The Autoresponder – 4 Reasons Why It Is The One Internet Marketing Tool You Should Never Be Without
When starting out with an Internet business you will probably try to cut costs, and that makes for good sense – after all, one way of maximizing your profit is to minimize your costs. But there are certain tools that you absolutely must have, and I'll tell you right up front, that the number one essential is an auto-responder.
In case you're not sure what an auto-responder is, it's an application that will help you capture the names and addresses of visitors to your website and simplify keeping in touch with them after they leave your site. There are two main scenarios:
- After they have made a purchase – in which case, so long as you have done a good job, they are qualified for further purchases if you send them newsletters.
- Before they make a purchase – because because they are undecided about purchasing, or they are interrupted or distracted from the buying process. If you remind them of their interest, you may convert that into a sale.
You can only keep in touch if you build a list of names and email addresses of (ideally) everyone who is interested enough to visit your site. Obviously you can not force people to leave their details, but if you do not give them the opportunity, chances are they'll leave contact details with someone else's site – and you have probably lost that prospect or sale for ever.
So how does the auto-responder help?
First, you just need to add a simple form to your website on which people can register. Say it quickly like that and it sounds so easy. Perhaps you are, or you know, a whiz-bang website coder and that's easy for you. Even after several years on-line this would be totally beyond my web design ability, if it were not for my auto-responder.
Second, you need to record the contact details you have collected so that you can keep in touch with your prospects and customers. It's wise to at least segment these into different categories, otherwise you run the risk of sending a discount offer to a customer who purchased at full price.
Third, you need to be scrupulous about honoring requests for removal from your list otherwise you could be accused of spamming and blacklisted.
Fourth, the auto-responder team will have all the resources and skills to improve your email's deliverability. If it does not arrive, it can not be read!
In my cost-cutting innocence I imagined I could manage these functions from an Excel spreadsheet. And I did – until my customer list hit about 100 and then it started to get out of control. Of course I only knew about customers; I had no idea about prospects. Those details never even made it onto my spreadsheet because I had never given them a chance to leave their information.
If from day 1 of my business I had implemented the use of an auto-responder to build lists of contacts, it would be in better shape now. Luckily I learned my lesson from a coaching course and have started adding name capture or squeeze pages (as they are called) to my main websites. I have already been rewarded with an increase in sales.
Even though I started this article with the implication that an auto-responder could be an essential cost , the good news is that there are very affordable and even free auto-responders available. You can also request free or low-cost trials of the best contenders on the market.
The one to choose is not a decision to be made lightly. A free system may turn out to be a false economy when your business is larger. Once you have made your choice, changing brands is a hassle you can do without.
However, whatever brand you decide to use, for the 4 reasons above, please do not be tempted to try building an online business without using an auto-responder to build your list.