Definition of an Autoresponder
When taken by definition, an Autoresponder might seem like the simplest invention for online use. After all, an Autoresponder is only an application designed to answer emails automatically.
Apart from email, Autoresponder’s today are now also being incorporated into website systems which can easily manage subscriptions, posts, online orders, enquiries and mailing lists. Its complication and genius lies in its many uses and how, through its simplicity, it has the ability to triple online sales and improve online marketing efforts on so many levels.
Early Start of the Autoresponder:
All types of people have encountered an Autoresponder at one point or another. It began quite easily as a simple system that delivered notifications when an email couldn’t be sent to the address designated even when several attempts have been made. In which case, the Autoresponder will then send the sender an email that his message has not been delivered and the several reasons that might have caused the error.
The 24/7 support desk
Since you can’t be at the computer all the time and therefore, can’t answer messages as quickly as you may want to, an Autoresponder will help you build and maintain relationships with potential as well as active clients who have contacted you. In addition, it is time consuming and tiresome to answer to the same inquiries over and over again. An Autoresponder can quickly give detailed answers, price quotations, friendly greetings or deliver newsletters automatically.
How do I know What Type of Autoresponder to Use?
This is a question that many business owners ask themselves when they decide that they need to start using Autoresponder’s. As we discussed earlier, Autoresponder’s are helpful tools that you can use to automate your business and decrease your work load tremendously.
Basically, there are three types of Autoresponder’s to choose from, the compatibility of which depends on your personal level of skill and the availability and use for the Autoresponder.
The three main types of Autoresponder’s are
- Remotely hosted Autoresponder’s.
- Locally hosted Autoresponder’s.
- Desktop hosted Autoresponder’s or self hosted Autoresponder’s.
Of the three, many business owners prefer having a locally-hosted or desktop-hosted Autoresponder for several reasons.
Remotely-hosted Autoresponder’s cannot carry a website’s domain name.
What appears in the Autoresponder is a link extension of the website that is hosting the Autoresponder. This may be preferred by some who do not have their own website or those whose business require anonymity of a sort. Furthermore, because the Autoresponder is carried by another website and not your own, there will be very little room for control or flexibility in terms of what the Autoresponder can do for you.
Major Disadvantage: It is easy to spot the pre-written message when it’s hosted on a remotely-hosted Autoresponder
If your autoresponder is Locally-hosted or desktop hosted then you can choose to customise a range of settings such that it’s not made to look or sound like an automated message. In addition, the e-mail address is the website’s own which makes it more difficult to pinpoint an automated message.
This is a great feature for those in the customer service industry or those who require warm relations with potential customers because of its ability to mask a generic script.
After all, very few people want to receive a message that’s been sent to millions of other people and no matter how successful, knowing an autoresponder is the one responding to the message will give a touch of coldness to the content.
For all the limitations of a remotely-hosted autoresponder though, it is by far cheaper than the other two. It’s great for home businesses or start-up companies who need the service but not the heavy expense. And it is not to say that locally-hosted and desktop-hosted autoresponder’s don’t have their own limitations too.
Depending on the provider, these two can be quite expensive especially when you’re asking a technical person to develop the script and the installation for you. Scripts can get very complicated depending on how many features you want in the autoresponder. An Intelligent autoresponder, one which does sequential sending and the like, can be quite expensive.
A desktop-hosted autoresponder from the name itself is dependant on one desktop. So, given this, the computer should be very reliable and should always be connected to the internet lest it won’t receive or answer any of the messages. The computer also needs to have a large capacity especially for those who have a very large mailing list.
With desktop-hosted autoresponder’s, one will need to have intelligent know-how on how the system works or else most mails will only end up in a potential client’s Spam Folder and be sure to choose a very reliable hosting server. Hosting services for such will also tend to be very expensive.
Take your own company’s considerations in mind when choosing. Not every business will fit the same mold when it comes to choosing the right autoresponder for it’s needs.
Free Autoresponder v Paid
Pro and Cons
When you’re first starting out in Internet marketing there is definitely a lot that you’re going to have to learn. After you have a better idea of what exactly it is that you’re going to sell and who the people are that you’re selling it to, you will need to get your web content up online and get as many people to see it as possible.
The main thing you need to do is make sure that you’re getting the information from those people (such as their name and e-mail address), so you can contact them whenever you need to. This is a much better option than trying to get them to come to your site time after time.
Setting up an autoresponder is the absolute best way for you to keep marketing to people on a repeated basis, however, paid autoresponder services can range in price from anywhere between $9 through to $25 each month and that’s just for the entry-level price; they can often cost much more than that especially if you have a large list.
But the question still remains are free autoresponders actually a good option?
Believe it or not, there is actually a lot of debate in Internet marketing community as to which is better.
Entry level pricepoint
Of course, the best thing about a free autoresponder is that it doesn’t cost you any money. That way you’ll really get up and running and be able to start collecting names that you can market to repeatedly. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work…in theory. The reality is that a free autoresponder often has a lot of problems associated with it. For example, they are free for a reason, and that is they often attach their own advertising to every message you send out. If you’re serious about being in business for yourself, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to come across as unprofessional by slapping on ads that you have no control over. And that’s what it’s really about controlling your own business in a way that looks professional.
Now on the other hand, you may not have a lot of money to start your business with, that’s okay. It happens. There is one other thing to think about though. If you start out collecting names using free autoresponders, and then later decide to upgrade to a paid autoresponder, you may not be able to transfer all of the names you have on your free list to your newly paid-for list.
So, while free autoresponders sound like they might be a really great deal, the truth is that they come with their own set of problems. That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome those problems, but you need to be aware of them before you do something that you may regret later. Instead of thinking of paid autoresponders as a cost, try thinking of them as an investment in your business and your future. But if you really must, a free autoresponder is better than having no autoresponder at all.
4 Simple ways to use your autoresponder
Autoresponder’s are to emails what answering machines are to phones. They can serve as receptionist’s, marketer’s and pacifier’s for potential and active clients who all want a piece of your time. Of course, in today’s busy world, you can’t just keep answering emails the whole day, so Autoresponder’s are here to do that for you. Here are 4 simple ways to use your Autoresponder.
Organize your Answers Cohesively:
Fixed answers such as price, service rates, FAQ’s and the like are tiresome to send manually especially when it’s the only thing you seem to be doing for the best part of your day. With Autoresponder’s, websites now have the luxury of having a set of detailed answers to clients’ most frequently asked questions ready to go. These can be sent out quicker and cheaper than employing a personal secretary or virtual assistant and can prove to be more reliable as well. This way, the company is also more consistent with answers to sensitive questions like price, for example. At least no one can then accuse you of giving one rate to one client and a cheaper one to the other.
Share Knowledge with Employees
Too busy to impart everything to your employees? Well, with Autoresponder’s, you can set up your course modules with not only clients but with those in your internal office. This way, you can still increase their performance even when you’re too busy carrying out your other business tasks. A sequential Autoresponder will help you preset your message delivery. This can be set-up in such a way to deliver a weekly newsletter to your employees or customers. This will allow your message to be properly digested prior to the next one being received.
Market to Clients
With the advent of Autoresponder’s clients can choose to subscribe to a monthly or weekly newsletter from the company. This way, they are kept well-informed about new products that are about to be released by the company. Whether you’re a big or small enterprise, marketing through Autoresponder’s is an affordable and effective way to keep clients in the loop. Even bloggers can benefit from using Autoresponder’s as a marketing tool as it’s a great alternative to a regular RSS feed. It’s also a way to increase traffic going to your main website.
Sequential course modules can also be marketed as newsletters for clients. It can be a great way to generate extra income. By giving out the first few chapters to subscribers and letting them pay for the rest, not only are you helping, you will have branded your product or service as a thing of help rather than just a plain Spam message.
How many business owners or employees have gone on vacation while still worrying about the things they have to finish, the clients they have to call and the backlog of messages they have to answer?
Well, with Autoresponder’s, clients who’ve emailed you will receive an immediate pre-written message explaining the circumstances and further stating that you’ll get back to him as soon as you can when you return. This way, you’ve touched based with them even when you’re enjoying your break.
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