Business Marketing Tools Explained: What Are Autoresponders?

Estimated reading time: 4 min

emailingWe create email Autoresponders on a regular basis because they’re a brilliant marketing tool. But so many people ask us what an Autoresponder actually is and why it makes sense for marketing your business.

Autoresponders are more than just those out of office replies you get when you email someone sometimes.  They’re automated emails that start based on a defined event.

This means that when your customer does something (an event), the autoresponder sends an email or a series of emails.  Examples include joining a mailing list – triggers a welcome message.  Or buys something online – triggers an upsell offer.

Simple, you might say. Yes, Autoresponders are simple in concept, but they bring you more marketing possibilities than you may realise…

Instant Response Autoresponder

You can set an Autoresponder to simply respond when an action (the trigger)  is performed (like receiving an email). This is great for small tasks like “out of office” notices and “thank you” emails after a customer buys a product or service. However, this side of Autoresponders doesn’t quite go as far as you need it to.  It’s just a single message with no follow-through.

Delayed Response Autoresponder

Autoresponders can be delayed to appear a few hours, days, weeks or even months after the trigger has been activated. These are useful for time sensitive reminders such as warranty expiry and account subscription top-ups.

We got asked by a mortgage broker who negotiates interest rate deals with banks for her clients – she wants to send them a reminder 11 months or 23 months after each rate fix so the client has 30 days to get back in touch with her to fix another interest rate deal for them.

Multiple Autoresponders

A neat little trick with Autoresponders is to make them trigger off of each other in a series. This allows you to build a message that is progressive.  Examples include training workshops and stories.

For example, perhaps you want to teach a customer how to use your service that they subscribed to online – you can set up a series of Autoresponders that trigger one week after each other, with each Autoresponder email covering a different part of your service. Yes they can unsubscribe and yes maybe not everyone would read them. However it increases those odds of a customer picking them up and making the most of your service, which increases your customer engagement and satisfaction.

The Strengths & Weaknesses of Autoresponders

Autoresponders work best as a marketing tool when they are integrated with other promotional activities. But they can do so much more than people realise. Here’s a list of their strengths and weaknesses that might lead you in the right direction if you’re thinking of using them.

Core Strengths…

  • Autoresponders are automated – So once you’ve set them up you don’t need to worry about them at all. They’ll run on their own and continue to spread your information and push your sales pitches long after you’ve finishing creating it. This makes them more reliable than a human!  All those times you’ve forgotten to send emails could have lost you business.
  • Autoresponders are simple – Essentially just emails that can tie together or answer specific customer questions on the fly, they don’t take much of your time to set up and yet help you correspond with many more customers without having to lift a finger.

Core Weaknesses…

  • Autoresponders are made of rigid content –  You can change them once they’re up but they’ll only change for people that sign up to receive the Autoresponder after you changed it.  That being said, you need to create each Autoresponder with a specific goal in mind and align it to that goal.
  • Autresponders aren’t individualised – Personalisation is possible – but it’ll just be <insert name> database personalisation.  Real individually customised messages are out of the question. While you can do the basic [firstname] [lastname] customisation fields, you will not be sending these emails yourself so won’t be communicating with the receiver directly. One way to respond to this is to add a manual, personalised thank you whenever you get a new subscriber.

So go out there and discover ways to integrate Autoresponders into marketing for your business. Need help? Feel free to contact us for a complimentary chat or use our training resources below for detailed examples and different structures of autoresponders…

 

Your guide to Autoresponders: learn how you can use Autoresponders to grow your business


See an Autoresponder in action: An Autoresponder about Autoresponders

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