What is an Autoresponder and Why You Need One?
Even if you do not know what autoresponders are the chances are that you have encountered one.
They are an essential tool in your online business.
Ever sent an email and received a reply that said something like ...
"Sorry, I am away until next week ...
etc"? Well this was sent to you with the use of an autoresponder.
An automatic reply system that was set up by the person just before they went away.
There are a myriad of uses and situations for the deployment of an autoresponder (sometimes spelt 'auto responder').
For now, we'll call it an AR.
AR's are invaluable in keeping in touch with large numbers of people.
Say you own a restaurant.
If you have strategically collected business cards from your customers, presumably containing their email address, you can enter their details in your AR.
Then if you have any special events planned or a change in the menu, you can keep your customers up to date.
Your message doesn't have to be selling anything.
You could be thanking them for their patronage or any other kind of public relations.
An events manager of a club could more easily keep members up to date with events, promotions or special offers.
A college professor teaching by correspondence could set up her lessons so they can be released on specific dates.
For example, a 10-week training course can be programmed in an AR to be released sequentially every week for the duration of the course.
This could be used over and over and any adjustments to the course material can be easily made and inserted into the appropriate lesson.
Service organisations, such as auto mechanics, can reach their many customers to remind them that their vehicle service is due.
Retailers can use an AR to promote special offers, discount sales and promotions.
One unique promotion I saw recently was by a book reseller who emailed his customer list promoting a new book by attaching a couple of chapters.
The list goes on.
Are you now seeing the possibilities for your online business? The success for any business, online or offline, is keeping your customers informed and happy.
As you know, your customers in your online business are your list of subscribers.
Hopefully these will eventually number in the thousands.
It would be impossible for you to keep in touch personally with all of these people without an AR.
Your autoresponder will allow you to address all of your subscribers by their first name or more formally if you wish.
However, keep in touch you must.
They are the lifeblood of your business.
There are some important 'rules' however that you can't afford to ignore when using autoresponders.
The most important of these concerns SPAM.
Most countries around the world have outlawed SPAM.
If you break this law, it is also a good way of being blacklisted by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
That is why you need to use the 'double opt-in' option.
This is where your prospective subscriber is asked to confirm her subscription by a follow up email - hence the term 'double opt-in'.
That way you can't be accused of SPAM.
A good AR company will do this for you.
This is really only an introduction to autoresponders.
To flesh out the detail, particularly with regard to your subscribers' list, means another article.
Watch out for this article - coming soon.