Just as any other professional would, a good Internet marketer has his or her own set of preferred tools. This is the same for those who are promoting a business, too. The fact is, we need tools to make the work we do simpler and easier so that we can focus on the core aspects of our business and, of course, focus on generating a profit instead of doing a thousand mindless tasks per day that the computer can do better and faster. A lot of the time, we turn to software tools and services as a way to get things done efficiently. Every good marketer has their preferred tools, but what we want to talk about today is a very popular tool (or service, depending on how you look at it) called the auto responder.
If you do any kind of email list marketing then this is going to be essential to learn about, but it is valuable information for others in business, as well, even if most of your business is not done online. Once you find out what this particular tool can do for you, you will see why so many in business today use an auto responder. We’ll also cover the way you can find the best service to suit your needs and some other details that surround the proper use of this tool. You’ll learn a lot and be better prepared to deploy one for your own business if you decide that this would be a smart decision.
The Definition of an Auto Responder
The basic description of an auto responder is pretty easy to understand. It is a piece of software that automatically responds to incoming emails, performing the action that you set it to perform. This is, however, an overly simplified definition and there are a lot of different things you can use an auto responder to do.
The auto responder is actually a technology that has been around for quite some time. If you have ever received an email, after sending one yourself, which arrived and stated ‘your email could not be delivered because..’ or something along those lines, then you have already seen an auto responder at work. In that case, the email server itself most likely sent you a response so that you would know that email address was not valid or that your email was undeliverable for some other reason, but the bottom line is that you got a response and it was generated automatically. While those auto responders are still used today, what we are interested is how auto responders are used for marketing purposes.
Before we get into that, we need to talk a little about the basic types of auto responders available to you. If you happen to have your own server, then you can purchase software and run your auto responder from your own server yourself. For advanced users, this might be a cheaper way to go, but bear in mind that you will need to do all of the set up, maintenance, and handle any technical issues which arise. You will also need to be careful to make sure everything is set up carefully so that your auto responder emails do not end up in the spam folders of those you are sending them to. For most marketers, this is going to be a hassle and using a service which provides you with the use of an auto responder may be an easier and smarter choice. Most of these service are not that expensive.
Why Consumers Like Auto Responders?
People like auto responders because when they send an email, they are waiting for a response. Even if all they did was fill out a form, they would like some kind of confirmation that what they sent was received and this is what an auto responder can notify them of. Most marketers are going to set up their auto responder to respond rapidly to inquiries with at least a confirmation of the email having been received. This sets the person’s mind at ease because they have some form of proof that their email will eventually be read by a real person. It’s a smart idea to give them an idea of how long that might take, though.
When people sign up for an email list, they also like it when an auto responder delivers the content they want right away. This might be the latest edition of an ezine or something else, but it is sensible to consider instant gratification something that is universally appealing to just about everyone.
Do bear in mind that there are exceptions to this ‘rule’. There are people to whom an auto responder is an obnoxious robot that irritates them. They only want to be responded to by a real person and will be displeased to receive an automatically generated email even if the message itself was penned by you or someone in your organization. There is not much to be done about this other than perhaps including in your first auto responder email a separate address a person can email if they want to speak only with another human and do not want to deal with the auto responder. Also, it obviously makes sense to allow people to unsubscribe quickly and easily if they do not want any more automatically generated emails. That’s about all you can do to please these consumers.
Why Auto Responders Are Important to Those Building an Email List?
While mailing lists are not the only reason a person might begin using an auto responder, they are definitely one of the more common reasons they decide to do so. People who sign up for a mailing list want the goods right away and with an auto responder you can deliver exactly that. You can send a warm welcome message and even link to some more sites or other resources they may want to check out while they wait for the first mailings. This is all part of making people glad they decided to sign up for your mailings.
If for some reason you need to deliver specific information to only certain members of your list (for example, only those who request it) then you can use an auto responder to do this, as well. In short, you can more or less customize how your auto responder operates so that it will do whatever you like. This is part of the appeal of this technology along with the fact that it is low cost and extremely effective at what it does.
How Auto Responders Can Help in Tech Support or Customer Service?
Both tech support and customer service are important aspects of most businesses, but one fact is almost always true for them: they get a lot more inquiries than can be responded to and resolved in a timely manner. This is where an auto responder can make life a little easier for those involved in either tech support or customer service. With an auto responder you can let people know that their email has been received and that someone will be ready to help them shortly. This can help stave off frustration for the consumer and is almost always going to be a smart idea.
In some instances, an auto responder can be used to contact those who have been helped through your staff and ask them how their experience was. You might offer them a survey or some other way to give feedback regarding their recent interaction with customer service or tech support. This is a great way to go and it can definitely help you make sure that either of these types of teams are high functioning and delivering the results that are expected of them.
The Importance of Getting Your Auto Responder Messages Just Right
In order for auto responder messages to really do all they should, it is important to plan them out thoroughly. You want to think how the person receiving the message might feel about what they read. It is important to sound the way you want your brand represented. This might be formal or casual, that part is up to you to decide, but you certainly want to make sure this has been thoroughly thought out for each auto responder email that may get sent. Remember, every little bit counts when it comes to presenting the right image for your company.
If writing is not your strong point then you might want to consider turning to a professional or a firm that can help you draft up appropriate responses for your auto responder to send out depending upon the circumstances its responding to. This is a choice that might end up saving you a little bit of time and also making sure you have the best messages that you can.
Choosing the Best Auto Responder Service for Your Particular Needs
There are a number of different companies out there who offer auto responder services you can outsource. We recommend Aweber or Constant Contact to start. Most entrepreneurs are going to choose this option because it saves them time and because it’s been proven to work for so many other businesses. If you go this route, you will normally have a control panel you can access via the web by which you can do everything you need to do with your auto responder. It’s generally not a very complex system and often there are tutorials available as well as help available by email or phone if you get stuck.
You will need to evaluate the features the company who offers the auto responder is providing. Look carefully at how many lists can be handled, what all types of emails can be set up and other options along those lines. You want the best deal for your money and, yes, you do want to spend a little money. Free auto responders are rarely going to be a smart idea and if you are serious about doing business then it is really better off to avoid those. Get a good service with a solid reputation (you can check reputation by searching the web for reviews of auto responder companies) and you will save yourself a lot of time and hassle. That’s the best way to go to get the most from any service.