What Is An Autoresponder And How Does It Work?

What Is An Autoresponder

What is an autoresponder? An autoresponder is a service which allows you to automatically send out emails to a group, or to several different groups, of people.

The key things to know are that:

  • subscribers sign up to receive emails from you
  • once the emails are written, the sending process is automatic
  • using email in this way is an astonishingly effective way to communicate

To get started you will have to first sign up to an autoresponder service such as RocketResponder and then set up a list within the autoresponder software for each group of people with whom you want to communicate.

For some people just one list is all they ever need but other people who use autoresponders may have multiple lists to target different groups.

Gaining subscribers

Next you will want to invite people to join your list. Typically this is done by asking them to provide you with their name and email address in order to receive emails from you.

So if you are a business the emails could be mainly about your business and any special offers you are running while bloggers tend to send emails when they have written a new post (a good autoresoponder will automatically do this for you either every time you post or at a frequency decided by you.)

Sometimes people like to include a gift in return for people signing up to their autoresponder list (which is also called a marketing list or simply an email list.) This may take the form of a discount on their first order, a free report on the subject area of interest or some tips and tricks that subscribers may like to know.

Communicating with subscribers

Now that you have names on your list you will need to talk to these people. After all they have given you their email address for that very purpose.

Typically you will write a short series of emails which go out to each new subscriber in the days, weeks (or even months) after they sign up to your list.

So if I join your list I might get a welcome email on day one, an introductory email on day two, something else on day three and then more emails on day six, 12  and 18.

You write the emails once, set the frequency you want them delivered and then each time someone new joins they get all your email series, in the order you wrote them and on the days you want them to get them. There is no further action required on your part.

The huge benefits of this are that:

  • your time is freed up to get on with the things you need to do
  • every single subscriber gets the same series of messages…even if you have 100 people sign up in a day, nobody gets left out. (Try handling all that on your own without an autoresponder.)

The other cool thing is that you can send emails to your lists at any time you want. So if you want to inform your subscribers about your new service which launches next week then write one email, press send, and everyone on your list gets to hear the news right away.

Some autoresponders are free, but these tend to have limited functionality or may impose limits to how many emails you can send or how many subscribers you can have on your list.

The paid autoresponders allow you to have more flexibility with how you communicate with your subscribers and can give you more data you may find useful including how many people opened your emails or clicked on your links.

Most paid services will charge you based on the number of subscribers you have – the price goes up as your list size grows. RocketResponder has a flat-fee pricing structure so that you will always know how much you have to pay and not have to worry about the numbers of subscribers you have.

Finally one common misconception is that autoresponders are only really useful for people who are working online, but this is simply not true.

More and more offline businesses and organizations are using autoresponders to communicate with their subscribers too. When it comes to efficiently sending email to groups of people then autoresponders are indispensable and really cost-effective communication tools.

Patrick Griffin

Patrick Griffin has been marketing online for 15 years. He’s a serial entrepreneur and an avid email and content marketing enthusiast with a background in publishing and journalism, including a UK Press Award.

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