Though they’ve been around for a while, not all small business owners are familiar with the capabilities that autoresponders offer. To help businesses start reaping the benefits, this post provides important definitions, different types of autoresponders and 13 specific examples of how they can be used right away to increase engagement, leads and sales.
An auto responder is generally more similar in content to a newsletter than it is to a direct sales email, though it combines many of the elements of both. The content can vary wildly though based on your industry segment and what you've promised subscribers. The most common type of auto responder content will be tips or advice, but you can also do great things with recipes, serial fiction pieces, inspirational quotes and a variety of other topics. Essentially, you are looking for content that will engage users over a period of time while also providing a platform to encourage sales of your product or service or visits to your website.
An autoresponder is a computer program that generates a response to an email, request, or action. Autoresponders were initially used to notify a sender of an undeliverable email, but now they are often used in email marketing. Autoresponders can give you the ability to send a customer a pre-written email when a specified event takes place, such as a customer creating an account or purchasing a product.
Over the years, businesses have used many tools for lead management, like the rolodex, contact management software and spreadsheets. But these tools function like a system of record. Sales reps just view their leads using these tools; they don’t get context. And that’s where CRM software (customer relationship management software) fills the void. In a CRM, every lead gets their own profile. This profile contains demographic details, a chronological list of every conversation the lead has had with your business, along with all the data/documents you’ve ever shared with them. And all this is just one part of what CRM software can do.

Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process.  In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
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