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How to Use Autoresponders

Email autoresponders are the most powerful tool to automate the process of marketing products online, and in fact to do business online in general. As I found when I started online, however, there is more agreement about the need to use autoresponders than there is on the specifics of how to use them.

As on virtually any topic related to online business, it is possible to go into great detail about how to use autoresponders. In fact, when a person gets serious about their Internet business, this kind of detail is necessary to separate yourself and your business from the casual users who aren't serious about the use of autoresponders to really make serious money. If you are to that "make serious money" stage or want to get there, you need to check out my comprehensive resource on how to choose and use autoresponders.

However, there is a place for a discussion of a more general nature on the use of autoresponders. To state what may be obvious to some and completely new to others, email autoresponders are special email addresses that return a pre-stored message or set of messages in response to any email sent to the autoresponder address. Autoresponders are are available over a range of costs and come in different forms. A moment's thought begins to reveal the power of this concept to provide information on any topic to anyone, anywhere, instantly and automatically. With that briefest of introductions, what are the uses of autoresponders?

General Information Dissemination

Anybody that has information they want to be instantly available to anyone else might well use an autoresponder, since many are available for free. It could be information about a product you are interested in. It could be instructions on how to use or repair a product that you have. It could be an article about how to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Anything that can be be put into text (and with HTML email, pictures or drawings also) can be sent by autoresponder.
 

Building An Opt-in Mail List

Just as a brick-and-mortar business loves to build a happy clientele that keeps coming back to buy again and again, so online business want to build relationships with visitors as well as customers so they will keep coming back. Physical stores may ask their customers to provide their name for a store mailing list which alerts them to special sales, etc. The online mailing list is even more important than the physical counterpart, because there isn't an online equivalent to driving down the street and noticing a "Sale" sign in the window of your favorite store. For an online business to compete and survive, it is virtually necessary for the owner to build an email list of people who have willingly given their names, with the expectation that they will be advised about things they are interested in. Building this list can be done several ways, but an autoresponder or email list program with autoresponder functions is usually the tool of choice. You need to be careful, of course, in selecting the autoresponder for this purpose. Some are much better suited to do it than others.
 

Following Up With Visitors

So you have an opt-in email list started. What do you do with it?  A list of names isn’t much good unless you follow up with them about your product offerings. Obviously the basic autoresponder function of responding to e-mail messages isn’t of much value here. You need a function that can send follow-up messages to addresses you already have. And that is one of the additional functions of a good autoresponder or an e-mail list program. It is often called the ‘broadcast’ function for obvious reasons – a message is broadcast to all the addresses in the list at once. Again, not all autoresponders allow this function, and some do it better than others.
 

Multi-part Courses

Offering multi-part courses is one of several methods to attract visitors to your site. The course establishes you as an expert in some field - even if you aren't! Any good information source can be broken down into several parts and placed in autoresponder follow-up messages, to be sent at whatever interval you choose. This approach is often used as a sales tool. When the student gains confidence in you through the information you have provided, you can then present your product (hopefully related to the course material) and hopefully gain a sale. You can advertise your free course anywhere on the Internet. Included in your instant or follow-up message would be an invitation to join your opt-in list. Do you get the idea of the power of offering a free course?
 

Basic Sales

Studied have shown that you need to present your product before a potential customer several times to increase the likelihood of making a sale. To do that, you want to give the potential customer a good reason to send his/her e-mail address. Since he/she may not have enough interest simply to ask for more information about your product, you will want to offer some incentive, like a free gift or service. Whatever the method, you want to get the potential customer into your autoresponder message sequence, then, in those messages, send your customer to your web site to make the sale.
 

Customer Support

This is a large topic. If you are selling information products, you may want to use autoresponders as the product delivery method. You can provide after-sale support information such as FAQs (frequently asked questions), thank-you messages, request for testimonials, etc. There is really no limit other than your imagination to the uses that autoresponders can provide in supporting your customer.

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