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The autoresponder is software that manages mailing lists. It is a tool you can use to keep a list of all your contacts and their emails so you can email them anytime, all at once, send them automated emails on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, when ever! All emails are automatically changed to include each recipient’s own personal details before it is sent out. It will seem as if you were emailing that one person and that one person alone. It may start out saying “Hallo John” if the recipient’s name was John for that matter.

What Do I Need To Have Before I Can Start Using An Autoresponder?

Nothing. Let me explain. For the autoresponder database to work you have to feed it – and it feeds on email addresses. The capturing of email addresses is done mostly in 2 ways. The one way is by adding the subscriber detail to the list yourself – or to import the subscriber details. The other way is where the person visits the web page where you have inserted the code for the web form. This code then displays the web form with all the fields for all the data you want the person to fill out. That means that if you don’t have a website you can still manually add subscribers. Some autoresponders may also let people sign up when they send a blank email to the email address of the list. Of course putting up a web form online is easy and it can save you the work of importing subscribers.

The Only Legal Way To Do Email Marketing:

Before the autoresponder will allow you to send emails to the subscriber, he or she needs to verify/confirm their subscription. This is to comply with the CAN-SPAM law against sending unsolicited emails. Unsolicited is just a big word meaning “not asked for” and we all know it is a.k.a. “SPAM”. To prevent spammers from adding your email address (and mine) illegally to their mailing lists, there is a system that has become the only legal way to obtain subscribers. The “Double Opt-in” subscription system is now the standard of mailing list verification and is the only way you may do email marketing legally today. This means that once a person subscribed or his/her contact details were added to a mailing list, a confirmation email is automatically sent out to that person’s email address. The subscriber then needs to click a link in that confirmation email in order to confirm that they gave you permission to send them marketing emails. This is why email marketing is sometimes referred to as permission marketing.

Once you have captured a person’s email address using a professional white listed autoresponder service, they will allow you to copy and move a person’s subscription between mailing lists without the need for them to subscribe or to confirm again. This is a absolutely great feature. When a person on your list of prospects buys your product or the affiliate product, you may now want to move that person from your list of prospects to your list of customers. That way he/she will stop receiving emails telling how great the product is and why they need to buy the product.

Follow Up Email And The Email Marketing Campaign:

Since the autoresponder can be used to send out a series of emails automatically it is also known as a sequential autoresponder. That is because the initial autoresponder software only sent out one email. It was used to automatically respond to people emailing you, informing them that you are for example, not at office but on holiday, and maybe, for them not to expect a reply before this or that date. This feature was or still is available for use in Cpanel where you create and manage your email account. People that have their own website domain name and hosting will know what I am talking about.

In a marketing sense it is commonly understood that an autoresponder refers to a sequential autoresponder. Autoresponder messages can be set and forget. Once a person signs up, he or she gets the email messages at predetermined number of days apart. Some of the latest mailing management software also allows you to specify which days and even at what times the emails are sent. This follow up feature is popular with companies and individuals who are registered as affiliates. Both promote products related to the topic of interest, for which the subscriber initially signed up for. An email marketing campaign is where you write out about 10 emails that describe the benefits of having or using the product. If the autoresponder is set to send email at a weekly rate, then everyone on the list will receive a weekly email telling them a feature or benefit of the product – until the last autoresponder message is delivered. You will of course have included a link in every email, which when clicked will take them to the web page where they can buy the product.

Global Send And Global Broadcast:

Global sending is a feature that can be used by large companies to quickly contact all of their employees for example. By typing in a short email, everyone on the list will receive the email and every email will be personalized to address the recipient by name. To personalise this email even further you can use other personal details of the subscriber you have captured when they signed on. It is a huge time saver when you want to quickly email hundred or thousands of individuals. Some of the larger mailing lists even contain hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Global broadcast is another useful feature. This is set-up in conjunction with your blog for instance. Every time you add a new blog post, a mailing is automatically sent out for everyone that signed up to receive your blog updates. This is a very important feature as it makes it easy for you to get repeat visitors to your blog. As we’ve seen, new visitors are great, but repeat visitors are even better. Why? The more they know you or your product, the more they will buy from you. Statistics have also proved that you need on average 7 to 8 follow up emails, banner ad displays or some or other contact with the average customer in order to close a sale. That is a new customer of course.

Why Would Anyone Sign Up For My Mailing List?

People that already love your product may want to be notified when the next shipment arrives or when similar products go on special. Even if your business is selling car tyres, you can benefit from having your customers on a list. You can even add them to different lists. If a customer has a car that takes 13-inch tyres and a truck that takes 14-inch tyres you can add the customer to both lists. Every time you offer a special on your 14-inch tyres, you just send out a quick email to your list. Do you think you will need much convincing to get sales from your current satisfied customers? No, all it will take is to log onto you autoresponder, type in an email and send it out. Your offer is focussed on their specific needs and thereby highly targeted and hard to resist.

You may not know it but a happy customer is often a repeat customer. It makes sense to use email marketing to inspire repeat business. Your advertising effort will be targeted at a group of people that already know and trust you or your products. Why wait. It is much easier to sell at your customers. The longer you wait, the more money you are leaving on the table.

The best thing any business can do is to convert a prospect into a customer. Yet I see so many businesses that have no action plan towards their non-buying visitors. They pay heaps of money for advertising and when a non-buyer leaves – they have lost that lead. Instead they could have added them onto a list and submitted them to information they would like to receive – in the mean time they get a chance to promote related products. Let me take the example of the tyre business again. If for instance you approach the non-buyer when they try to leave, you can capture the actual needs of the person. You can find that many people come to your business looking for tractor tyres for instance – something you might or might not have ever come to realize.

Having them subscribed to your list you can now contact them – whether you are currently selling tractor tyres or not. You now have a list of people you can inform of a special price for a tractor tyre. Would they be interested? Sure they would. With enough interest you can then order special tractor tyre stock and get more sales and new customers. This should work for many types of products – especially slower moving stock.

Get Your Customers (Or Those Of Your Opposition) To Subscribe To Your List:

To get subscribers offline is easy if you make use of a lucky draw competition.

  • They just fill in a card with their details
  • You add them to your mailing list
  • They confirm their details
  • You export the names of your list to file
  • You get a local auditing firm to make the draw and wha-la!

You can have them sign up online to make the sign up process less work for yourself. For this you just need a website where you can publish the web form. You should know whether filling out a form off-line or online would work better for your business. Your customers, or potential customers, may be interested in the competition prize but not enough to go to the website, remember the website address or to get a computer since they may or may not have a computer, or internet access for that matter.

A great way to benefit from having an autoresponder is to implement an exit strategy where you pop-up the web form to capture their details as soon as they try to leave the website. In this case you may want to use a freebie, a special offer or a lucky subscriber competition to entice them to subscribe. Give them something of value in exchange for their email addresses – something they just cannot resist. Remember this helps your business making more sales, so invest in this like you would have invested in any other off-line advertising campaign. Also remember that if you do not use an autoresponder to cash in on the non-buyers out there, your opposition may start to. And you may find that someone who may not be your opposition today, may become your opposition of tomorrow – simply because they attended to the needs of their non-buyers.

Email Marketing And Affiliate Sales Online:

Email marketing is a huge online business. It works around promoting either your own products to a list or referring the list to check out someone else’s product, or a combination of both. When you refer them to someone else’s product (or service) and you are an affiliate of that person’s product, you will refer them to look at the product by giving them a personalised website link. When they visit the seller’s website through your link and buy the product, the merchant will allocate a commission to you. Payment is usually done via PayPal, ClickBank, Commission Junction or some other 3rd party that handles the affiliate payments on the seller’s behalf.

Signing up as an affiliate is usually free – sometimes not. Some sellers only allow their customers to sign up as affiliates and promote their products.

So Where Do I Get An Autoresponder?

An autoresponder can be available as an online mailing list service or it can be software you purchase and install on your computer or on your own website. It is always safer to use a white listed autoresponder service rather than the software. It helps when someone complains that you illegally spammed him or her and your end is covered. Always try to choose the best autoresponder service, rather than the cheapest. Remember the value of this database and the loss to your business if you would lose it along the way. Read reviews online and ask around. Most also have a trial period or a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their service.

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Source by Gert Hough