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 MQL is one step higher than a lead, in terms of the level of engagement with your business. An MQL typically performs an activity, like downloading your ebook, which is a clear indication of their interest in your business. Sometimes an MQL can also be determined based on their demographic profile. MQLs are ready to be nurtured, but they’re not ready to buy just yet. They’re usually handed over by the marketing team to the sales team.
BoFu: Leads at the bottom of the funnel need your product/service. They’re past the education stage, they know exactly what you can give them, and now you’re making a clear pitch. This is the right time to offer a trial, demo, or a discount and bring them into your business. The leads that get to this stage are way fewer than those who step into the funnel, so make sure you offer maximum value here.
Office Autopilot plans all start at above $200 a month. These are the top 10 autoresponder and email marketing tools on the market today. You have options all the way from free to several hundred dollars a month, from basic functionality to complex analytics and shopping cart integration. The one you pick depends entirely on where your business is and what it needs.

Molly K. McLaughlin is a New York-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering technology. She has tested and reviewed all sorts of software, mobile apps, and gadgets. Before launching her freelance business, she was an editor at PC Magazine, covering consumer electronics, followed by a stint at ConsumerSearch.com, a revie... See Full Bio
Beyond that, avoid using all caps, too many exclamation marks, and hyperbolic phrases ("ACT NOW BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT!!!!"). Poorly formatted HTML in your emails can also hurt how they’re handled. Every spam filter is different, so an email might pass through one filter but get flagged by another. For more comprehensive info on how spam filters work and how to avoid them, check out this guide by MailChimp.
You may think direct mail is a thing of the past. But it’s still effective for targeted communications. Consider a content asset developed for high-level executives. Executives don’t usually browse the web for information. And it can be hard to get through to them via email. That means they may not come across the content you’ve developed with them in mind. This is where direct mail can prove powerful. You could send a direct mail piece to this audience to make them aware of your new, targeted content asset.  Direct mail also gives you a chance to grab the attention of a hot prospect by being creative and interesting with your message and presentation.
As of mid-2016 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 73% in the U.S.; six percent were filtered as spam, and 22% were missing. This lags behind other countries: Australia delivers at 90%, Canada at 89%, Britain at 88%, France at 84%, Germany at 80% and Brazil at 79%.[7]
Basic text-based email editors to fully designed HTML or JavaScript templates are just some of the features these packages can provide businesses. You can manage your contacts by simply keeping a list of names and email addresses or you can create a complex database full of subscribers segmented by demographic slices and engagement levels. Which method you choose really just depends on how much of your budget you're willing to allocate towards the email marketing software that can give your company the features it needs.
The likely answer is to do with audience biases. A survey conducted by an email marketing provider is almost certainly going to have different results to one conducted by PPC management tool, as their audiences have different skillsets and biases, skewing the results of their sample. As such, we should take the specific ranking of different strategies in these studies with a pinch of salt.
The Modern Marketing lead generation process begins much earlier in the buying cycle than it used to. Through social media and sharing, educational webinars, and search, marketers seek to be found wherever their prospective buyers may be looking for relevant information on the business challenges that the marketer’s solutions can solve. As a prospect engages with the organization, the education process can move into lead nurturing. By providing valuable content over time, the marketer will be able to remain top-of-mind and slowly educate the prospect on key considerations for the purchase decision.
An investor lead is a type of a sales lead. An investor lead is the identity of a person or entity potentially interested in participating in an investment, and represents the first stage of an investment sales process. Investor leads are considered to have some disposable income that they can use to participate in appropriate investment opportunities in exchange for return on investment in the form of interest, dividend, profit sharing or asset appreciation. Investor lead lists are normally generated through investment surveys, investor newsletter subscriptions or through companies raising capital and selling the database of people who expressed an interest in their opportunity. Investor Lead lists are commonly used by small businesses looking to fund their venture or simply needing expansion capital that was not readily available by banks and traditional lending sources. 

Lead generation is a key element in the sales process that has changed in recent years alongside shifts in sales and marketing landscape. Generated leads are no longer an indiscriminate list of names that marketing hands to sales. Leads are generated today by drawing in potential customers using a variety of methods, offering them useful information, building and nurturing relationships, and evaluating which leads are ready to move forward in their buying journey. For more detailed information, visit our blog post on “5 Ways You Can Generate More Qualified Leads ”.

The connection between television appearances and new subscribers is historically difficult to track, but WP Curve’s television appearance significantly increased search traffic for branded terms – and search traffic accounts for 42% of WP Curve’s new signups. With TV as their megaphone, WP Curve saw a 27% increase in recurring revenue for in March. Read all about it here.
As of mid-2016 email deliverability is still an issue for legitimate marketers. According to the report, legitimate email servers averaged a delivery rate of 73% in the U.S.; six percent were filtered as spam, and 22% were missing. This lags behind other countries: Australia delivers at 90%, Canada at 89%, Britain at 88%, France at 84%, Germany at 80% and Brazil at 79%.[7]

First, an agency develops a website or partners with websites on which they promote and advertise your product or service. A consumer finds these directories or informational sites, then hopefully completes an online quote request form. The buyer's information is verified and matched to the appropriate providers. These matched leads, with full contact information and purchasing requirements, are then sent via email to prospectors and other people potentially in the sales process. 
Journalism students quickly learn how the inverted pyramid style of writing gives readers the most important information first. The rest of the paragraph or article supports the initial information or offers additional details. Your email marketing customers will respond to the same style of writing. They want the big news first because they’re often reading your email while they’re commuting or at work. If they want the details, they’ll read the email again just before they buy.
The connection between television appearances and new subscribers is historically difficult to track, but WP Curve’s television appearance significantly increased search traffic for branded terms – and search traffic accounts for 42% of WP Curve’s new signups. With TV as their megaphone, WP Curve saw a 27% increase in recurring revenue for in March. Read all about it here.

Lead generation used to involve purchasing lists of names and sales representatives cold calling people at home, but modern advances in technology have made it possible for us to now generate leads based on specific criteria and information. Companies collect information about potential buyers and then tailor marketing methods and sales pitches to the prospects’ needs.
An MQL is one step higher than a lead, in terms of the level of engagement with your business. An MQL typically performs an activity, like downloading your ebook, which is a clear indication of their interest in your business. Sometimes an MQL can also be determined based on their demographic profile. MQLs are ready to be nurtured, but they’re not ready to buy just yet. They’re usually handed over by the marketing team to the sales team.
Direct Mail. “Just like each of the above all on their own could be a standalone marketing campaign to feed your business enough leads forever, this could as well. You can generate these letters and target all kinds of lists, so you can get very specific and never ever run out of potential campaigns. I use melissadata.com for my lists, but there are many companies that can and will sell you lists. I then use a done-for-you service.  They create, print, stamp and send to us to drop in the mail. It cannot get any easier than that. These letters we use are in hand written font and made to look like you wrote it out on a yellow pad of paper. They're mailed in invitation- type envelopes so they get opened and not tossed in the waste basket.”
It’s important to note how a number of growing trends revolve around content of value – not promotional content. Things like personalization and subscriber lifetime value, bite-sized content that’s easy to digest, stronger narratives and storytelling, richer experiences… that’s all key to crafting highly engaging emails that will grow your open and engagement rates.
ToFu: Leads at the top of the funnel need awareness. They know nothing about what you offer and what domain you operate in, so you’ll need to create a conversation around both these focus points—without selling your product up front. If you sell CRMs, you attract ToFu leads by talking about how SDRs (sales development representatives) can do their job better using CRM software. Blogs, ebooks and guides are content types that work well at this stage.
How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.
Although lead generation no longer revolves around using the phone to identify qualified leads, that doesn’t mean the calling has stopped entirely. To engage and qualify prospective buyers, inside or outsourced teams will often still call prospects who have shown some level of interest. Sometimes they’ll call to highlight a value proposition or event as part of the lead nurturing and engagement process. In other cases, they’ll call simply to ask questions and determine interest as part of the lead qualification process.
Auto responders present an excellent opportunity to create email marketing results with minimal effort after the initial build out. However, the key to success is to think through the process during the build out and to monitor the program carefully for the first several months in order to optimize it. We'll discuss auto responders throughout the remainder of this book when talking about email design, implementation, tracking and optimization.
With the new buyer it is important to note that your marketing efforts don’t end once a new lead comes into your system – what we call Top of the Funnel (TOFU) marketing.  Many companies do a good job at generating leads, but the problem is that most new leads are not ready to buy yet.  And if a sales rep does engage and the lead isn’t ready to talk with them, it reinforces the notion that marketing sourced leads are not great. As a result leads get lost, ignored, or snatched up by your competitors.
Virtual Assistants. “There are many virtual assistant companies and individuals available to help you with your seller and buyer calls. I struggled through three of them and was ready to throw in the towel. Then I found an amazing company that trains well and is very well scripted and constantly improves. I hired them and have been with them almost six years with the same person. They will become an integral part of your team when utilized properly. They all charge differently. I personally spend between $125-$135 per week for six to eight hours of calling. This produces approximately 12-18 leads weekly for me so two to three per hour counting the sourcing time they have to do. They send me on a daily basis fully filled out property information sheets. This assures you that you’re only speaking with quality leads that want to speak with you.”
The basics we've gone over in this blog post are just the beginning. Keep creating great offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms — and promote them in multi-channel environments. Be in close touch with your sales team to make sure you're handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis. Last but not least, never stop testing. The more you tweak and test every step of your inbound lead generation process, the more you'll improve lead quality and increase revenue.
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.
Flexibility is necessary, but not always easy—especially when you’re trying to get both your marketing and sales teams up to speed. Best practices around the many complex things that comprise marketing today, including website best practices, mobile viewability, email, SEO/SEM, marketing automation, content marketing, and social media change so swiftly that many people find it difficult, if not downright impossible, to keep up.

The Australian Spam Act 2003 is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, widely known as "ACMA". The act defines the term unsolicited electronic messages, states how unsubscribe functions must work for commercial messages, and gives other key information. Fines range with 3 fines of AU$110,000 being issued to Virgin Blue Airlines (2011), Tiger Airways Holdings Limited (2012) and Cellar master Wines Pty Limited (2013).[13]
ConvertKit has been incredibly useful to me. I can use it to create complex automations and branching message sequences to deliver the exact right message to the right people. And I can do that without spending an entire weekend trying to figure out how it works. Trust me, if I can figure it out, literally anyone can. ConvertKit is a terrific tool, even if your list is still small. And it will grow as you do. — Sonia Simone, Chief Content Office, Copyblogger
Cost per acquisition advertising (e.g. TalkLocal, Thumbtack) addresses the risk of CPM and CPC advertising by charging only by the lead. Like CPC, the price per lead can be bid up by demand. Also, like CPC, there are ways in which providers can commit fraud by manufacturing leads or blending one source of lead with another (example: search-driven leads with co-registration leads) to generate higher profits. For such marketers looking to pay only for specific actions/acquisition, there are two options: CPL advertising (or online lead generation) and CPA advertising (also referred to as affiliate marketing). In CPL campaigns, advertisers pay for an interested lead — i.e. the contact information of a person interested in the advertiser's product or service. CPL campaigns are suitable for brand marketers and direct response marketers looking to engage consumers at multiple touchpoints — by building a newsletter list, community site, reward program or member acquisition program. In CPA campaigns, the advertiser typically pays for a completed sale involving a credit card transaction.
Visitor Tracking: Hotjar has a heatmap tool — a virtual tool which creates a color-coded representation of how a user navigates your site — that helps you understand what users want, care about, and do on your site. It records visitors and tells you where they spend the most time on your site. You can use it to gather information on your lead generation forms, feedback forms and surveys, and more. https://www.lyfemarketing.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/email-marketing-roi-2.jpg
Autoresponders are messages set to go out automatically. They help you automate campaigns and manage one-to-one communication with your recipients. They can be sent in a sequence or at intervals, starting from the day a contact signs up to your list e.g. Day 0 (instant message), 3, 7, 14. So, autoresponders are useful if you want to send an automatic message to contacts who join your list. When you set up an autoresponder cycle, messages will go out on a specific day of a contact’s subscription period.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
I find that people who waste my time on their initial email usually end up being unsubscribed. Maybe it’s just me but I like to get to the point fast and need value. I’m not your buddy, your pal or want to engage in a “whats up” salutation scenario, I’m busy. The “take away” “ends tomorrow” from email sequences I have not had a chance to go through end up in that big circular file known as trash.
The first autoresponders were created within mail transfer agents that found they could not deliver an e-mail to a given address. These create bounce messages such as "your e-mail could not be delivered because..." type responses. Today's autoresponders need to be careful to not generate e-mail backscatter, which can result in the autoresponses being considered E-mail spam.
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