PostHeaderIcon Email Autoresponders

Online marketing may be all about SEO and social networking, but much of the business still runs on an older method: email marketing. Basically the digital equivalent of direct mail, email marketing works by delivering content directly into a subscriber’s inbox. It’s fast, cost-efficient, and easily customizable—all the things that make up a good marketing approach.

Most email marketing efforts make use of autoresponders—automated messages and replies sent to users to generate leads or encourage return visits. This is especially useful for businesses with a large customer base, or those that do business internationally. If you’ve used the Internet at all in the last few years, you may have received such messages yourself, whether it’s from a local store you gave your email address to or a website you signed up for.

You may also have noticed that not all email autoresponders are effective. For one thing, most of them are obviously canned—they don’t sound personal at all and the content has little to do with your interests.  This is because most of them are sent by programs designed to do everything for you, from keeping your database to generating your messages to providing customer support. But as any successful entrepreneur knows, it’s never a good idea to leave it all up to a bunch of beeping machines. You need an autoresponder that doesn’t just dump messages into people’s inboxes, but also makes sure they are received and are relevant to the receiver’s interests.

For the most part, this means you will have to put some effort into your own email marketing. Start by getting to know your audience yourself. You can do this by reading forums or reading people’s comments on relevant news clips or blogs. This will give you a feel of what kind of content and service they expect from a business like yours, which you can use to generate auto-responses that reach out to the reader and don’t sound canned.

Of course, you’ll also need an efficient program to do the menial work, such as sending out emails and performing analytics. Some programs, such as InfusionWork, offer email autoresponders as part of a larger service, so it may be useful if you’re running a large or long-term campaign. For smaller businesses, more specialized software such as AWeber and GetResponse may be more than enough. Do your research, try a few services yourself, and decide which programs can best suit your needs.

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