Email Auto Responders – A Quick Tutorial

I am a fan of email auto responders that send a pre-determined email reply out from your address.  They can be very helpful for new business development as an information tool for prospective customers.

As ever, there are good and bad examples of automatic emails.  Here are four examples we have received recently that can show you the best and worst examples.  Most are from marketing and sales agencies / organisations and so the bad examples make me cry with shame….. there’s so much to improve.

Let’s get to work.

Example 1 – Failure Message

We got this after trying to email J Walter Thompson in Houston, TX.  Their website didn’t list the office contacts so we used a directory called MacRae’s Blue Book.   This is what came back from our email:

Directory Listings fail message

A request for contact that failed.

  • Check and update all the free listings services that have your company and office.
  • Create a unique email address so you can track effectiveness e.g. would have worked here.
  • Contact yourself through them as a mystery shopping exercise at least once a year, preferably 6 monthly
  • Where do email enquiries go?  Which phone number do they list and who answers it?

Email effectiveness 4/10

Example 2 -Zero Information

Membership organisation NYAMA (New York American Marketing Association) whose membership-based services are surely the profit engine for the organisation.  But hey, send them a membership enquiry on their auto form and one week later [hardly an automatic response] this comes in:

Thank you for submitting this form

  • “Thank you for submitting this form.”  Great – send me what I already know I sent you
  • What happens next?  No mention of next steps towards becoming a member
  • Timeliness – this reply came back 5 days after we completed the online form
  • Nothing happened

Email effectiveness 2/10










Example 3 – Inbound Emails

When you send an enquiry in to a company’s ‘general’ email whether by form on the website or direct, what happens to that email?

Everyone knows that spammers and malcontents will be using it too – so what reassurance can you give people that their message has got through?

Great information auto-response

  • This one came from a retail marketing agency fronted by a TV celebrity.
  • They have good information about what to expect from the agency, the celebrity and where to get more information free / cheap and also training
  • But the email came from one general email address – they need to split the contact so people interested in the celebrity and people interested in the agency are directed to different places.
  • We wrote back to confirm our interest in the agency and received the same auto-response again.  Irritating.

Example 4 – the perfect first reply

And finally, a look at a nice, short friendly reponse from a media agency.

Perfect auto response email

  • The message gives a real person’s name as a point of contact
  • Sets clear expectations about what the agency will do next
  • Sounds genuinely friendly

Copy this one.

Autoresponders are a good tool to kick off your online marketing.

Simple. How many emails do you write daily? How many blog posts? You only have to write an autoresponder once. It will then go to as many new recipients as activate the trigger. Forever. It will always go out in the same time format that you set up at the start. It’s easy. You don’t have to think about it. And all the while it keeps up a relationship with your readers. Voilà.

And if you need help, let us know! Hire a Creative Agency Secrets team of copywriters to set up your auto responder – we know what we’re doing and can give you the shortcuts to great outcomes and customer engagement.

More With The Creative Agency Secrets GUIDE TO AUTORESPONDERS

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Autoresponders Email Marketing – A Good Example

We recently visited GetSpokal.Com and were pleasantly surprised when we received 3 spaced apart automated emails after signing up to their newsletter.

This is a brilliant example to show you Autoresponder Email Marketing done right.

Not to mention their service description landing page is magnificent. Here are the autoresponders we received…

Autoresponder Email 1: intro and thank you

Hi Rebecca,

I was just browsing the web and came across Creative Agency Secrets’ site. I’m a bit of a marketing nerd, so love to look and compare the strategies of different inbound marketing agencies – I actually think it’s fun! What you and your team are doing with Creative Agency Secrets looks really interesting.

I wanted to reach out to you today, because my company, helps agencies like yours manage their inbound marketing strategies quickly and more efficiently.

It’s kind of like HubSpot but at a much more affordable price point, and integrates seamlessly with WordPress.

First off, I’d like to invite you and your team to a free 14 day trial of Spokal to get a feel for how it works and how it can help your inbound marketing strategies.

If you like Spokal, and want to start using it for your clients, we also have an agency program where you can earn a 30% commission on all client accounts you manage. So not only does your work with clients become easier, it becomes more profitable too.

To set up a trial account and get familiar with our platform, just head over to If you like what you see, I’ll personally help you get set up on agency program so you can start using Spokal with your clients.

If you have any questions at all about our platform or agency program, just reply back to this email and I’ll be in touch as soon as possible.

Chris Mack
Co-Founder & CEO
1 888 470 5990

Autoresponer Email 2: service description and offerings

Hi Rebecca,

I just wanted to follow up with you to see if you received my previous email. I think Spokal would make a great fit for your agency, both for your internal use and for your clients.

I’d love to invite you to a free trial of Spokal at and if you like what you see, we can get you set up on an agency plan where you earn 30% back for all of your clients who you manage while using Spokal.

Just reply back here if you have any questions.

Chris Mack
Co-Founder & CEO
1 888 470 5990

Autorseponder Email 3: reminder and farewell

Hi Rebecca,

I just wanted to send one last email to make sure my emails weren’t missing your inbox.

Your agency looks like a great fit for what Spokal offers – a full-fledged marketing automation solution for WordPress.

Would you like to give Spokal a spin for a free 14 day trial? If so, just head over to and sign up for our free trial. I’m sure you’ll like what you see, and if you want to get your clients set up on Spokal, you can earn 30% back in commission as an agency. Just like that, your client work becomes more efficient and more profitable.

Just hit reply if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Chris Mack
Co-Founder & CEO
1 888 470 5990

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Business Marketing Tools Explained: What Are Autoresponders?

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