09 FebCreating an effective AutoResponder

Creating an effective AutoResponder message to email to those who contact you can be a tremendously powerful marketing tool. It can open the door to deeper, more meaningful connections and give people a quick and pleasant introduction to YOU and what you offer the world.

I’m not talking about a way of delivering a ‘course’ by email or a ‘drip’ email campaign. I’m talking about a ‘handshake’ of sorts… a thank you and an invitation that is at once uniquely you and powerfully effective at branding you while also creating a personal connection with the person on the other side of the screen.

An “effective” AutoResponder?

Perhaps the simplest way to begin to illustrate this is to share my own simple autoresponder message. If you send an email to me at joshua [at] joshuaguffey.com you’ll receive back some version of the following:

Thanks for your email. I must confess that I probably haven’t had the opportunity to review it just yet, as this message should have made it’s way to your inbox only moments after clicking ‘Send’ on an email you composed to me.

I wanted to let you know that I got your message and invite you to call me if your matter is urgent. I get a great deal of email each day and it is possible that I’ll require a couple of days to respond to you.  You can reach me on my mobile at 619-555-1212 by text or call.

If you’d like to connect further you can find me on LinkedIn for a professional connection or check out My Newest Thing for a more personal connection.

Thanks again for reaching out to me. I’ll get back to you shortly and hopefully we can make a connection.

Warm regards,
Joshua Guffey

Be Deliberate with your AutoResponder

What did I just do there? And what should you do with yours?

It’s different for each person. For me I don’t want to ‘sell’ or ‘push’ anything but rather create more of a connection. That’s true for me in my situation and for my purposes. It may not be true for you. Perhaps your ‘thing’ is a low-cost, impulse-buy product that buyers are likely to purchase in the first hour of internet research. In this case you’ll likely want to capitalize on that timing.

Whatever your goals and intentions are for your business or your brand, this is your opportunity to stand out at a point where it really counts.

Think about what frame of mind a visitor of yours may be in and consider why they’re on your site or contacting you to begin with. Think about what you’d like to leave them with as a first impression and write what you feel will highlight what you’re looking to bring extra awareness to.

If you’re a service provider it’s likely that creating a deeper, more meaningful connection will be a useful function for this first email.

AutoResponder Setup

There are a variety of ways to setup an autoresponder depending upon the email client that you use. I’d recommend using an email address hosted at your domain and running your autoresponder  from there if you can manage it. If not, there are options for auto-responders in most popular hosted email providers such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Just run a web search for “autoresponder yahoo (or your web mail service)” and follow the trail.

The setup will vary some in clients like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo versus your own hosting server setup.  If you can’t swing it yourself you can always contact me for help setting it up.

Other uses for AutoResponders

Here are a few more ideas for inclusion in your autoresponder :

  • Your contact details and social links if that feels appropriate
  • A vCard with all your details that can be easily imported into a person’s contacts
  • A quality image of you exuding a joyous smile or taking some powerful action (typing? ;)
  • A QR code to entice the reader to view a video or take some other action on their mobile phone
  • A question for the reader that can spark a discussion and further connection
  • A video introduction for the reader “Hi, I’m Josh. You’re awesome. Let’s connect.”
  • Answer common questions that you get at that email address or blog
  • Provide additional resources that will benefit your readers / customers
  • Seasonal themes or content that will grab your reader with its relevance
  • A map to your business location and a link for directions
  • A link to your current inventory or promotion
  • An embedded sign up form for inclusion in a promotion, a give-away or just to follow your blog
  • A plug for a friend’s quality product in which you have true admiration and which is relevant to the reader
  • A relevant inspirational quote that inspires your reader in a direction that is in line with your business or brand

I suggest that you save all current and previous autoresponder for future use, reworking and general reference.

Another useful approach is to create an autoresponder for different marketing channels

Further AutoResponder examples

  • friday@soupshack.com (delivers Friday’s soup of the day)
  • menu@joesawesomeshrimp.com (delivers a menu directly to the reader with a coupon)
  • media-appearances@bieberbites.com
    (not sure what this one would be for but it sure sounds fun)

These are just a few silly examples, but the principle is quite effective.  And don’t worry, all of these inbound email addresses can funnel seamlessly into your primary email and still deliver targeted auto-responders for specific purposes.

Limit the sending of AutoResponders

Another good feature to utilize is the option to limit your autoresponder to going out to each person only once in a given time period. Its sometimes also a good idea to only setup these type of permanent-use autoresponders on ‘auxillary’ email addresses that forward into your primary.

These measures will prevent a person from getting your autoresponder over and over again with each new message to you.

An “effective” AutoResponder? > YES!

In my experience the resultant traffic sent to a website from an autoresponder is highly engaged. These visitors stay longer, read more and are more apt to complete actions on your website such as order a product or service you offer.

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Joshua Guffey

Project Manager at Dependable Data Services
Father. Husband. Search Marketing Professional. Conversion Optimization Consultant. Love Rumi.
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