Autoresponders – 101

By | August 22, 2011

Autoresponders, as the name suggests, is designed to provide an automatic response to an incoming email message. We will discuss and understand few aspects of autoresponders in this post as below:

What Are Autoresponders?

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An autoresponder is a utility software/program created specifically to work with the email marketing programs such as iContact, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, GetResponse and such. It is setup to automatically respond to an email sent to a particular mail box with a pre-programmed email message. For example, you are an online visitor seeking for information about particular training classes and you fill out an application form. Once you hit the submit button, you will receive an automated notification confirming that your message have been received and someone will contact shortly or within next 24 hours.

Why Use Autoresponders?

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One of the key utility of autoresponders is you can automate the communication where you have identified that Human interaction is absolutely not needed and the same can be otherwise served using an email message thru an autoresponder functionality build in the email marketing programs. This helps you increase your availability and reach ability to the audience and consumers.

You can even schedule followup messages for certain type scenarios, such as – You are shopping online and you would like to save your current cart selections for which you want to make purchase decisions @ a future date/time. In that case, the autoresponder program can send the visitor a notification with the details about saved order and also, can fire timely scheduled follows letting the visitor know about the date when the products saved in the cart will expire and the customer will have to start-over the shopping process again.

Personalization is another key feature that is being exercised as a part of today’s autoresponder programs. Instead of blasting a generic message to all users/visitors, we can personalize the complete response based on the information we have gathered and know about the visitor/customers and their experience.

Sequential autoresponse is another key feature that these programs have to offer… Assume you have a multi-step marketing campaign and the visitor have completed step-1 and then the autoresponder can automatically detect the completion of step-1 and send details/information about step-2. This couple typically be very useful to helpdesk team. Assume you are setting up a system for new employee and they need to follow certain steps to complete the setup of a new computer system including establishing new account, setting up the email, setting up the chat software etc… Once, the system have identified that new user have signed-up and active in the system, it can fire a chain of responses/messages based on completion of previous step.

Tracking is very important with marketing efforts. You must have access to tracking reports that provide you with information to enable you to track the results of your marketing efforts. You need to be able to determine what is working and what is not.

HTML marketing emails have a higher click-through rates. Make sure the autoresponder program supports both HTML and plain-text emails.


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