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INTRODUCTION

If you have been in the online marketing business for more than a day or two, likely you have heard a lot about this subject. Everyone will tell you that having one is important, but often not explain further why.

Today I will go into why having some means of automatically sending out emails is useful to you, both for gathering leads and selling products or services.

Then I will add a robust list of alternatives that you can consider based on your budget as well as your requirements. I will go over the options that will work for you.

At the end of the tutorial, you will have a good idea on the direction you can go based on your specific situation. Additionally, over time we will have insight from others that use one or the other autoresponders for their programs.

It is always useful to factor this personal experience in when making a decision on using or buying a product or service. This is often more revealing than any slick marketing page you will read.

So let’s get started!

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WHAT ARE AUTORESPONDERS AND WHY YOU NEED THEM

Autoresponders are internet marketing tools that help you do more in less time. They essentially automate the email process to your prospects and clients.

Depending on the autoresponder you use, they can also do many other things besides sending out emails automatically. For instance, you can capture leads using opt-in forms they provide, you can run and track marketing campaigns, you can send out newsletters, etc.

Using such tools is always a good thing for your online marketing program because you can become more efficient with your time and use it to focus on other tasks other than tracking and sending emails…

Autoresponders will help you make more money…

On the other hand, if you are only going to have limited lists or do not need all of the features of one or another autoresponder, why would pay a high price for something you will not use.

To put it in simple terms, why buy a Ferrari car when a Volkswagen Beetle car will do the job? With autoresponder services, it is no different. Purchase what you need…Not what sounds good…

Especially when starting out in the online marketing sales niche, it is good to save money where you can when it makes sense to use it elsewhere, like in getting traffic to your promotions, fo instance…

Other uses of Autoresponders

Most people think an autoresponder is a great way to thank someone for their purchase and offer them a confirmation of the order. They may send status updates if they run an eCommerce store…

Delivery of Lead Magnets

There are other important uses they offer as well. For instance, you can use them to create your very own E-zine or for sending out a newsletter.

These are two great lead magnets you can offer prospects for an opt-in to your list – these are free and valuable content you are giving away that helps build a good relationship.

Be aware that you will need to find an autoresponder provider that offers you a broadcast feature. This is because you don’t want this particular mail to go out at scheduled intervals.

The broadcast feature is when everyone on your list will get the E-zine or newsletter delivered to them on the same day. It won’t matter which e-mail they are set up for with the autoresponder in relation to the predetermined messaging sequence.

It’s also generally a good idea to have your E-zines and newsletters archived on your site as well for a number of reasons.  For instance, this will allow individuals who missed earlier editions to go back and read the materials.

Email Campaigns

Interval sending of a series of emails (a campaign as it is commonly referred to) is a common feature that works well when someone new signs up for your opt-in list. For this feature, you will want to have a series of messages set up that are sent out to them with some time between each one.

Manage Your Lists

One other important task the autoresponder must provide is managing your lists for you.  As the total number of people on your opt-in list continues to grow. it becomes more difficult to take care of manually.

Using an autoresponder you can quickly and automatically take care of requests for being removed or noting changes to e- mail addresses .

In that light, let’s now look at some options in more detail… 

 

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AUTORESPONDER SOLUTION PROCESS

Just looking at all the options you have when you start doing research, it can be quite a daunting and exhausting task.  Not only that, people do not always have your interests at heart.

My experiences when selecting the first autoresponder service…

When I started looking for an autoresponder service, I got a recommendation from a colleague whom I trusted since he had been in online marketing for a long time.

What I did not realize at that time was that the person was an affiliate and his real interest was in getting that monthly referral commission more than wanting to help me!

So to put your mind at ease right now, I am not promoting ANY service at the moment, so I have no dog in the fight as we used to say in the Army.

You gain from my experiences…

But I will say take heart because it doesn’t have to be a big issue unless you want it to be. There are in reality only a handful of options that will actually serve your needs, the rest will likely be a problem for you over time.

This tutorial will explain the differences between the platforms that are viable and will save you from some major time researching and a mistake possibly, and then having to deal with a lot of pain.

The reason I say pain is this is that if you pick the wrong service, later when you have to switch, it will be really stressful and possibly quite painful. Starting with the right service will save you that ordeal.

In this short tutorial, I will make the decision process easy and straight-forward for you. The most important features that should dictate your decision process are discussed and I will use these to rank each autoresponder service.

The criteria I use to rank each autoresponder include 3 elements:

(1) Integration – How well does the service integrate with other 3rd party solutions that you want to use it with?

(2) Segmentation – What are the capabilities for sending segmented (highly targeted) emails?

(3) Automation – What functions will it do for you based on your subscriber actions?

Before we start talking about viable options you have, let’s go over 3 other factors you need to take into account when you decide on your email marketing service.

Three Other Factors To Consider As You Evaluate Autoresponder Services

There are so many options as I mentioned, and the different services will swamp you with their features…But many are nothing more than bells and whistles, you don’t need them.

It’s really easy to get distracted by some of those features that aren’t nearly as important as others. For that reason, I have determined from my experience that there are 3 main factors you should look at to pick the right autoresponder.

Factor # 1 – Credibility

Consider how long that the company offering you services has been in business. This is really a HUGE factor that you need to take into account. Remember that the longer the company has been in business, the more likely it is that they have a good rapport with the major email service providers.

Most of your customers will be using services such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo. This means that your email will less likely get marked as spam by these services when you use that autoresponder service.

Bottom Line: So when looking for a provider eliminate those that have not been in business for at least 7 years.

Factor # 2 – Deliverability

This might be the most important factor when you make that decision on which platform to go with…

Remember that the overall effectiveness of all of your email marketing efforts will depend on the ability to get your offers and communication into your subscriber inboxes.

All of the companies that have been around for at least 7 years will have a good deliverability rate. Make sure as you look at the ones that are left on your list promise at least a 99% deliverability rate.

Hint: You can increase your deliverability by choosing to have all your subscribers double-opt in, meaning there are fewer disputes down the road. There is a record where they opted in to your list.

Factor # 3 – User Interface

This factor is often not a consideration for people but it should be…You can really tell a lot about the kind of service you can expect from a service when you look at the provider’s website.

If that website is rather unappealing and seems hard to navigate as you try to sign up, chances are that creating and sending emails will also be an arduous process.

What is best is if you find a provider that has a modern and simple design that also has Drag-N-Drop capability…These kind of providers are keeping up with the market advances…They will also help you keep up…

Believe me, you will be happier as you start creating newsletters and HTML-based emails…It will be  a breeze for you… But make sure that you are not distracted by the tools they offer.

My recommendation is to sign up for a free trial if it is offered. Today most of the big providers will offer a free trial or maybe a 30-day trial that is inexpensive.

Test drive their dashboard over that time before making a final decision. During that time, if you can’t figure out how to use the service effectively, more than likely it is not for you.

Your Next Consideration – How Deep Do You Want to Go?

OK, now that you understand the 3 main factors to look for when deciding on an email marketing platform, the next question you need to answer for yourself is just how targeted will you want to be with your marketing.

Depending on how segmented you want to go with your email campaigns (targeting level you can use this to further work through the options to find the best one for your needs.

I generally break this into three levels of users: (1) The Starter User, (2) The Intermediate User, and (3) The Advanced User. Below I define each level so you can identify where you fall and can consider the appropriate service.

(1) The Starter User

The starter is where I was at a couple of years ago. They are beginning with online marketing and trying to build a list because someone told them to.

At this point, they really have no strategy for using email marketing and they do not yet know how they will grow their email list. If they do have the start of a list they may be using it to send broad email newsletters to their entire list without any segmentation.

The best providers I recommend for such beginners are either (1) GetResponse, (2) Aweber, or (3) MailChimp…All are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and will meet the needs of the starter.

(2) The Intermediate User

The intermediate eMail marketer already has a developed list and has planned a strategy…They have moved from not understanding much about email marketing to understanding the power it offers…

At this stage of their online marketing career, they need to have an email marketing provider that can effectively send their offers and convert those offers sales, and through even more emails, increase their sales.

Even at this stage, the emails they send are not very targeted, but they do use a basic level of segmentation to produce desired results.

Most of these intermediate marketers will also have their autoresponder integrated with external 3rd party platforms to further increase their conversion rates and measure the effectiveness of their email marketing efforts.

The providers I recommend for such intermediate marketers are GetResponse, Sendpepper, or Aweber. They can scale up to meet the needs of the intermediate user and handle requirements nicely…

(3) The Advanced User

The email marketers that are very experienced will also send very targeted emails. They will use extensive segmentation of their lists and/or tagging that will help determine who the hottest leads are in their funnel.

At this stage, they fully understand the importance of measuring the detailed actions every lead makes in their funnel so they can tweak and shape their campaigns.

Most of these marketers at this stage are more than likely are using a CRM that includes an email marketing platform so they can integrate all their marketing efforts under one tool or maybe two maximum. This helps maximize profits and they can easily scale their business.

The CRM providers I recommend for such advanced marketers is CloudNet 360 (best), Ontraport, or Infusionsoft. I have recently done a review on CloudNet 360 (You can read this HERE)

Bottom Line…

It’s absolutely essential when you start looking for a service provider to realize that not all the autoresponders will offer you the same features, so it is wise to make sure you use the one that is going to offer you what you need.

So there you have it. The most straight-forward criteria in which you can use to select the email marketing platform that will best suit your business needs.

Note that there are other reputable services out there you can review that are not mentioned, just because I have not added them here does not mean that they are not good.

The factors and considerations are the most important ones from an online marketing perspective.  The options I have mentioned in this tutorial are ones I have personally seen that they work for me and others and based on general opinion are some of the best options (if not the best) in the market in 2016.

The important thing is that you now have a good starting point to proceed from and you are able to plan to make an informed decision as to which of the options to use..

At the end of a little bit of work and due diligence, you will have confidence that the autoresponder you will use is one that will meet everything you require and not cost you more than it should…

Keep that money you save in your wallet and pull it out for other expenses that will grow your business, or alternatively spend it on something fun for you and the loved ones!

Have fun!

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CONCLUSION

OK, today we covered what autoresponders are for the uninitiated, included why you need such a tool for your online marketing business, or offline business even, and then gave you some example tools to look at.

Additionally, we looked at what to look for based on your requirements and using that list, advised you to research the options and select one autoresponder that is right for you.

When I started I was advised to “Get an Autoresponder.” Period. That was it. It was not explained to me clearly why I needed one, which to choose, and how to best use the tool!

The purpose of this tutorial is to save you from having the same experience. I hope that you have found it useful and I am sure that we will have some good feedback. Please rate and share this tutorial if you think it helped you or will help someone.

Pay it forward! Thanks…

 

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FINAL THOUGHT

Please take a few moments rate the article above (See the stars rating graphic near the title of the tutorial above), share the tutorial if you think others can use the information, and lastly comment on this article about autoresponders, adding in your own thoughts and experiences with autoresponders, good or bad…It is always good when we can discuss and learn from one another, and the comment section is a perfect place to do this. Thanks in advance for your cooperation!

Cheers!

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ABOUT DAVE:  

Dave has been involved in sales for 20 years with offline products and has been fortunate to have traveled the world while realizing up to $4 million USD a month in gross sales of products he promoted.

He has brought that experience to the online world and this is one of his online ventures. This site is intended to present ideas, products, tools, tips and more that will help all those seeking to make money online have success.

Subjects covered are diverse, but in totem, you can learn a lot about the things that you will need to have success with online business right here. This includes things to do and things NOT to do!

Enjoy!