Kim Avery Coaching

What Is an Autoresponder?

by | 8 comments

So just what is an autoresponder, anyway? Unfortunately, like so many things, the answer is “It depends.”

Technically speaking, an autoresponder is exactly what it says. It is a system that delivers an automated response. Your out of office message, for example, is an autoresponder. But when we are talking about marketing, an autoresponder is much more than that.

In many email/newsletter services, there are three basic types of autoresponders:

  1. The confirmation message
  2. The welcome message
  3. The autoresponder series

When you sign up for something on a website (like the giveaway Kim has in the sidebar), clicking the submit button triggers a series of events.

First, the signup box itself is linked to a specific list inside the newsletter service account. Your name is added to that list.

The Confirmation Message

The list owner can choose to let you be added directly to the list (single opt-in), or to have a confirmation email sent (double opt-in). The double opt-in process does seem to eliminate a lot of spam email addresses, but it also may keep some real people off your list because they might not click the link in the confirmation email that they receive.

That confirmation email is technically an autoresponder, because it is sent out automatically, triggered by the sign-up process. And once the recipient clicks the link, they are added to the list.

The Welcome Message

The next type of autoresponder is what I call the welcome message. Most newsletter services will allow you to configure an email that is automatically sent when someone is added to the list (either directly or after clicking the confirmation link in the first email).

Many newsletter services will let you have several lists with a separate welcome message for each list. This is helpful if your niche has several different segments, or if you have different niches but want to use the same account.

Other services will allow you only one welcome message that must be used over all your lists. Do your research!

The Autoresponder Series

The third type of autoresponder is the series. And here’s how it works.

You prepare in advance a series of messages to be sent out at predetermined intervals. Maybe every day for five days. Or every other day for two weeks. Or once a week for six weeks. Or every day for a year.

When someone signs up, they begin to receive the messages, in order, at the intervals you set up. Once it is set up, you don’t have to do anything.

I like this because the possibilities are endless!

For example, instead of giving away an eBook as your free offer, you could give away an eCourse. Maybe something like “7 Steps from Overwhelmed to Overcomer.”

Or maybe you give a series of parenting workshops and have developed some materials. You could create an eCourse and sell it, having each lesson delivered through your autoresponder series.

Or maybe you’ve taught a Bible study and have the lessons recorded. Package them with your handouts and provide them weekly with your autoresponder series.

Or perhaps you want to set up a 30-Day Challenge and send an encouraging note or Scripture each day.

Your Assignment

And now I have two assignments for you…

First, if you haven’t signed up for Kim Avery’s Free eBook yet, do that now — at the top of the sidebar. Pay attention to the process and see what happens. Can you identify the autoresponder pieces?

And second, leave me a message in the comments section about how you are currently using an autoresponder series, or what ideas this post sparked. I need some fresh inspiration, too!

8 Comments

  1. Pam Taylor

    Susan, I love the #3 use you mentioned above…the autoresponder series because I can write a bunch of things to be sent out at various intervals and then you, as my V.A. set it up so they go out at the intervals we have decided upon. On my website homepage I offer a series of 10 parenting tips that go out every few days via autoresponder. They have to sign up for it. That adds people to my mailing list. And currently we set up a series of 4 weekly posts…leading up to a book study using one of Kim’s books.

    Susan, I love these “bite-sized” tips you send out. Just enough…:-)

    Reply
    • Susan Fleming

      Hi Pam ~ I love that you are catching the vision! Yes, the autoresponder series is a powerful tool for any coach to have because there are so many things you can do with it.

      And I’m glad you are enjoying the bite-sized tips!

      Reply
  2. Pam Taylor

    I forgot to mention that I did both assignments. 🙂

    Reply
    • Susan Fleming

      Good girl! I knew you would 🙂

      Reply
  3. Lisa Thompson

    I use Aweber and have gotten a fairly good handle on it. But, since I haven’t started blogs and newsletters I haven’t researched it… how do they get sent out to your list?

    Reply
    • Susan Fleming

      Hi Lisa ~ You can set up an RSS feed for your blog, which allows people to sign up to receive the blog post either in their email or in a “Reader.”

      As far as sending out your blog as a newsletter, many people put excerpts of their blog posts in their newsletters (for you that would be through Aweber), and then link back to the particular page on the website. You have lots of options!

      Reply
  4. Lisa Thompson

    Thanks Susan! I’ve decided for various reasons not to set up RSS on my website. My optin is already going out without any problems. If/ when I do blog (haven’t decided if this is a great use of my time yet for many reasons) it will actually be taking the form of a newsletter probably. So, sounds like I need to dig into Aweber more and figure that out.

    Reply
    • Susan Fleming

      Sounds like you’ve thought it through and have a plan, Lisa. Good for you. Often it is more about making a plan and then working it than grabbing onto everything that’s possible.

      Reply

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