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.
And that leads us right into understanding service pricing and packaging. The email marketing services we reviewed range from about $5 per month to as much as $20 per month for a range of features. Many email marketing plans include unlimited email sends each month and bill you based on the number of subscribers. If you have a small list, then look for a company that offers a free plan, a low-cost plan for several hundred subscribers, or even a pay-as-you-go plan. On the flip side, many of these services also offer high-volume plans with up to 100,000 or more contacts. Sometimes this requires a custom plan that has to be arranged directly with a sales rep. If you're willing to commit, then look for the companies that offer discounts if you pay yearly rather than monthly. A few offer also money-back guarantees.

Let’s begin by with the definition of a lead. What does a lead mean to your company? Many companies have different definitions depending on their sales cycle, but standard definition is a qualified potential buyer who shows some level of interest in purchasing your product or solution. For the leads that fill out a form, they often do so in exchange for some relevant content or a compelling offer.
Use it to send new subscribers a “welcome” sequence. This is the message that you send to people right after they subscribe to your email list. It could contain a link to your lead magnet for an easy download, a thank you for subscribing, and maybe a call-to-action to check out your most popular blog posts. Every email list needs a welcome series: don’t miss this chance to “woo” your new subscribers and turn them into loyal fans! https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/465640-email-marketing.jpg?thumb
In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of “lead generation” meant marketing found the names of potential buyers and passed them to sales. Buyers expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed. Today, buyers can do their own research online and can find a variety of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through content resources, today’s buyer can learn a great deal about a product or service before ever having to even speak to a sales person.  So businesses must make sure that they build their digital presence.

Remember that it’s equally important that you make sure your online and offline processes are aligned. You can have the best content marketing, webinar, social media, email, you-name-it marketing strategy in the world, or host some great in person events, but if the leads you generate as a result of these efforts aren’t handled effectively, and if you’re not connecting offline with online, you’re quite likely spending money on tactics that aren’t delivering any ROI.
Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get -- who doesn't like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don't require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.
Ironpaper works with B2B enterprises and organizations wishes to scale their marketing efforts. We focus on sales qualified lead generation and prospect to lead conversion rates. Our services include lead-generation marketing, automation, advertising, social media, SEO and PPC. We build websites, mobile apps and produce great content to win new business and leads for clients.
Nurturing a lead involves careful and consistent communication with the lead, as you try and convert them into your customer. If you’re in SaaS, the problem statement could look like this: somebody just signed up for my product, so 30 days from now, how do I get them to sign on the dotted line? You use a tool like email. Well-compiled emails, sent at regular (but unobtrusive) intervals, have a very good chance of gaining your reader’s mindshare and making them invested in your product. With each interaction, you take a step towards bringing the lead closer to your business.

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.


About the Author: Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative and provides clients content marketing strategies that rock and creative that rolls. Barry has recently been named a Top 40 Digital Strategist by Online Marketing Institute and one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. Visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point.
For example, if you set up an autoresponder with an interval of 24 and you receive an email from user@example.com at 8:00 AM on Monday, the autoresponder immediately responds to the message. If, however, user@example.com continues to email you throughout the day, the autoresponder does not send another response for 24 hours after the initial email (in this case, 8:00 AM on Tuesday). If user@example.com emails you again after the 24-hour interval expires, the system sends them an autoresponse.
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.
In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of “lead generation” meant marketing found the names of potential buyers and passed them to sales. Buyers expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed. Today, buyers can do their own research online and can find a variety of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through content resources, today’s buyer can learn a great deal about a product or service before ever having to even speak to a sales person.  So businesses must make sure that they build their digital presence.
It’s also important to understand that operationally we need to break down silos. Effective lead generation relies on marketers’ ability to connect the website user experience your site serves up, plus what you’re doing with SEO and SEM, email marketing, content marketing, and social media strategy, with a well-integrated blend of sales expertise. None of these things can be effective on their own, although we see companies separating out these services and failing to integrate them all the time. Big mistake.
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.
Next up is building an email newsletter. The best services offer several ways to do this; you can import your own HTML, start from scratch, or use a pre-designed template. Most of these services have drag-and-drop UIs that let you choose exactly the elements you want to include, as well as image libraries in which you can store assets such as your logo or company photos. Tools that let you test your emails for spam are also essential since there are some seemingly innocuous terms that may send up red flags and drop all of your hard work into your subscribers' junk folders or, worse, get your emails banned before they ever reach their recipients.
When you create a Mailchimp account, we automatically set you up with a no-cost Forever Free plan. This option allows you to experiment with our tools and figure out how to best use our platform. So if you’re just getting off the ground, this is one less cost you have to consider. You can remain on the Forever Free plan as long as you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers across all lists in your account. 

In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of “lead generation” meant marketing found the names of potential buyers and passed them to sales. Buyers expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed. Today, buyers can do their own research online and can find a variety of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through content resources, today’s buyer can learn a great deal about a product or service before ever having to even speak to a sales person.  So businesses must make sure that they build their digital presence.

GoDaddy Email Marketing provides great statistics to show you how many people are opening, engaging with and sharing your email. There’s no mystery or guesswork. You can even compare different emails side-by-side to quickly see which emails get the best response. Once you know what appeals to your readers, you can refine your emails for even better results.
Email marketing is all about expectations, and it’s up to you to set them. If your call to action is strong, and your follow-up is consistent, then you can count on a positive campaign. However, if you promise to send one email per week and instead send them daily, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. On the contrary, if someone is expecting daily updates or critical product updates and you don’t’ deliver, then they are likely to be just as upset in that case too.
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.
The focus for marketers now is on being in the right place, at the right time, with the right calls to action, in order to capitalize on opportunities to build relationships with these knowledge-empowered consumers, and to give them what they want when they want it. As a rule, marketers recognize this evolution of the lead generation process, but many are faced with the challenge of how exactly to make that shift and execute effectively.
I got an email today from a marketer…. subject line “Don’t Worry, I won’t email you again” Huh? I was never worried in the first place and is I found it insulting to my intellect to assume that in my daily busy life I would actually take the time to worry about a lame marketer trying to get under my skin. I’m not going to open it because it simply sounds pathetic and self serving. Maybe it’s me but I just don’t like time wasters and nonsensical drival.
Lead generation is the use of a computer program, a database, the Internet, or a specialized service to obtain or receive information for the purpose of expanding the scope of a business, increasing sales revenues, looking for a job or for new clients or conducting specialized research. Leads can consist of the names and addresses (or e-mail addresses) of individuals, corporations, institutions or agencies. Lists of leads can be gathered or filtered from targeted databases such as telephone and Internet directories.
Remember that it’s equally important that you make sure your online and offline processes are aligned. You can have the best content marketing, webinar, social media, email, you-name-it marketing strategy in the world, or host some great in person events, but if the leads you generate as a result of these efforts aren’t handled effectively, and if you’re not connecting offline with online, you’re quite likely spending money on tactics that aren’t delivering any ROI.
One thing that hasn’t changed with email marketing is that you need to be strategic about how you word every part of marketing emails. One of the best things about email subscriptions of today is that you can count on your prospects having some level of interest in your product or service that encouraged them to sign up for your subscription list to begin with. https://media.sparkpost.com/uploads/2015/11/REI_BlackFridayEmailCampaign_2015.png
Step Three: Following that, an average of ten to nineteen emails are then automatically sent to the subscriber, most often with several days between each email send. The further the sequence gets, the longer the space between emails is. For example, within the first three or four auto responder emails, there may only be a day or two between each email send.However, as you get into the latter emails, it is common to leave a week between email sends so as not to encourage the subscriber to become frustrated and mark you as spam or unsubscribe from future mailings.
For Sale by Owners. “These are always a good lead source. You can source them yourself online and call them yourself or you can hire virtual assistants and I prefer both. If you’re just starting and have a limited budget, you can start by sourcing them yourself and calling them yourself.  I started that way at a few hours a day three to four days a week. It will only take one deal to then have some funds to use for hiring your first virtual assistant. You can also get them via for sale by owner signs. I suggest you drive a different way to work or to where ever you’re going each time you’re out and just go through different, new neighborhoods and you’ll run into signs.”
A warm call is much more valuable than a cold one. Many have already declared cold calling dead and would rather focus on warm leads because when you contact a warm lead, a person is expecting to hear from you or at least has shown some interest towards your business. This means that he or she is much more willing to listen to you and consider purchasing your offering since they have already considered you an option.
MailChimp is a fantastic place for beginning marketers to get started. Their “forever free” plan allows you to create a list on MailChimp for free as long as your list is under 500 users. When you’re just starting out, that’s more than enough. If you don’t want to start paying for autoresponders yet, go ahead and give MailChimp a shot, it is a great first step as an email marketing tool.
Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.
InfusionSoft is the tool of choice for serious marketers. If you run a six figure online business or have a list larger 50,000 subscribers, this may be the tool for you. InfusionSoft combines your shopping cart with email marketing, so you can do complex things like segregate your buyers from your subscribers or mail specific sequences to specific people. You can also send physical postcards from InfusionSoft. InfusionSoft isn’t cheap. The monthly subscription is in the hundreds, and there’s a four figure setup fee. It’s geared towards companies that are already successful and need powerful solutions, rather than startups.
If links and looks are set, begin interacting with the page. Abandon it, adjust the window size, convert. Are error messages appearing when they’re supposed to (if, for example, you don’t input all the form’s required info)? Is your CTA button working? If you abandon the page, are you retargeted with ads? When you resize the window, does your landing page respond accordingly?
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.[3]
Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.
Beyond incentives, often a key part of the conversion funnel that can be optimized is the lead form. Although it is beneficial from a business standpoint to collect as much information as possible about a prospect, more forms fields leads to a reduction in form submissions. Experiment with different form lengths to see what is optimal in terms of lead capture and lead information. 

Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
Use it to send new subscribers a “welcome” sequence. This is the message that you send to people right after they subscribe to your email list. It could contain a link to your lead magnet for an easy download, a thank you for subscribing, and maybe a call-to-action to check out your most popular blog posts. Every email list needs a welcome series: don’t miss this chance to “woo” your new subscribers and turn them into loyal fans! https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/465640-email-marketing.jpg?thumb
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.[3] http://www.emailvendorselection.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/email_drips_hobsons.jpg
One thing that hasn’t changed with email marketing is that you need to be strategic about how you word every part of marketing emails. One of the best things about email subscriptions of today is that you can count on your prospects having some level of interest in your product or service that encouraged them to sign up for your subscription list to begin with. https://media.sparkpost.com/uploads/2015/11/REI_BlackFridayEmailCampaign_2015.png

Nurturing a lead involves careful and consistent communication with the lead, as you try and convert them into your customer. If you’re in SaaS, the problem statement could look like this: somebody just signed up for my product, so 30 days from now, how do I get them to sign on the dotted line? You use a tool like email. Well-compiled emails, sent at regular (but unobtrusive) intervals, have a very good chance of gaining your reader’s mindshare and making them invested in your product. With each interaction, you take a step towards bringing the lead closer to your business.
Because search engines equate high-quality content with a high-quality website, creating content with value is very important. Conduct a content audit to see how many of your assets fall into the thought leadership vs. promotional category. That means making sure that your thought leadership content has substance to it. Lots of companies are jumping on the content bandwagon, so do it right: focus on quality over quantity, and on providing useful – not promotional – information.
: a function of e-mail software that automatically sends a response to incoming messages Unanswered e-mail is as big a turnoff as unanswered calls. Consider using your ISP's autoresponder to acknowledge received e-mail. It lets the visitors know their message arrived and gives you an opportunity to thank them for visiting the site.— Victoria Hall Smith, PC World, January 1999

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


Click through rates. Once your subscribers have opened your email, are they actually taking the action you need them to take? If you think that you have a low click through rate, perhaps your body copy is not as effective as it needs to be. Consider the following: Is the copy of your email relevant to the subject line? Did you offer real value to your subscribers in the email? Is your call-to-action clear enough? Is the link easy to find?
It’s long been known that headlines attract more attention than body copy on a written page. Decades ago, the father of modern advertising, David Ogilvy, found that 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, while only 2 will read the body copy. Make sure the big, bold words at the top of your page give prospects a reason to read the rest of it by communicating the benefit of claiming your offer. If you can’t explain what’s in it for your audience immediately, they won’t continue on.
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

Next up is building an email newsletter. The best services offer several ways to do this; you can import your own HTML, start from scratch, or use a pre-designed template. Most of these services have drag-and-drop UIs that let you choose exactly the elements you want to include, as well as image libraries in which you can store assets such as your logo or company photos. Tools that let you test your emails for spam are also essential since there are some seemingly innocuous terms that may send up red flags and drop all of your hard work into your subscribers' junk folders or, worse, get your emails banned before they ever reach their recipients.
No matter how effective the subject line you’ll always have subscribers who don’t open it for a variety of reasons. Send your email again specifically targeting a list segment of those who didn’t open the first time around. Not only is this a second chance in case they just missed the first email, it’s another opportunity to further split test subject lines as well as send times.
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