- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 8, 2015
- Email marketing
An autoresponder is a mass email program with the ability to send a series of emails automatically in the order you specify.
Considering email marketing offers a roughly $40 return on investment (ROI) for every $1 spent (according to the Direct Marketing Association) and lead nurturing emails, like those from an autoresponder, generate an 8% click-through-rate compared to general emails which generate a 3% click-through-rate (according to Hubspot), it’s quite possible you will want to understand what an autoresponder could do for your local business.
Over-and-above the ability to generate more revenue for your business, an autoresponder can also save you a lot of time on executing your email marketing campaigns.
With a “regular” email campaign you set up your email message and your recipient list and hit send. Your email message is sent once.
With an autoresponder you write a series of emails all at once (yes, this may mean taking yourself away from your operational activities for an hour or two.) You then create all these emails in your autoresponder program.
You set these emails to be delivered in a sequence with a set time delay between each email. So say I download your amazing ebook on How to Actually Make Money from Internet Marketing. To get this ebook I have to enter my first name, last name and email address. Once I’ve entered my information, and assuming I opt in to your email list at the same time, you can start sending me email.
You have two choices of how to do this. You can send me email using a “traditional” email program. In this case you have to remember that “one day this week I need to send all the people in my opt-in list an email with my first piece of content they should read”. OK, maybe I’ll do that on Wednesday. When Wednesday comes you set up your email and send it to your list.
But of course this being real life it’s possible that on Wednesday morning a crisis erupts with a current client. Something you cannot put off. Then on Wednesday afternoon your spouse calls and tells you your child is not feeling well and you need to come home. So Wednesday comes and goes and your email does not go out. Problems occur on Thursday and Friday and your email does not go out. Well, you get the picture.
An autoresponder is an attractive alternative. You write your sequence of several emails when you can (blocking off time as needed) then you set up all these emails to go out in a sequence. Once set up these emails go out automatically. Whenever someone signs up to your email list they get this sequence of emails. The first person gets the sequence and the 100th person gets the same sequence and they get it delivered to them with the same relative time delay to the day they signed up.
It’s like having an assistant sitting in your office watching when people sign up to your email list and then sending an email sequence exactly when you specify relative to the time they joined your list.
And if you do need to send a special email to your whole list on a given date, say you have an event coming up, you can still do that using the “traditional” email approach.
You can get autoresponder functionality from a few of the obvious suspects, including Mailchimp and AWeber and the autoresponder functionality comes as part of full marketing systems like Hubspot.
One cautionary note: An autoresponder is only a tool. The content that goes into each email is the real “magic”. To make this “magic” happen you need to understand your customer, create or curate information that has value for them and write a good email.
Are you using an autoresponder for your business? Have you ever? What has worked/not worked for you?