Monday, June 29, 2009

What an Autoresponder Can Do For Your Online or Offline Business

by Cary Ganz

The Internet is only predictable if you follow some simple but very important rules. Using the appropriate autoresponder to stay in touch with your customers or subscribers is just one of these rules. Obey it and it will provide great returns for years to come.

Now, that may seem to be a real simple requirement but in reality it can prove to be a daunting task. Since the Internet is such a 'non-personal' environment; a difficult place to create warm and cuddly personal and/or business relationships, it is up to the individuals involved to use whatever tools are available to assist in the rather time consuming and sometimes overwhelming task.

There is a challenge in staying in touch with all of your customers/subscribers, both online or offline, without wasting lots of time at the keyboard. The answer lies in autoresponders.

Autoresponders, in their most simple form, are a means of sending a sequence of planned emails (or newsletters etc.) to a specific opted in list(s) of subscribers on a timed basis.

When selecting an autoresponder there are ten things you need to understand:

1. Simplicity - to stay in touch with your customers you need a simple way to create that personal relationship. Whatever system you choose it needs to be simple to use and easy to maintain. I would suggest that online systems are far more convenient due to the ability to access them anywhere at anytime, even if you're away from your home or business computer.

2. Cost Effectiveness - there are lots of way to create relationships but many of them, like hiring a public relations firm or using some form of direct 'snail' mail, are very costly and beyond the limits of a new or intermediate business owner. Most autoresponders are either a one time purchase of a monthly subscription.

3. Predictability - whatever means you choose, you need to be sure that the message gets through in a timely manner.

4. Automation - time is money in any business. Doing the same task over and over just doesn't make either personal or business sense when you can develop systems to do it for you. Automating the process is the key to efficiency.

5. Convenience - when attempting to communicate with your customers, either on or offline, you need to be able to do it when you want to, where you want to and when you want to. You need to select a systems that doesn't limit your time and one that provides as few restraints as possible.

6. Track-ability - there is an old adage in marketing that states something like, "If it's worth doing, it's worth tracking!"Well, this may really not be an internet standard but in reality tracking what you do online or offline is really important to measure what is working and what is not working. Why waste loads of time and money on things that don't work?

7. Reliability - when you choose a system as important to handle customer relations, it needs to be reliable. Using a 'cheap' system although possibly cost effective may prove to be more expensive in the future when it fails to accomplish your goals.

8. Track Record - how long has this company been around? What is their percentage of downtime? What is their reputation? The reason this is so important is that once you have set up your list of autoresponder emails, you certainly don't want to have the company disappear from the marketplace and lose all that work.

9. Text and HTML: the autoresponder you select should have the capability of sending your email or newsletter in both text format and html. The reason for both is that many email clients (your subscriber's email program) will only accept text. Some will accept html and others will accept both. Since you don't know what your customer has, you need to be able to cover all of the bases.

10. Deliver-ability - email is a tough business. You need to be sure that whichever autoresponder you select has a high delivery rate and is not blocked due to high SPAM levels.

Conclusion: The use of autoresponders in the internet world is one of those concepts that has taken hold and is well entrenched in the lexicon of internet marketing. It is truly one of the most creative means of communicating with customers/subscribers on a constant basis with minimal time. minimal cost and exceptional effectiveness.

About the Author

Learn all about autoresponders with Cary Ganz's "Aweber Unleashed" http://bit.ly/BFLmB Cary Ganz Creator and Developer of The Newbie Phenomenon