Autoresponders – Handle With Care

When you start making some income and getting large amounts of email from your site, you will need to set up an autoresponder service – especially if you are going to use email as a marketing technique by building a list.

There are a number of excellent services out there  – AWeber is highly recommended by top marketers, Constant Contact and MailChimp are also great alternatives, but whichever you choose, there are a number of things you should be aware of.

You have to be very organized if you want to use your autoresponder effectively – it can do a lot of things to save you time, but carelessly constructed autoresponder messages can do more harm than good.

I get at least a hundred emails a day, mainly from other network marketers – I like to keep an eye on the business and I’m hungry for information. One thing many people do that annoys the crap out of me is sending out an email every day containing no helpful information at all, instead, every email contains a link to something they are an affiliate for. Every day they try to sell me something, and that means an unsubscribe from me after a few days.

When I sign up for someone’s list I use a variety of my first name and I can easily see who sold or gave my name to some other marketer to start another barrage of emails. I am never impressed when this happens, and everyone gets an unsubscribe.

The lesson here is to respect the people on your list. Emails are like articles and should contain quality information, not be a sales pitch for every Tom, Dick and Harry’s products that you couldn’t possibly have tried and tested in the space of 24 hours.

When you build your email copy, pay special attention to the header. There is an art to building a short, precise and interesting header for an email. I am not the only one that gets hundreds of emails a day. You want people to open your email, but without an eye-catching header it will be in the spam can unopened in a nanosecond.

Sending seasonal emails is a nice thought, but remember that your subscriber may be anywhere on this planet and have a different religion to you. You could alienate people with an email babbling on about Christmas. Don’t do it, “Season’s Greetings” is about as far as I would go and make sure at midnight on Christmas Day you change it. I had an email yesterday that had a huge 4th of July theme, great, but yesterday was July 12th and all that suggested to me was that the sender was lazy, forgetful or disorganized.

If you send out a monthly newsletter in October, for example about gardening, and you say “last month I showed you how to prune your roses properly”, the recipient may want to read that newsletter. Put a link in the email that sends the reader to an archive of your newsletters on your site, or he may get mad if he can’t easily find the information!

Think twice before you put dates on autoresponders. You never know when people will sign up and receiving an email that is dated six months ago may cause confusion. The same goes with any coupons you send out. Imagine if someone signs up specifically to get a valuable coupon, only to find it has expired. Doubtless they will send you an angry email or unsubscribe, feeling duped.

Please respect your reader’s time. We all suffer from information overload and if your email contains nothing of value, then you know where it will end up! Less is more in many instances, unless you are running a site about commodities trading or hot news topics, people will be happy to receive an email from you once or twice a week at most.

Do you have any other tips about what not to do when using an autoresponder service?  Please let us know and save a reader from a big mistake!

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