Thursday, January 18, 2007

How To Use An Autoresponder Effectively With Your Home-Based Business

Do you use an autoresponder with your home-based business? If not, this useful tool can save you tons of time. Plus, it's a great way to keep in contact with your customers and clients. Here is why this is so.


If you've reached the point of exhaustion trying to keep up

with answering the mountain of emails that threatens to

bury you alive every single day, you're ready to learn

about autoresponders.

The bad news is that people expect prompt replies to their

email inquiries. However, unless you can figure out how to

work continual twenty-four hour shifts, or hire enough

people to constantly monitor incoming emails (while they're

eating up your revenue), you have a problem. The good news

is an autoresponder is an inexpensive - or even free -

method of quickly responding to emails. What these programs do is

automatically respond to incoming emails as soon as they are received.

Emails are essential to your business for many different

reasons. Most importantly, these invisible email voices

give you their feedback about your website - for free!

However, if you spend all your working hours answering

these emails, how are you supposed to run your business?

The answer is simple: use autoresponders. Autoresponders

are programs that automatically respond to your emails

without you so much as having to click on your mouse.

There are a number of good reasons why you need an

autoresponder besides just answering your email. For

example, autoresponders can be used if you need a way to

send information about your services or products, price

lists, or if there are repeated questions asked across

large numbers of emails. Maybe you want to offer your site

visitors a special bonus of some kind, such as advice or

relevant articles. All of this can be handled by an

autoresponder. Additionally, you can advertise your

business and then build stable relationships with your

customers by using autoresponders.

Autoresponder programs vary from software that runs with

your email program to a specialized script that runs on

your web hosting company's server. This kind of script may

use a web page form or simply operate with your email

account. This kind of script is programmed to send out a

standardized message whenever an email is received. The

message is sent to a particular script or email address.

Some autoresponders can do more than simply send out

standardized messages. They can send out an unlimited

number of follow-up messages sent at predetermined interval

of time. For example, you can set your autoresponder to

send out a new message every day for as long a period as

you desire.

There are numerous companies who offer autoresponders free

of charge. Your website hosting company often provides

autoresponders as a free service. If this is not the case

with your web hosting company, there are numerous companies

who offer this service for a small fee, or free of charge,

providing you attach an advertisement for their company to

your emails.

To personalize your autoresponder messages, you can attach

a signature. Signatures in this case are much like business

cards. You can include your name, company, all your contact

numbers and addresses, and a brief message.

It's a good idea to attach a signature to every email that

is sent out. This works as a repeated reminder of your

business identity every time a customer sees it. The more

they look at your signature, the more likely your company

will spring to mind when your particular service or product

is needed.

You can create a standardized signature that every employee

in your business uses, or you can go wild, and let every

staff member create their own personal signature. Of

course, like everything in life, there are some rules and

guidelines to creating a personal signature.

Keep the length of your signature between four to six lines

of text, with no more than 70 characters in a single line. Make sure that

your email program does not cut off your

text! The content should include your name, your company

name, your email address, fax number, and any other contactdetails,

such as 800 numbers. Lastly, always include ashort personal message

about your company. It should be asubtle sell of your services or your products,

and possiblyyour company's reliability and longevity.

Another specialized use of autoresponders is to create

courses that you can then offer your site visitors for

free. You must choose a topic in which you are an expert

and that precisely targets your potential customers.

Once you have carefully chosen your subject, divide it into

a number of different sub-topics. Then offer your site

visitor a free 10 or 15 day course, each day offering a

different sub-topic. The first topic should always be a

welcome message to your site visitor and an explanation

about what is to follow. Your explanation should be

enticing, getting the point across that you are offering

free, quality information that your target audience will

find of great value.

With every lesson, include the number of the lesson, the

topic title, information about your company and its

services or products. At the end, include a few blurbs

about the next lesson to entice the subscriber to continue

on.

Make sure each topic is packed with essential and valuable

information, and leaves the visitor lusting to know more.

Otherwise, you may lose them in the very beginning.

Of course, you have to write up your course before you can

offer it. Once you have done this, and gone over the

material carefully, employing a professional writer or

editor if necessary, you must transfer your text to your

autoresponder.

There are a number of free autoresponders you can use. Try

http:/www.getresponse.com, or http://www.fastfacts.net. Or

go onto Google and you will find a long list of free

autoresponder companies. Then sign-up for your chosen

autoresponder. Once you do, you will receive instructions

as to how to set it up and transfer your text.

Email is an excellent marketing tool; it is inexpensive and

it is fast. Use it to advertise your business by choosing

your email address carefully. Your website should contain

different email addresses for different contact requests.

For example, use info@yourdomain.com for information

requests, or sales@yourdomain.com for questions about

sales. It's a good idea to set up one for the owner, such

as president@yourdomain.com. This presents your company in

a personal, approachable light and insures that direct

contact is provided.

Autoresponders are an effective and powerful marketing

tool, allowing you to make contact with thousands of

potential customers. This is an invaluable asset

considering how many potential customers you usually have

contact with before you make an actual sale. Essentially,

an autoresponser allows you to automate part of your

marketing campaign.

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