If you are, then I want to help you make the right choice as I consider this to be very important. Why? The reason is because after I started building a list and having all the accustomed auto-response sequences placed on a certain service, the pain to move it to another service will be really tremendous. Such an option could cost you money and time, let alone the headache of possibly asking the whole list of people to opt-in again in your new service.
So in this article, I want to explain briefly all the available options that you may want to look for when choosing an autoresponder. And I want to make it clear - I am referring only to third-party paid autoresponders, also known as sequential autoresponders (which are usually remote-hosted autoresponders as opposed to the other 2 options -- locally hosted or desktop hosted).
And just to clarify the things a little, for those who are not very familiar with the existing options, there are 3 different categories of autoresponders:
- desktop hosted autoresponders
- locally hosted autoresponders
- remote hosted autoresponders
The autoresponder is in fact a piece of software that handles your emails automatically -- and that gives you the ability to do a lot of great things to be able to make a follow-up with your customers. The main differences between the 3 autoresponders are these:
- The costs. Some are free, some are one-time payment, and other services offered by a third-party imply a monthly payment.
- The places where the autoresponder is located (locally hosted, desktop hosted or remote hosted).
- The list of options offered by every one of them such as deliverability rates, handle of multiple lists, size restrictions, testing options, and so on.
Usually, the free ones are not really reliable and have very few options as compared to the others. The locally hosted or desktop hosted ones usually come with a one-time payment, but the disadvantages are you will be left alone with that piece of software after the purchase; that even with the best support of the producer, it will take a lot of time to be maintained and handled. I know these facts not from my experience, but from several Internet marketers who tried all of them at some points in time, and came to the commonly accepted conclusion that these 2 options are not worth the pain. You can verify this easily by subscribing to their newsletters and see quickly what type of autoresponder they use. And also, maybe the best way you can go for finding the appropriate option for you is to ask those who use it. Ask for the benefits and pitfalls of the particular autoresponder they use.
After clarifying why I prefer only the sequential third-party paid autoresponders, you must know that all of them imply a monthly fee, which is in almost all cases directly dependent on the amount of subscribers. So while your list in growing, your autoresponder's monthly cost is also growing. Following up with your prospect or customer is really critical to your business, and having a good autoresponder will give you a good start in your follow-up campaign. That is especially true once you have you made your homework and paid attention to the features described below when choosing.
"So keep the future needs of your business in mind when considering a third party autoresponder. Choosing carefully the one that can cope with your list size in the years to come and give you fine tuned options can save you a lot of trouble."
So what exactly is this 3rd party autoresponder service? An autoresponder enables you to create opt-in forms to place on your websites, collect subscriber details, and send out a series of emails to your subscribers at pre-determined times chosen by you. Practically, it is a program which automatically sends a message or a sequence of messages when triggered, where "triggered" means actions such as:
- someone sends a message to a specific e-mail address
- someone bought a product online
- someone fills out an online form
- signs up to be a member
- someone contacts you for more information
Once triggered, the system sends out the message sequence as set up. This is basically an email marketer's most valuable tool because it helps you immensely to establish relationship with your customers.
After doing some research, I came up with the most important features to look for in an autoresponder - you can find it in "How to Manage Your Email Lists in a Fast, Easy and Personalized Manner by choosing the right email marketing service" article. The most known and used 3rd party service are: iContact, getResponse, aWeber, 1ShopppingCart & Infusion. I want to evaluate all of them and rate them because I myself am interested in choosing one in the future.