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Important Features to Look for when Choosing an Autoresponder


Why Must you do Follow-Up?


According to successful internet marketers, good follow-ups with prospects will dramatically increase the number of sales.


First time visitors to your site who requested additional information (or free software or ebook) have an obvious interest in your products or services. But the time may be too short for them to make the decision.


However, it is important to know that these people are your real prospects. They are usually more receptive to whatever messages you send them about your products or services.


You must therefore capture their contact information including name and email address and enter them into your prospect database for you to begin the follow-up process.


How do you Follow-Up?


Following are the correct ways to do follow-up:

  1. You must follow-up quickly with new prospects by sending them a message reminding them about your products or services.

  2. You must take the initiatives to contact your prospects at regular intervals. Never ignore your prospects or they will go somewhere else.

  3. You must patiently take the time to establish rapport with your prospects by offering them free help and advice.

  4. Address all their concerns by answering their queries promptly and accurately.

  5. You must take time and effort to build the trust and establish value in your products and services.

  6. You must demonstrate your professionalism and the knowledge you have in whatever you do.

  7. You must show to them that you have anticipated their needs and you have whatever they need.

  8. You must convince them that they want to buy from you, and not from your competitors. Demonstrate the value and benefits of your products or services.

  9. Provide your prospect with the assurance they need about your product or services including your warranty if any.

  10. Tell them your product is easy to use or install and offer them free additional help if necessary.

  11. Explain how easy it is to order from your site and how the products or services will be delivered to them.

  12. Constantly remind your prospects about your products or services and invite them to return to your site for more visits.

Again, never ignore your prospects just because you do not have the time to personally follow-up with them.


Use an autoresponder to automate the tasks and to gain continued access to your prospects.


Why do you need an Autoresponder?


Some say an autoresponder is the cheapest sales assistant money can hire- one who never sleeps and works diligently around the clock to convert visitors to your website into profit.


The secret of an autoresponder lies in automation. It takes care of the most tedious aspects of online marketing, automatically.


With an autoresponder, you can follow-up automatically with your prospects at a pre-determined intervals (of say 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 or more days) after your initial contact without having to do it manually.


Suppose you get 100 visitors today who visited your site and requested for more information. So you need to send out seven batches of 100 emails each over the next 17 days- assuming that you planned to send out seven emails at 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 and 17 days after the initial contact.


Suppose tomorrow you receive another 80 requests for more information. So you need to send out another seven batches of 80 emails each staggered out in the same pattern.


And suppose day after tomorrow you receive another 77 emails. So you have to do the same again.


Can you see how complicated if you were to do this manually?


What do you use an Autoresponder for?


Following are some of the common uses of an autoresponder:


Collect Email Addresses

An autoresponder can be used to collect email addresses through an online form or directly from incoming emails, and automatically start the follow-up process.


Ezine and Newsletter Delivery

An autoresponder can be used to send periodic ezines and newsletters while automatically accepting and removing registrations.


You can use an autoresponder to collect email addresses for your ezine which allows you continued access to your subscribers.


Free eCourses or Downloads

You can offer free multi-part ecourses or free ebook/software downloads as an incentive for your visitors to leave their email addresses. A great way to increase your site traffic.


Email Reminder

You can send follow-up messages to your visitors to remind them of what you sell and what benefits they get.


Offer Related Information

Offer your subscribers information closely related to their topic of interest. For example, if they are interested in cars, they are likely to be interested in car accessories as well.


Offer Promotional Coupon

You can offer promotional coupons, discount vouchers or other incentives via email for use with your product or service.


Soft Selling

You can "soft-sell" to your potential customers by offering freebies and special information.


Sales Tool

Use your autoresponder as a sales tool by writing multiple automated email messages to sell your products and services around the clock- 24 hrs a day x 365 days a year!

After Sales Service

Follow-Up with your customers after closing a sale to make sure they're happy with what they have purchased.


You can also use this technique to inform them of any new products, services or special deals that you have available.

Customer's Feedback

You can use an autoresponder as a way of getting customers feedback. You can send them a thankyou message after receiving their feedback.


Post Sales Confirmation

If your product is not an instant delivery product or is pricy, use the autoresponder to avoid buyer's remorse.


Entice customers who purchased basic packages from you, to upgrade to ones with more features or facilities, by sending them a series of up-sell messages.

Direct Email Advertising

You can use an autoresponder to send out direct email advertising messages- provided you have the permission from the recipients to do so.

MLM / Associates Programs

Use the autoresponder in any MLM / Associates program to give your downline members a powerful tool in their sales arsenal.

Viral Marketing

Use your autoresponder as a viral marketing sales tool. Utilize the ability to give away autoresponder accounts to supercharge your income stream.

Motivational Messages

Send a series of motivational messages to people in your sales organization with the autoresponder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Instead of answering the same customer questions by email, publish a "Frequently Asked Questions" in autoresponder format to save time and effort.


Download Back Issues of Ezine

Let your subscribers download back issues of your ezine using autoresponder.


Other uses and applications.

There are hundreds of possible uses of an autoresponder. The list is only limited by your own creativity. So the possibilities are endless.


Not surprisingly many internet marketers considered an autoresponder central to any successful online marketing campaign.


Important Features of A Good Autoresponder


The important features found in a good autoresponder are listed below.


Those features which are more important are highlighted in bold. But ultimately which features are more important to you will depend on your own personal requirements.


When choosing your autoresponder, you can check the features offered against the list.

  1. Pricing, Trial, Warranty & Support

    • Purchase price.

    • Monthly fee.

    • Free trial.

    • Refund period.

    • Free update.

    • Technical support.

    • Free installation.

  2. Autoresponder Limits

    • No. of domains and no. of autoresponders in each license.

    • No. of follow-up messages and subscribers in each autoresponder.

    • Ability to support huge mailing list.

  3. Handle Subscription

    • Ability to subscribe via web form and email.

    • Generate HTML form code.

    • Automatic subscription.

    • One-click unsubscribe link.

  4. Manage Subscribers

    • Ability to add or remove or modify subscriber details.

    • Double opt-in.

    • Ability to subscribe or unsubscribe prospects from multiple accounts.

    • Option to add banned email list for competitors.

  5. Manage Messages

    • Personalization features.

    • No. of customizable fields in HTML signup form.

    • Sending attachments.

    • Message in HTML or text formats.

    • Build-in message editor.

    • Option to create sequential, scheduled or broadcast messages.

    • Option to set different "From" and Administrator email addresses.

    • Option to set default subscriber's name.

    • Option to use different character sets.

    • Customizable double opt-in, subscribe and unsubscribe messages.

    • Webpage redirect features for subscribers, removals and double opt-in.

    • Ability to clone existing  account.

    • Time synchronization.

  6. Sending Options

    • Sending via Sendmail or SMTP.

    • Newsletter broadcast and restrictions.

    • Sending via multiple concurrent processes.

    • Test sending.

    • Sending with or without CRON.

  7. Bounced Email Handling

    • Handling of bounced emails.

    • Add undeliverables to blacklist.

    • Option to remove bounced emails after certain no. of soft or hard bounces.

  8. Statistics

    • Click-through link tracking.

    • General autoresponder statistics.

  9. Reporting

    • Email notification about signup and unsubscribes.

    • Email daily broadcaster statistics.

    • Broadcaster activity and progress logs.

    • Option to be notified when someone subscribes or unsubscribes.

    • Subscriber Manager showing name, email and messages sent.

  10. Interface

    • Type of user interface.

    • Web-based installation.

  11. List Management

    • Remove duplication email.

    • Import or export subscriber database.

    • XML import or export tool.

    • Backup or restore database.

  12. Database & Language

    • Database.

    • Scripting language.

Which Features You Should Look Out for?


Features like automatic subscription, personalization, double opt-in, subscribe via webform or email, manage subscribers, statistics and etc are so common nowadays they are found in all self-respecting autoresponders.


In other words, most autoresponders in the market today already have many of the features listed above.


However, there are still a few features which are not common in all autoresponders. These are non-standard features which a particular autoresponder may not have, or features which are deliberately restricted in scope by the vendor. These features are listed below.


It is in your best interest to examine them careful before choosing your autoresponder.

  • No. of domains or copies of the software you can install. Some autoresponder vendors will sell the single domain or copy version at a lower price, but charge you more if you want more than one domain or copy of the software. This is a common strategy.

  • No. of autoresponder for each license and no. of follow-up messages in each autoresponder. Again, as before you have to pay more if you want more autoresponders or no. of follow-up messages.

  • Size restriction- Many autoresponders limit you to the size of the subscribers database.

  • Newsletter broadcast ability- Surprisingly not all autoresponders allows you to do this freely. So this is really the deciding factor for a lot of potential buyers.

  • Unsubscribe feature- Important to let your subscribers to unsubscribe freely. This is required by law in some countries, But some autoresponders still do not have this feature.

  • Import and export ability- Again, not all autoresponders allow you to do this freely. You may want to consider this carefully.

  • Backup and restore feature. Important to be able to backup your list on your own computer!

  • Handling of bounced emails and adding to a blacklist. This is getting more important because of the large number of spams.

  • Free trial and refund- gives you added security in case the program does not work the way you want.

What are the Types of Autoresponders in the Market?


When choosing an autoresponder, you are faced with literally thousands of options available in the market.


There are far too many different types of autoresponders out there, each with very different features and price range.


When choosing an autoresponder, you must consider not only your current needs, but also your future needs based on projected growth of your business.


But the first decision you should make when choosing a sequential autoresponder is whether your autoresponder will be:

  • Remotely-hosted by an autoresponder service provider,

  • Locally-hosted on your own web server, or

  • Desktop-hosted on your own workstation or computer.

There are important differences between the major types of autoresponders above.


The advantages and disadvantages of each type will be discussed in the next sections.


Continued Reading- Advantages and Disadvantages of Remotely-Hosted Autoresponders


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Here are some videos on AMLM which I uploaded to Google, Yahoo and Youtube- which show you how to install the Lite version. Simply choose the site and click the link to watch the videos live.

Watch the videos live on Youtube:

Part 1

Part 2


Watch the videos live on Google:

Part 1

Part 2


Watch the videos live on Yahoo:

Part 1

Part 2