Email Marketing Via Autoresponders
by Terry Williams

The most valuable asset of the online marketer is, "Time!"  Time's an asset, that for the most part, is taken for granted.  It's invisible, odorless, tasteless and something that goes  unnoticed, until you begin to run out of it and learn how  much it truly costs! 

The key to becoming a successful online marketer lies in the  ability to accomplish multiple, or redundant, marketing tasks  at the same time. Wouldn't it be nice to have a clone, sitting  next to you, sending out sales letters, welcome and thank you   letters, order confirmation letters or any other email tasks you  deem necessary? Well, you can have just that, and it's called  an autoresponder. 

Let's begin by taking a moment and explaining what an  autoresponder is. 

"An autoresponder is simply a program that runs through  an email program that's designed to automatically respond  to any email message sent to it with a pre-determined  response, usually a sales letter, to the email address of the   person who originated the response." 

Autoresponders are also known as mailbots, automatic email  and email on demand. Autoresponders were fashioned from the  huge success of fax on demand used in the offline marketplace. 

Autoresponders are becoming a very popular tool in the online  marketers toolbox and it's my belief that autoresponders can  increase your profits by as much as 20-25%. The advantages  of autoresponders far outweigh any disadvantages of utilizing   this powerful tool. 

So let's take a look at autoresponders and their essential  components, the advantages and also the disadvantages of  utilizing autoresponders.

Essential Components

Not all autoresponders are created equal. There are  thousands of companies online that offer an autoresponder  service and there are just as many options and pricing   structures. Here's my list of the essential components you'll  need to make sure your autoresponder service offers to ensure  your autoresponder is an effective online marketing tool and a  valuable partner in your online business. 

Autoresponder Naming:
You'll need to be able to have quite a bit of flexibility in the  naming of your autoresponders. In order to have an effective  advertising campaign, you'll need to be able to track the responses to your advertisements. Utilizing the naming feature allows you to have complete control over your online marketing and advertising efforts. Make sure you have a wide array of options available in naming your autoresponder. You want to be able to name your autoresponder something that pertains to your product or business and also for tracking your advertising effectiveness. 

Autoresponder Length:
Make sure you select an autoresponder service that offers unlimited length for the text of your autoresponders. This may seem like a bit of overkill but this gives you the flexibility when preparing your sales materials. There's nothing worse than having to cut down a successful sales letter to fit the autoresponder. 

Autoresponder Free/Unlimited Updates:
Make sure you select an autoresponder service that offers free and unlimited updates or changes to your autoresponders. In the online marketing world you absolutely need the flexibility to be able to provide up to date product information to your prospects and clients. Charges for changes to your autoresponders adds up very quickly! You need to have total control and be able to add, remove or change your documents as many times as you wish, yourself, without having to pay any extra for doing this. 

Autoresponder Keywords:
Many autoresponder services require your prospects to put a keyword into the subject line or message body. Your potential customers may simply forget or mistype something and they'll never receive your document. Make sure to choose an autoresponder service that doesn't require the use of keywords. 

Receipt Notification:
This is vital to your follow up efforts. This is simply an email notification sent to you that someone has requested information from your autoresponder. It provides the prospects email address and any of their comments inserted into the body of their email request. This is simply a must have option for any serious online marketer!

Advantages Of Autoresponders

Here are a few of the primary advantages of utilizing autoresponders in your online marketing and advertising efforts: 

This is why using autoresponders is vital to the success of your online business. We live in a now environment and the Internet only throws fuel on the fire. When we want information, we don't want to wait for days, hours or even minutes, we want it now! This is especially true when we're answering an online ad and requesting more information. A well written online advertisement will touch prospects emotions and elicit a response, requesting more information. When emotions are involved in the mix, it's essential as online marketers to respond with that additional information immediately. By doing this you'll get your sales message read in the best possible environment, by a hot prospect. This is exactly why I mentioned earlier that an autoresponder can increase your profits by 20-25%! 

It costs nothing for a prospect to look at your online advertisement and request more information. Unlike other advertisements that ask for a prospect to send a SASE or possibly $1-$2 for an additional report, it costs nothing to send an email. You're dealing with a base of approximately 75 million who have email access and since they usually have a single monthly rate, they're not paying for each email. So there is no cost for sending or receiving a single email message. 

Using With Your Web Site:
This is an excellent opportunity to provide a number of ways to integrate autoresponders into your online marketing strategy. A problem almost every webmaster faces is how to get vital information on the visitors to their web site, their visitors! You can get this vital information in an number of ways, such as, via guest books, online order forms, ezines subscriptions and especially by offering additional free information via an autoresponder. You can offer via autoresponder, updated price lists, product listings, or any other information you wish to distribute. When a visitor uses this "mailto" link they'll receive your marketing information and you'll capture their email address. 

It Automates Your Online Marketing:
As I mentioned earlier, time is a valuable and vital asset to every online marketer! Anything that an online marketer can do to automate daily tasks makes them even more effective. Using autoresponders is the easiest way to automate the selling process! If you don't have to spend hours going through your incoming email and manually sending out your replies. If you use autoresponders in your online advertising, your prospects will get the information they want immediately and you'll have be able to utilize your time for additional online marketing efforts. Now your marketing like the pro's and are essentially doing two things at the same time. Then once a day sort your requests in your follow up folders and you've just opened up a large chunk of time to use more productively.

Disadvantages Of Autoresponders

There are hardly no disadvantages of using autoresponders in your online marketing and advertising but here are a couple that might become minor disadvantages: 

Almost Impossible To Personalize Your Autoresponder:
Since you're basically mass marketing with your autoresponder you can't personalize each response. There are many services out there that do include a simple addition of the requesters email address in a hello line but it's still not personalized. You want to make sure you check the body of incoming autoresponder requests for any additional or specific requests for more information and reply to those as soon as possible. You can also tell your prospects that they are requesting information from your autoresponder in your advertisement which tells them that they are going to get immediate information from your autoresponder. 

Spammers Collect Your Autoresponder's Email Address:
When you begin marketing online you'll find that occasionally, your autoresponder's email address will get collected by the spider software used by those who collect and sale email addresses. Then an Internet newbie buys these email addresses and sends out their bulk email message and doesn't hide the email addresses, your autoresponder's email address is now exposed. Then an upset recipient sends his reply back to the originator of the spam by using their "reply to" button on their email program without deleting the laundry list of other email addresses. Your autoresponder sends your sales letter to the sender and they just think they were spammed by you too! Multiply this by 10 and can you see the possible disadvantage? This has happened to me. It's fairly easy to fix by emailing any of the recipients who complain to you and explain what happened when they send their reply to the entire list and you might add they could also be accused of spamming by their actions. This will usually do the trick. 

Autoresponder Resources 

Search Engines
You can always go to the search engines to find what you're looking for. Just use the search word "autoresponders" and you'll have enough resources to sort through to find the information you're looking for. 

For example, I did a search of the following search engines and here's the results: 

Infoseek: found 5,021 pages containing the word autoresponders.
AltaVista: About 1475 documents match your query.
HotBot: Breakdown: autoresponders: 11109.
Open Text Index: found 1,206 pages containing: autoresponders.
WebCrawler: Top 25 of 1353 for autoresponders

So you can see there's plenty of information out there. 

A Final Thought

You can take advantage of autoresponders in any number of ways. These are very powerful online marketing tools that increase your productivity, provide a means to automate tasks and free up your time, provide immediate information for your potential customers, provide customer service and can increase your profits. If your not currently utilizing this valuable asset in your online marketing and advertising your costing yourself
potential sales and creating more work. When you consider the cost for this resource, I think you'll agree that there isn't another online marketing tools that produces these benefit for the price. 

Good Luck and To Your Productive Online Marketing!

Excerpted From "Internet Marketing Issues" A Free Weekly
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Terry Williams, President of Terry Williams & Associates, is
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online marketing track and help you explode your online profits.
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