Save Time, Make More Money: Automating Your Sales

    November 26, 2003

It’s going to be another long day. Your heart sinks as you stare at the dozens of emails sitting in your mailbox, awaiting your response. Most of them are asking for approximately the same information, yet you have to answer them all manually. You want to provide excellent customer service – which means no bulk email – and so you also need to respond within the same day.

But the very thought of wading through these emails makes your head throb.

As every online business person knows, answering emails like the above can be somewhat tedious. Heck, sometimes it’s downright agonizing!

This is where autoresponders can help.

Autoresponders are simply email addresses that automatically answer requests with a message that you create.

For example, if you had a website about pets, you could stick an autoresponder on your site saying, “Top 10 Considerations Before Choosing Your Pet” and ask for your visitor’s email address so that you can mail them the information.

Your autoresponder would automatically answer the email with the message you previously created – and without any additional effort from you! Not only that, but your visitor also gets the information he or she wants right away – no waiting for you to answer your email.

Autoresponders also have the potential of generating more interest in your message. Put up an autoresponder on your website, add a catchy headline, and you’ll attract more requests for information than you otherwise would have.

That said, choosing the right autoresponder can make a huge difference. Look for the following features:


There’s nothing worse than coming up with a great sales letter, only to have to edit it down.


Your autoresponder should reply to a request within a few minutes. Careful with this one; many autoresponders *claim* to answer emails within minutes, but few actually do.


You should be able to change your autoresponder message any time, and have it take effect immediately.


Success on the Internet depends in large part on experimentation, testing, testing, and more testing. That means you’ll be continuously trying to improve your autoresponder message; you shouldn’t have to pay for it.


Ideally, you want an autoresponder that will let you send follow-up messages to your prospects. It usually takes 7 or more exposures to a message before you can close a sale. For example, your main message is sent out immediately. Three days later, a follow-up message could be mailed out automatically, and two days after that a third message could be mailed out.


If someone requests a message from your autoresponder, then they should receive it. Period.


You should be able to view every request sent to your autoresponder, including the date of each request. This way you can place your autoresponder in various spots on your website, or promote your autoresponder using different methods and immediately know how well each is working.

___ABILITY FOR PEOPLE TO “OPT-OUT” *Every* autoresponder you use should give the recipient the option of removing himself or herself from your mailing list. If you don’t provide for this, you could very well be accused of spamming and ending up with a whole lot of trouble!

Your autoresponder should handle this automatically for you – the recipient of your mailing should be able to send an email to a specified address and your autoresponder immediately removes their address from your mailing list.


When someone sends an email to your autoresponder, whether it’s by filling out a form or by sending an email, they should get your message regardless of what’s in the ‘Subject’ line of their email. Some autoresponders require that the sender put a specific ‘code’ in the subject line in order to receive certain information.

*Don’t* use these; people make typos or forget or don’t follow instructions. Make it easy for your visitor to get the information he or she wants.


This is usually only applicable to paid autoresponders. If you’re paying for an autoresponder, you don’t want to commit to any long-term contract; businesses come and go all the time on the Internet, and there’s no guarantee that the autoresponder you’ve chosen will be around in the long term.

Free autoresponders are a popular choice, but the vast majority of them have one big drawback: They’re offered free because other advertisers pay to have their own message added to each message YOU send out. That means in addition to seeing YOUR sales message, the recipient also sees an advertisement for someone else’s product or service.

Now, this may be acceptable to you when you’re sending out purely information. If you’re trying to sell a product of your own, however, you might want to think of upgrading to a ‘premium’ version. Your sales can increase dramatically when your reader doesn’t have to view an ad for someone else’s products!

I’ve personally tried about half a dozen autoresponders. Most claimed to answer requests immediately (within a few minutes, at the most) … but I had some take as long as 3 DAYS to respond!

Not exactly what I had in mind when I wanted to offer “great customer service” …

Other autoresponders limited the size of my message. This was extraordinarily frustrating — after I’d sweated over THE perfect words, I found that I had to cut the message down just because my autoresponder wouldn’t allow me to send a message of that size.

The autoresponder I use now is fabulous. I’m very happy with it – it gives me a whole lot of benefits, including unlimited message size, unlimited number of autoresponders, and excellent response time. Of course it has a lot more than that … but those are the ones I was most concerned with.

If you don’t have an autoresponder, I’d suggest getting one now. And if you already have one, I’d suggest trying this one out. It has run very smoothly for me and I couldn’t be happier. You can get your free autoresponder from:


Take the time to carefully choose the right autoresponder. The right one can save you time … and increase your sales!

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Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a practical, down-to-earth guide to building an Internet business on a beginner’s budget. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the book! Visit or request a series of 10 free reports to get you started.