Subject: How To Use An AutoResponder.
How To Use An AutoResponder.
An AutoResponder is an essential tool to build
any business online. The reason you go into
business is to find and keep your customers.
An autoresponder will make this job so much
easier for you so you can work on marketing
There is a bit of confusion around the online
community surrounding autoresponders. Some people
think they are a piece of software for loading
email addresses into so you can then blast thousands
upon thousands of people your message and promote
Nothing could be further from the truth!
What they were designed for is to allow you to collect
the details of visitors to your web page. The way
you do this is by offering a gift in exchange for
the person’s name and email address. You can actually
collect a large number of details but on the first
visit you would not want to try to collect their
home address as you may not have much luck.
When the visitor completes this form they are
giving you consent to send them information
about your business and to deliver the gift that
you offered. An autoresponder is a tool that you
can have up to several hundred pre-written messages
stored to be delivered at pre-determined intervals.
This is a great way to build a relationship with
your future customers.
When someone opts into your list, usually they will
receive a message immediately, then several more a day
or two apart and gradually the messages will get further
apart up until they are around 1 week between mailings.
You will then be able to follow up with broadcast messages
every time you have a special offer for your list or some
content to pass on. The sole purpose is to create and
maintain interest in your prospect. Your list is your
customer base just like in an offline business.
Lets look at some other ways autoresponders can be used.
1. Training- When a customer buys your product or joins
your team you should be collecting their details. You
will provide them instructions to use the product or
train them to build their team if they have joined
2. Recruiting Affiliates- If you sell a product you
will find that your best affiliates will be a happy
customer. After you collect the details of your customers
you should be reminding them that you have an affiliate
program and that they can make some extra money referring
people to your website.
3. Delivering The Product- You can use the autoresponder
to deliver the digital product. You can add attachments
to the messages like any other email or simply send them
a link to the download page. Directly after the payment
page you will ask the customer to enter their details
so they can get the product delivered and be kept up to
date with software upgrades or whatever is applicable
to your product.
4. Reduce Refunds/Returns- After collecting your new
customers details you would send them at least one
unadvertised bonus. This would not be mentioned in
the sales page and means you would be ‘over-delivering’
on your product. Another method I have seen is offering
extra bonus products at say 15 or 30 days after the
sale. The autoresponder can handle this easily and
your refund rate should plummet if you can create
extra value in these bonus offers.
5. Promote Back End Products- It is a lot easier
to make a sale to someone who has brought from
you before. You have their trust and as long as
you recommend good products that make their life
easier or help them build their business this
be the easiest way to maintain your income.
There are many more including collecting
testimonials, checking up on your customers,
surveying your customers and more. I am sure
you would have just got your own idea after
reading this article and are ready to get your
own business on auto pilot by using an
Here’s a different way to look at the follow-up process, by using a flow chart outlining the various steps taken in the process.
This post goes into more detail on each of these steps, so refer back to the image to the right from time to time to see how each step relates to one another…
Step One – Collect Your Prospect’s Information
Your “prospect” enters their details into some type of opt-in form on your web site, or on a squeeze page. Good auto-responder software would be able to generate the HTML form codes needed for this step.
Usually you would only ask for the person’s name and email address, but other information (including custom questions) can also be requested. The Internet being global, I sometimes like to ask what country the person is from (only because I’m a sticky beak). Depending on your needs, you might want to collect all sorts of information to help segment (or break down) your list into different groups later on.
Just remember, the MORE you ask for, the more people are likely to NOT want to give it to you.
Give them too many hoops to jump through, or appear to be encroaching too much on their privacy, they’ll leave your opt-in form faster than a speeding bullet!
Once your prospect clicks the submit button on the opt-in form, their details are sent off to your mailing list management / auto-responder software…
And that starts a very interesting chain of events…
Step Two – The Confirmation Email and Instructions
While this step sounds like you’re making somebody jump through another hoop here, this “double opt-in process” is a necessity if you are to avoid any legal complications in relation to spam legislation in many countries. Double opt-in is often also a requirement of many of the commercial auto-responder services you might be using, as they too want to avoid spam complications caused by their clients.
So once it receives a subscription request, your software sends your prospect an email with instructions on what to do now – usually to click a link in the email to confirm their interest in your offer.
It should ALSO redirect their web browser to a web page you have prepared which ALSO explains to them what’s happening.
The objective here is to get the prospect to click on the link that is in their email to CONFIRM that it was really them who requested the information in the first place, and not somebody else playing silly games with their email address.
The “message” here should reinforce/remind them of the major benefit of confirming their subscription to your offer! A lot of people might have second thoughts about it at this stage, so this is an opportunity you should use wisely.
So if you can modify the initial email message, and the confirmation instruction page, I strongly recommend you do it!
If that confirmation link in the email is NOT clicked – NOTHING else happens!
The process should STOP at this point.
And, unless they fill out the form again, your prospect should NEVER receive another email from you! NOT even a “reminder” one saying
“Hey you forgot to confirm your subscription, so click this link again!”
Step Three – Subscription Confirmation
Once the prospect clicks the confirmation link in their email, it means they have “officially” given you permission to send them the information requested earlier.
Notice I said “information requested earlier“… This is a very grey area in the spam legislation, so be very careful with what you “do” with your subscribers once they have actually received the information your specified on your opt-in form.
Once it receives the “click”, your auto-responder software:
- Will record the subscribers details (IP address and date and time of subscription for spam/legal purposes), and
- Should then redirect the subscriber to the download or thank-you page * and let them grab their goodies, and
- Send out a “welcome” email, which should also include the address for the download/thank-you page, or provide further details of what is going to happen.
*Note: some people don’t set up the automatic redirects to the “personalised” instruction and thank-you pages mentioned above, instead lazily displaying just the “default” pages generated by the auto-responder software.
If possible, get this new relationship off to a more professional start!
Redirect to your OWN pages so you can clarify exactly what you want your subscriber to do.
Depending on your target audience, your thank-you page MIGHT possibly provide a good opportunity to throw in an OTO (One Time Offer) or present a teaser for a related product they could be interested in purchasing. This is something that testing will help determine whether it will work for you or not.
Step Four – The Auto-Responder Sequence
Here’s where your follow-up fun really begins!
Your auto-responder software can now automatically send each prospect a series of emails at regular intervals.
You could have 5, 10, 30 or even 99 (or maybe even MORE) messages “pre-loaded” into an auto-responder sequence, to send out to your new prospects over the next few days, weeks or even months.
While getting thirty or more email messages ready in advance to plug into this system is going to take a fair bit of time to plan and to write, it is well worth the effort.
The timing between each of these messages is something you should put some very serious thought into, and is something that is/will be discussed elsewhere on this site.
It’s quite exciting to realise that at any one time, you could have a whole heap of subscribers, all receiving totally different messages from you, based on how many days since they first subscribed.
And it all happens automatically!
Important: Run your own email address through the sequence FIRST, just to make sure everything works as it should!
Step Five – The Broadcast Message
What happens if you have an important “announcement” or timely “promotion” you want to tell everyone about, all at the same time?
Whenever you want to blast out a message to everyone, that’s when you use the broadcast message feature of your auto-responder software.
This allows you to send an email to everyone on your list, regardless of where they might be up to in the sequence.
Some of the more advanced auto-responder services allow you to send a broadcast message to just a part of your list, using what’s called list segmentation. So if you feel you might need to collect custom information when people sign up, to send out different broadcast messages to segments of your list… then look for that feature when shopping around for your auto-responder service.
Alternatively, set up different lists which target the different groups of people you want to talk to.
Important: Send a TEST MESSAGE to yourself FIRST to make sure the email is formatted properly and the merges and links all work!
So that’s it… that’s how the auto-responder process works.
Provided you follow each of the above steps every time you set up an auto-responder sequence… you’ve got more than the basics covered. Each time you develop a new auto-responder sequence, check it against the diagram shown earlier… just to make doubly sure you’ve got the “flow” right.
And you WILL develop many more than just one sequence!
You will be working on setting up more than just one “list”.
In reality, you’ll end up with a whole heap of different lists, depending on the different offers you make to your prospects. You could easily end up with 10, 20 or more, “little” lists with varying numbers of subscribers in each one.