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Email Marketing Via Auto-responders          Print the current page
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%.

So let's take a look at autoresponders and their essential components.

* Essential Components
Not all autoresponders are created equal. 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:

* Speed
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%!

* Cost
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 you're 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.

However, It's 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.

(Note from Smartbot Proprietor, Sanford Wallace: Autoresponder technology has advanced since this article was written. You should never settle for an autoresponder that does not personalize the response! Furthermore, the author of this article didn't mention the ever-so-powerful automatic followup features that are now available to online marketers.)

* 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 you're 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.