How To Use Email Autoresponders To Automate Your Business
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I had just finished reading an ebook about marketing automation when I opened my inbox to find 5 email messages from someone named Jeff. All had been sent within minutes of each other.
Curious, I read them. The first was feedback on one of my ezine marketing ecourses. The others were confused notes from someone surprised to be receiving the same message from me repeatedly.
In the last one, Jeff had written:
“Why do you send the same thing again? I wonder if I am missing the written message somewhere, or if you may have fainted with your finger on the send button. Wake up!”
For a moment I scratched my head, puzzled.
Then it dawned upon me. Jeff was replying to my auto-responder email address, and not realizing that he was receiving an automated email message, he was actually replying to each one!
Not if you’re in Jeff’s place. It seems like marketing automation gone awry. You’re wondering if there’s a maniac at the other end of your email, hitting back at anything you send with a canned email note…
And the harder you respond, the faster s/he replies!
It can not only be scary, done incorrectly, marketing automation can also become quite a nuisance. That’s why I’m writing this article – to talk about autoresponders, how they can be used intelligently in your marketing automation – or stupidly, too.
What is an auto-responder?
It’s nothing but a computer program written in such a way that when any email message is sent to an auto-responder address, it sends out a reply to that address with a message that can be pre-written by the owner of the auto-responder.
Let’s take an example of marketing automation. Say you’re going out of town on a holiday, and will be back after 2 days. In the meantime, you want to inform any clients who might need your help and contact you during this time.
You can set up an auto-responder for your email, and have it say:
“Hi. I’m away from the office for a couple of days. I’ll be back Monday.
In the meantime, if you need to contact me urgently, call me at 999-000-110.”
When anyone writes to you at this email address, your auto-responder will automatically reply with this message. That’s smart marketing automation. Imagine how much trouble this could save you?
Many businesses use auto-responders to handle their correspondence. By setting up different emails to send out auto-responses about various things like advertising material, prices, working hours, product inventory, staff contact details, branch offices – even the latest special offers – they can avoid delays in responding to routine customer queries. This kind of marketing automation translates into better customer relationships.
Think of it as a sales person or representative who is on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Introducing ‘Smart’ Autoresponders
Used intelligently, auto-responders can be powerful business and marketing automation tools, saving you hours of time and wear-and-tear on your typing fingers!
And it gets even better – because now you can have autoresponders that can be pre-programmed to send out a series of email messages at intervals of your choice, to everyone who signs up to it.
This means, without lifting a finger after setting it up, you can have a sequence of messages sent out to your email subscribers – and use this to build a relationship with your audience.
The best part of it all is that the entire process is automated. Marketing automation unleashed! You don’t have to do anything!
Like all powerful tools, the use of follow-up autoresponders demands a certain degree of caution. But the advantages of using one in your business are well worth the trouble of learning how to do it right.
How To Boost Sales Using Autoresponders
The bottom line to selling a niche product or service online is you need to get as many unique visitors to your sales page as possible. There’s no doubt about it. The more people who visit your sales page, the more money you make.
But how do you get more people to your website?
There are many different ways of increasing the amount of traffic to your website, but every single one of them fail because they only get your sales message in front of them once.
You spend all that time and effort getting them to your sales page, they have a quick look round and they are gone… Perhaps you caught them at a bad time, they might have been in a rush, or they might not have had any spare cash, or they were simply in a bad mood.
It doesn’t matter because they didn’t buy your product or service, you missed the sale. And that’s where marketing automation can come to the rescue.
What if there was a way to get your sales message in front of your website visitors not once, but many times? A system which will regularly call attention your product?
Enter The Autoresponder!
Fortunately for you there is such a marketing automation system and it’s easy to install and operate.
It’s a utility called an autoresponder. Not the same system you can setup with your email account that tells anybody who sends you a message that you’ve gone on holiday or whatever. A smart follow-up email autoresponder is a system which can send unlimited individual and unique messages to your website visitors at any interval you desire.
When your prospective customer visits your website, you present them with an irresistible free offer in exchange for their name and email address. This could be a bit of free valuable information related to your product, or it could be another useful report or product on a similar theme to yours.
Once they have signed up for your free gift, you send them a series of messages spaced a few days apart and offer them even more useful (free) information with links back to your sales page.
If they find your messages interesting and useful there’s a very good chance at least some prospects will decide to buy your product to get even more value. All of this happens hands-free through marketing automation.
Autoresponders Keep Boosting Your Sales
Don’t think it all stops there… They are still subscribers to your list; they still expect to receive interesting and useful information from you, so give it to them.
With marketing automation, you can continue sending emails to your list of subscribers at regular intervals.
The key is not to inundate them with advertisements. Send them useful and relevant information in every email and place a link to other products of yours or join a few affiliate programs and offer those products.
In this way, you can make sales to this same audience over and over – for many years!
Setting Up Your Autoresponder
To set up marketing automation with an autoresponder and make this happen in your information business, you have three options:
1) Join a free autoresponder. A search on any search engine will get you a list of many free autoresponders, but there is a price to pay… Many free autoresponders will display their own advertising messages at the top of each email sent out by them. This message detracts from your message and considerably reduces your emails effectiveness.
2) Join a paid autoresponder service. Again a search on any search engine will get you a list of autoreponders to join, but there is one factor which can greatly affect the delivery rate of emails sent out…
Many paid autoresponders are used by spammers and most email service providers will block emails sent from these autoresponders. Unfortunately this risk of marketing automation is not widely known and obviously the people supplying the autoresponders don’t make this information public.
Before you join any paid autoresponder service find out how they guarantee email deliverability. If they don’t do anything, or won’t answer you, don’t use their service.
3) Purchase and install your own autoresponder script. This is the option many Internet marketers opt for as it gives them complete control over their email marketing automation efforts, but they also have to deal with spam complaints themselves.
If you join a reputable paid service, the autoresponder provider will ensure all your lists are double opt-in which means every subscriber has to confirm their subscription, any spam complaints from subscribers to your autoresponders are handled by them.
When it comes to incorporating any of these autoresponder options, the service or script providers offer extensive documentation explaining how to get your autoresponder set up and working properly and handle your marketing automation.
How to Grow Business Using Autoresponders
The aim of a sales page on a website is to give your customers only two options – buy your product or leave your website.
Why let them leave without giving yourself another chance to sell to them?
You don’t have to…
As part of your business strategy, you can set up a marketing automation system which will give you many opportunities to sell your product or service to each single visitor to your sales page.
The secret is to use an autoresponder, which is an email utility you can use to save the contact details of your visitors, and then to send your prospective buyers more emails at pre-set intervals.
Irrespective of whether you use a third party service or your own script for marketing automation, you will have to use a form to collect and store your visitors contact details. This form can be built into any HTML web page, be it your sales page, or a page designed specifically for use as a popup.
The underlying concept behind the use of autoresponders for marketing automation is that people rarely buy on their first visit to a website. Research has shown that most people need repeated contact with an advertising message before they respond to it and purchase the product or service.
Autoresponders were designed for just this. You can load a series of advertising messages into your autoresponder and adjust it to send the messages at periodic intervals. That said, people react badly to advertising – in fact most people just plain ignore advertisements.
Learn How To Sell Without Selling!
To get round this, you have to design your marketing automation email series so that it is not perceived to be advertising. A good way to do this is to design your email series to include plenty of useful information; give your subscribers some good quality free information in each email and weave your advertisement into it.
For example, let’s assume you are selling an e-book titled “101 Dieting Tips”. You could create a series of 7 emails, each containing a single dieting tip. At the end of each email you could inform the reader about your e-book containing 101 tips – and include a link to your sales page.
The bottom line is the content you include in your marketing automation email series must be of good quality, and contain something of value to your readers.
Nobody is going to sign up for your email series just because you write it, or you include good content. In truth visitors to your website aren’t interested in you, they are interested in themselves. They have a problem they are trying to solve, and that’s why they ended up on your website; they thought they could find a solution there.
Another point worth considering is you are a relative unknown to the person visiting your website; they don’t know you or trust you. It’s because of this lack of trust that many people won’t buy your product or service on their first visit. If you can get them to subscribe, your email series should help build up trust to the point where they will buy your product or service.
Your Autoresponder Opt-In Form
First you have to get them to subscribe into your marketing automation system, and you do this by advertising that you are giving away “free” tips which will help solve their problem.
Your opt-in form must be prominently displayed on your sales page. You should also design a popup form that displays your registration form either when people first get to your site, or when they leave.
Finally, a properly designed opt-in form which causes many of your website visitors to subscribe to your information series will incorporate these three design tips:
1) Use a headline, in a larger font and of a different color to the rest of the form, which includes a major benefit. In other words, in as few words as possible, explain the biggest benefit your visitor will receive from subscribing to your information series.
2) In as few words as possible explain two or three additional benefits your reader will receive from subscribing to your opt-in list. A list of bullet points is the best way to do this.
3) Your primary objective is to get your visitor to join your opt-in list, so ask them to subscribe. Get into the conversation going on inside their mind, use words like “Yes! Send Me the Tips Now!” on the submit button of your form.
In a future post, we’ll discuss the specifics of crafting compelling follow up email messages for use in your autoresponder sequence. In the meantime, if you haven’t already signed up for an email autoresponder account, please get one right away and start building your prospect list.
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