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                               Why You Need Autoresponder

Anything that saves you time and effort in running your virtual corporation is worth having, and

autoresponders are a huge timesaver. You may have seen advertisements for programs that

promise to get you rich quick and make money while you sleep. Most of them are scams, but

they are based on a powerful tool that really can make more money for you if you learn to use it

properly: autoresponders.

An autoresponder is an e-mail based program that does exactly what its name suggests: sends

out an automatic response when an e-mail is received. Nearly every successful online business

uses autoresponders to achieve and maintain a big-time image without spending a fortune or

lifting a finger. You’ve probably seen autoresponders at work if you’ve ever signed up for an

e-zine, newsletter, or other electronic mailing list. The instant you send a message to the

subscription address, you receive a reply with either a welcome message or a request to

confirm your subscription by clicking a link. Most list-building software comes with built-in

autoresponders, and many web hosts are now offering autoresponder options for the custom

e-mail addresses they come with.

When you set up an autoresponder, you don’t have to make delivery instantaneous.

Autoresponders allow you to preset a series of messages to be delivered on a timed basis to

each address it receives: you can send out several messages once a day, every other day,

once a week, or even once a month. This makes autoresponders great tools for marketing and

newsletter delivery.

How to Use Them
What should you use an autoresponder for in your business? The possibilities are endless.
Following are just a few examples of the many uses for autoresponders.

        Frequently asked questions. Most web sites have an extensive FAQ, or Frequently

          Asked Question section. Many people don’t want to bother searching through them to

          find what they’re looking for. You can create a shorter version of the most popular

          FAQs about your company for visitors to request from your home page.

        “More information.” How many times have you seen this: “For more information on

          this fine product or service, e-mail info@thiscompany.com”? Use an autoresponder to

          capture e-mail addresses and provide customers with a compelling sales letter about

          your product or service. People are more likely to read an e-mail with detailed product

          information than they are to read long blocks of text on your web site. Be sure to

          include links to your ordering page in your information letter.

        Newsletters and e-zines. Using autoresponders is a great way to manage

          subscription lists for newsletter and e-zines. You can keep all your contact e-mail

          addresses in one place, allowing you to send your newsletter as well as occasional

          updates and special offers. If you write your newsletters ahead of time, you can

          simply plug them in to an autoresponder, set the delivery date, and forget about it so

          you can concentrate on other things.

        Free promotional giveaways. One great way to gain exposure for your business is

          providing your potential customers with valuable free information. You can generate

          articles, article series or even e-courses pertaining to your business and set them up

          for timed autoresponder delivery. The owner of Flowers Forever might write a series

          of articles explaining the best way to grow and maintain an indoor garden. Just as

          with your sales letter or newsletter, be sure to include special offers that are only

          available to people who request your article or e-course as well as links to your

          ordering pages.
        Viral marketing. With any message you send out from your autoresponder, you can

          include an incentive for people to spread the word about your product or service. You

          can offer a free gift, such as an exclusive e-course or a sample of your product or

          service, for anyone who passes along your sales letter, newsletter issue or article to a

          certain number of friends, usually ten or more. Viral marketing can be a rapid and

          powerful tool for expanding your business across the internet.

        Product delivery. If your product is in an electronic format, such as an e-book or

          audio file, you can set an autoresponder to deliver the product instantly upon receipt

          of payment. This saves you a lot of time in fulfilling orders and ensures every product

          is delivered promptly.

        Order confirmation and follow-up. Even for physical products or services, you can

          use an autoresponder to instantly confirm to a customer that their order has been

          received and will be acted upon. For order confirmation, you can set up a

          two-message delivery: instant confirmation, and a follow-up thank you message timed

          for arrival a few days after you anticipate order fulfillment. Following up with

          customers is a great way to ensure repeat business and project a big image.

Aside from the built-in autoresponders that come with many list management services and web

site packages, there are companies specializing in autoresponder technology. Autoresponder

services range in price, and are generally either free or billed monthly. Free autoresponders

often include banner ads, but you can find a company that will use small, unobtrusive ads

relating to your product or service. Paid autoresponders generally offer far more features and

unlimited numbers of preset, timed messages.

If you plan to rely heavily on autoresponders to run your business, you should consider

investing in a paid autoresponder service. The time you save when your company practically

runs itself will be worth every penny.

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