Starting your own business can be confusing and expensive. There are so many things you need to invest in, from software to equipment and all those varying price tickets in between. You need to be sensible with your money and distinguish between the want list and the essential list, just until the clients are there… so is that autoresponder program REALLY that essential?
In simple terms, an autoresponder is a program that sends out a set of responses to each email address on a list. This means you can write emails and newsletters ahead of time and, when someone signs up to your mailing list, it will send out that prewritten content, staggered to suit the timescales, days and times of your choosing.
You can create a simple opt-in box, add it to your website and collect names and addresses to add to your mailing list. The autoresponder program will then send each new contact your set responses. There is no limit to how many emails and/or newsletters you load onto your autoresponder program, nor to the frequency of interaction (unless your autoresponder provider has limitations on the particular package you’ve chosen).
Why you need an autoresponder
All businesses need to build a mailing list of suitable contacts. This contact list is valuable to you – these contacts are people who have shown an interest in what you have to offer and may want to purchase (or have already purchased) something from you. The autoresponder program gives you an easy way to slowly build a relationship with all of these clients, over a period of time.
The different choices for autoresponder programs
There are three popular choices available to you, when selecting an autoresponder program:
- Get Response
They’ll all give you free templates to help you design your email and newsletter campaigns and luckily, most autoresponder providers will also have different level programs to suit your budget and the size of your mailing list – so here are the better-known options:
MailChimp has four pricing plans – Forever Free, Monthly, Pay As You Go and High Volume. The Forever Free plan is great for any small business that has a mailing list of less than 2,000 names. The only real downside to the free plan is you cannot schedule emails to go out at a future date – you can only send out broadcast emails (manually hit send once you’re ready to send them). You also can’t send more than 2,000 emails (in total) in any 24 hour period.
Pricing options for the Monthly plans vary, depending on your list size, but start at only $10 a month, making it an affordable option for most small businesses. You can then start scheduling emails for future dates and can send as many emails as you like, within each billing cycle.
The only thing to note – If you have a larger mailing list, MailChimp can get quite expensive.
You can check out MailChimp here.
AWeber starts at $19 a month for 500 subscribers – so it’s more expensive than MailChimp – however it can work out slightly cheaper for those with larger lists (of over 10,000).
You can check out AWeber here.
Get Response is the only UK based autoresponder provider on our list, but it has competitive prices. With a basic account starting from £10 a month (for up to 1,000 subscribers) and all pricing options include unlimited emails. As with both MailChimp and AWeber, Get Response gives you access to designable sign up forms – but it also gives you landing page options too – taking it more into the realms of the landing page software giants like Lead Pages and Infusion Soft.
You can check out Get Response here.
As with any software, you really need to be able to test out each option to see which one best suits your needs – and with free and/or low priced options available, all three platforms make that easy for you – so which one will you choose?
I hope this post has answered your common questions around the importance of an autoresponder program. Which option did you opt for – or which are you already using? Why not share your experiences in the comments box below?
Stock images © aihumnoi & bahrialtay/Dollar Photo Club