Thanks to technology, business now takes place 24 hours a day on a global scale. Because of that, establishing systems that can automatically respond to current or potential client inquiries halfway around the world is essential to an enterprise’s survival in the marketplace.
Known as autoresponders, these software and web-based services are readily available and are particularly useful for businesses that employ email marketing campaigns. Their primary function is to send emails automatically in response predetermined triggers or events. Whether it is welcoming a new subscriber to your blog, monthly newsletters, or information about your latest product release, or pushing out emails en masse an autoresponder service is exactly what you need. But just like anything else on the internet, how can you be sure to choose the best autoresponder service?
Well, to start, it really depends on what type of business you are operating. Some autoresponders work better than others for different kinds of businesses – if your business is run on or integrated with a WordPress platform, such as a monetized blog site, for instance, different autoresponder services will offer WordPress plug-ins for a more seamless integration.
Regardless of the type of business you have though; there are some fundamental elements you should seek out – ones that any reputable autoresponder will have already thought to provide. The first of which is an easy to navigate user platform. By design, autoresponders are supposed to make your life easier, and that means a user interface that is intuitive, user-friendly, and full of pre-designed templates for every messaging need.
A robust menu of templates should be available, and because every business is different, they must be easily personalized and customizable, down to the smallest details while presenting a professional appearance. People today receive so many spammy emails that if yours appears to be cheap or sketchy, it will be marked as junk and deleted rather than being acted upon. That means preview and editing tools should also be available to screen your messages for typos or errors that could cost you clientele.
Another critical utility you’ll need to look for in an autoresponder service is an analytic or reporting tool that tells you what happens to your messages. Whether a person clicks on a link in your email, deletes it without reading it, or clicks and converts into a buyer all matter when targeting the right people in a sales funnel or during an advertising campaign. Understanding how each message is performing helps to thin your email list of non-converting hangers-on and pushes your content out to the right viewers. It also helps to monitor which types of content work best so you can tailor future messages and campaigns.
And speaking of email lists, the best autoresponders make creating and managing email lists a breeze. Once your business starts to grow, managing all the different email campaigns in addition to newsletter subscribers, new subscription welcome notes, and free lead-generation downloads can quickly become overwhelming.
Lastly, creating rules, timelines, and triggers for each type of message your autoresponder will be sending out should be as easily navigable as possible. If the process is convoluted and time-consuming to set up, it’s probably a good idea to look for a platform with a better arrangement that simplifies the process.
Now that you know what to look for from an autoresponder service, which are the best autoresponder providers out there? You can almost answer this question yourself if you go through your personal email account and watch the links as they open in your web browser, or scroll to the very bottom of the email where it might say “Proudly powered by…”
Most of the time, MailChimp, Aweber, and ConvertKit will be the services you’ll see. And that’s for a good reason; they simply offer the best services, tools, management options, and results at the best prices. In fact, Mailchimp offers business with fewer than 2,000 subscribers the ability to send 12,000 messages each month for free – forever. Grow to more than 2,000 customers though, and you’ll have to pay. Converkit’s plans start at $29 per month for fewer than 1,000 subscribers, and Aweber offers a free 30-day trial with its beginner plan at $19 monthly, for up to 500 subscribers.
There are hundreds of different autoresponders out there, so ultimately, the best choice is the one that works best for you and your business. Explore a few of them and see how they “feel” when setting up your account and customizing a few templates. If it seems too complicated or there aren’t support services in place to assist you, move on to a different platform. The three mentioned here, however, are widely known for their intuitive user interfaces, always available tech support, and excellent customer service.