By John Eberhard

An autoresponder is an automated email that goes out to someone after some action has been taken online, and will assist you with your Internet marketing. For example, you can have an autoresponder email go out to a person after they have:

  • Filled out an online form
  • Sent you an email for more information
  • Purchased something from you online

An autoresponder can be an HTML email, which means it can have graphics in it and links to pages on the web, just like a web page.

The value of an autoresponder email is that it goes out to a person right away, and can work for you in terms of selling your products or services, or selling additional products or services if they have already bought something.

Another way that autoresponders can be used is to send out a series of emails to the person after he has filled out a form online or whatever. For instance, you can send him one email right away when he fills out the form. Then another could go out to him two days later. Then email #3 could go out 4 days later, then email #4 goes out 7 days later, and so on. Your visitor’s action of filling out the form starts a timer, and he then gets the emails on a schedule starting at that point. You can make the time intervals whatever you want.

The value of a series of emails is that once you have done the work of writing them and setting them up, they do the work of selling the product or service for you automatically. This is especially valuable with lead generation campaigns, where you are getting someone to reach for some sort of free offer or for more information on the product or service.

Let’s say you are offering some kind of free report. It should be specifically on the topic of your product or service, so that you know virtually everyone asking for it will be qualified for whatever it is that you are selling. Well, your first autoresponder could go out to the person and thank them for responding, and give them a download link for the free report that they requested. In this way, the whole action of fulfilling the requests for the free report would be automated.

Then emails #2, 3, and 4 could all be written and designed to sell the product or service.

Meanwhile, your sales team would be calling them and starting the sales cycle with them. But while that’s happening they would also be getting these emails which would help the sales cycle along. And in the case where your sales team has a hard time reaching the person by phone, the emails still would be getting to him.

Another advantage of most autoresponder systems is that the contents of the form the person filled out online gets dumped into a database. That makes it easier to continue to market to these people, especially if they don’t buy right away.

How Does This Work?

There are online autoresponder services where you pay a monthly fee, and there are software packages you can buy where you set the whole thing up on a desktop computer. I have used both.

For an online service, I recommend Aweber (www.aweber.com). For $20 per month, you can set up as many different lists and autoresponders as you want. And their service makes it pretty easy to create the online forms for people to fill out. I use them with several of my clients.

For a desktop based software package, I recommend Promasoft Autoresponder (www.autoreplying.com). The basic package costs about $100 and you can set up as many autoresponders as you want. It is quite a bit more complicated to set up than Aweber, because you have to do a bit of programming. I am not a programmer, was able to figure it out, but it took a bit of work.

You can also get an experienced PHP programmer to set up this kind of functionality for you.

However you do it, adding an autoresponder will automate the response back to your leads, and will assist with your whole sales process.