An autoresponder is a software program that automatically sends a prewritten reply to anyone who uses your autoresponder address. It works 24/7 everyday of the year.
When you start an online business and your business begins to grow, you may find that using an autoresponder is essential.
Most successful online marketers look for ways to save time with multiple marketing tasks. Like thank you letters, newsletters, information on a product, orders, training courses, etc.
To save countless hours with these tasks, they will use an autoresponder to effectively handle all of their email campaigns.
There are several types of autoresponders one can use for their business. Choosing the right autoresponder depends on your current need and the type of email campaigns you will be implementing.
Paid Autoresponder Services:
Using this type of autoresponder is done through the Internet with a web-based company, which host your mail list on their server. You simply upload your prewritten mailings and choose the days you want them sent out. It is simple to set up and for the most part, they are considered very reliable.
There is a monthly fee, but you will find more features using this type of service than you will with some other autoresponders.
You will want to look for a web-based autoresponder that has the features to fit your business needs. Here are a few features to look for:
Unlimited Autoresonders: Lets you create as many mailing campaigns as you want.
List Management: You want an autoresponder that captures the name and email address and stores the contact information for you.
Unlimited Follow Up: A good autoresponder will have unlimited follow-ups you can use for your mailing list.
Tracking Features: Lets you know which mailing campaign gets the best response.
Unlimited Message Length: No limits on the length of your mailings.
Time/Date Features: To be able to set specific days for a multi promotion series/messages that you want sent to your mailing list.
Broadcast: Enables you to send out a message instantly to your entire mail list.
Personalize: This feature allows you to set your autoresponder to put your recipients name in the body of your email, as well as in the subject line.
Customer Support: Provides ongoing support by phone, email or fax.
Unsubscribe Management: This feature will automatically unsubscribe your viewer if they decide to be taken off your mail list.
Free Autoresponders Services:
Free autoresponder services work similar to a paid service but have fewer features. It’s important to understand that most of these services will place their advertisements in your messages.
Even though some companies may limit how many advertisements are used in your mailings, you may want to consider how professional your messages are going look.
Also consider that some free autoresponder services are sending your replies with 3rd party advertisements as well.
If you feel that this type of service would fit your business needs, look for companies that limit the amount of ads and do not allow 3rd party advertisements. You can go to any major search engine to perform a search for one that may work for you.
Web Host Autoresponders:
If you are using a paid web host for your website, you will most likely find that they offer you a free autoresponder.
A web host autoresponder has limited features, as they only provide the basic autoresponder function of sending one reply to a message sent.
There are no follow-up messages that can be sent and you do not have the option to capture the list of names that replied to your autoresponder.
This is not to say that there are no benefits with this type of mailing program. You can use it for people who request information, a copy of an article, thank you messages, etc.
If you have a mailing that only needs to go out once without a follow-up, than using a web host autoresponder may work for you.
Check with your current web host to see what options they offer. If it doesn’t fit the business needs you have, move on to an autoresponder that will.
This form of an autoresponder is a software that you purchase and install on your computer.
The software will give you more flexibility than a web host autoresponder, but you need to understand its advantages and disadvantages.
Set up is basically easy and there are no monthly fees to pay.
With this software you will have many options to make your business work on autopilot. From unlimited follow up replies, time/date delay features, capturing the list of names that replied to your autoresponder and building a client database.
The drawbacks in using this type of software are; you need to be connected to the Internet for it to work. If one were to send an email to your autoresponder address and you were not online, they would not receive your autoresponder message until you were connected. One solution to this problem is having a T1, DSL or Cable line and leaving your system on.
Understand that it would be up to you to maintain your list of addresses and back up your files on a regular basis.
CGI Script Autoresponders:
CGI script autoresponders can be extremely reliable and effective providing you have total understanding of a few basic principles of installing one.
This type of autoresponder is installed on your web host server (rather than on your own computer) and you need to know the ins and outs of installing the script.
Before you buy a CGI Script, check to see that your current web host server meets the requirements that are needed to run the software. This step is a must or you can be wasting your time and money.
Another possible drawback to using this type of autoresponder is going to be the reliability of your current web host server. Do they have little to no down time? If your web host server is down, so is your autoresponder.
Some of the advantages of in using a CGI script is there are no monthly fees and you don’t have to worry about maintaining and backing up files. Your web host server will take care of this task along with your website files.
Most scripts have added features you can implement to save you time. List management, date/time delay, unlimited follow-ups, text recognition and many more.
by – John Kovacs
John Kovacs is the CEO and founder of “A Home Business O