When to Use Autoresponders – and When Not To

Autoresponders can be a busy marketer’s best friend. These powerful, automated tools help you maintain top-of-mind for your business, one of the most important factors in cultivating long-term relationships with customers and prospects.

Autoresponders are also easy to use, and can save you a lot of time on your marketing tasks.
However, there are some situations where autoresponders are not only a bad idea, they can actually negatively impact your business, sacrificing subscribers and customers. Here are some of the best—and worst—practices for automating your email marketing.

Good ideas

  • Acknowledge the receipt of emails to customer service, billing, and other departments with a high degree of concern. Letting customers know that their message has reached you, and that you’ll be responding soon, increases their comfort level in doing business with you.
  • Follow up on every sale. An autoresponse to customer purchases is a great way to thank people for their business, ask for reviews, and solicit survey responses.
  • Automate notices of sales, discounts, special deals, and other promotions.
  • Easily manage a newsletter subscription base.
  • Create an email course for subscribers and prospects.

Personalize your marketing messages according to customer preferences.
No matter how personalized or friendly your autoresponder message, people will be able to tell that it’s an automated response. Honesty is the best policy here—don’t try to pretend you’re sending individual messages with an autoresponder.

Bad ideas

  • Sending autoresponder messages to your list every day. Your customers and prospects will quickly become annoyed and unsubscribe.
  • Using an autoresponder for nothing but canned marketing messages. Always offer something of value along with your sales pitches, such as free trials, discounts, or information people can really use.
  • Having automatic replies to customer service requests. It’s fine to set an autoresponder to acknowledge receipt, but don’t try to handle problems or complaints with an automated message.
  • Forgetting that you need fresh content, even with an autoresponder. If you keep using the same messages year after year, you not only risk outdated information, but may also alienate your long-term customers.

When used correctly, autoresponders can have a powerful impact on your bottom line. Just avoid annoying your customers and prospects, and remember to keep the content fresh!

 

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