessary for successful online marketing is of course traffic. Without people visiting your website your online system can’t be put to use. In the next installment of this series I’ll teach you how to quickly get website visitors and not just any visitors, people that are actually looking for what you offer.

Yaro Starak

Yaro

Yaro Starak is an Internet business and blogging expert. He runs the successful Internet business blog - http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com and teaches about how to make money from blogging at http://www.blogmastermind.com.

You can contact Yaro at - http://ReplytoYaro.com

Comments

  1. Hey Yaro,

    I’m looking around for a autoresponder and your writeup of it and aweber helped alot.

    Do you know of any open source autoresponders that can match it with aweber?

  2. Hi Martin – I don’t really know of any open source autoresponders. I am sure there are some open source software packages that you could download and install but I would advise against that.

    The simple fact is companies like AWeber, 1shoppingcart and GetResponse establish agreements with ISPs to make sure mail from their servers isn’t marked as SPAM. Especially with AOL SPAM blocking can be an issue and if you use your own servers to send out the mail there is a very good chance that less than 100% of your subscribers will get it.

    Even with a service like AWeber you can’t be 100% sure but you are giving yourself the greatest chance of getting your mail through.

  3. Yeah, you’re spot on there, Yaro – that’s the only reason holding me back doing it all by myself … just that I’m one of those that love a certain degree of control and I don’t really mind doing the hard yards in setting it up on my own server.

    The pricing at aweber is pretty good, more so for the unlimited campaigns and follow-ups you can do. Also 10,000 is a decent amount of subscribers before the upgrade kicks in.

    Hmmm … you’ve sold me, Yaro – I’ll make sure to use your affiliate link when I sign up.

    Cheers,
    Martin

  4. btw, Yaro … I never received an email as I subscribed to the comment – also, clicking on the “manage your subscriptions” link gets me an error page.

    might have to look into it.

  5. Hi Martin,

    Thanks for the heads-up on the subscriptions manager. I just reinstalled the software so it should be working. Did you get email notification of this message?

    I’m sure you will like AWeber, it’s simple enough to use yet has a lot of powerful features. I use to run my own mailing software too but then once my list started getting over 2000 I was worried about my webhost flagging me as a spammer so I switched to AWeber for future lists.

  6. I have been thinking about getting a mailing list for quite some time. Thank you for your input on this.

  7. I also looked for an open source auto responder and couldn’t find any, which is unusual. with all my other purchased software (Adobe, Microsoft etc.) I’ve started with open source (GIMP etc.) and then upgraded to a purchased product.

    So I signed up for 3 months through Aweber (hope you get a couple of affiliate $ Yaro). Read some negative reviews about their customer service through Amazon but figured for the small price it was worth a trial.

    Initial impressions – a fairly professional service, but somewhat constrained in terms of SPAM laws – for instance ‘having’ to have a valid postal address at the end of every e-mail sent out, and some double-opt-in restrictions.

    Will do the course promotion thing over Adwords etc… and see how I go.

  8. Great information!

    I have set up my Aweber account and love it.
    Do you have any suggestions on where I can get some pre-written email copy for a network marketing work from home opportunity that has had success. I am working on a tight budget. I would like some help putting together a professional campaign..

    Thanks again,
    Jason

  9. Hi Jason – I suggest you outsource the creation of original emails for your autoresponder series. You can get this done quite cheaply and the content will be tailored to you so it will perform better.

    Yaro

  10. you must not have looked too hard for open source autoresponders…. there’s quite a few.

  11. Does anyone have an effective way to promote my website and get back links Do you recommend the use of articles and articles submission

  12. Thanks Yaro, I found this quite helpful.
    I am currently using mailchimp to handle my site subscribers, they also have an autoresponder that i haven’t implemented yet, how would you describe their service?