The answer is a definite… maybe. Or perhaps… it depends…
It really does depend on how your promoting your business. If you have a fair number of clients and it would benefit you to send them a newsletter or some other communication on a regular basis, an autoresponder can make your life much simpler.
What is an auto responder?
Although I understand that definition I don’t think it really explains it very well.When for example, you sign up for my newsletter, you fill out a form and when you click send, you are actually sending an email to my autoresponder service, Get Response.
In my case, three things happen when you click the send it button:
1. Your name and email address are sent via an email to my autoresponder service.
2. You are transferred to a page that allows you to download the free ebook.
3. My autoresponder service sends an email to the email address you entered into the form, with a message to you asking you if you really want a subscription to my newsletter.
You’ve got to confirm you want the newsletter before it will be sent to you. That’s called a double opt-in system and it’s designed to reduce spam. Once you confirm you want the newsletter, your email address goes into a database and the next time I send a newsletter out, you’ll get one because you’re now on my list.
And that’s the magic of an auto responder service. It creates and maintains a database for you, allowing you to send out newsletters, product offers, or email efficiently to a group of people who want to hear from you.
How can freelance writers use an autoresponder?
The most obvious use for an auto responder is some form of newsletter. If you’ve got a website or a blog, setting up a newsletter is pretty easy. You put a form on your site and people sign up.
Your newsletter can be daily, weekly, monthly, every six months or whatever you want. It doesn’t even have to appear on a regular schedule. Consider these ideas:
- You’ve written one or more ebooks and want to sell them. A newsletter gives you a way to remind people the ebook is for sale.
- You want a way to easily stay in touch with clients; a newsletter issued quarterly is an ideal way to do that.
- You want to offer a class. If you’ve got an email list it’s easy to promote it.
- You teach a face-to-face class and you want to give your students a way to be notified of new classes and products.
- You’re doing book signings. An autoresponder on your website let’s you notify fans where you’ll be appearing next.
- You’ve got a blog and you realize a weekly or monthly newsletter is an ideal way to bring traffic back.
Do you begin to see the possibilities? Any time you want to communicate the same message to a group of people, an autoresponder is a huge help.
What autoresponder to you recommend for writers?
I use GetResponse. They have been around a long time, which reassures me. And now creating the look and feel of a newsletter or a form for you website is easy. Plus, they do an excellent customer support by both live chat and phone.
Another good one is AWeber. No, I haven’t used them but I know several people I trust who do and they tell me the love it.
How much will an autoresponder cost me?
This is another it depends answer, and it does. Most, maybe even all, autoresponders now charge by the number of emails you send per month. If you have 500 folks on your list and you email them weekly that’s 500 X 52 /12 or 2167 – be sure you take into account both the size of your current list and your anticipated growth.
Many autoresponders offer additional features, like A/B testing and custom designed templates. Those will cost extra so consider their value to you carefully.
Got any questions about autoresponders? Ask me and I’ll do my best to answer
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