3 Ways to Ensure Your Autoresponder Messages Are Not Rejected

With great power comes great responsibility, or so we are told. Such is the case with autoresponders, the heart of e-mail marketing. No doubt they have revolutionized e-commerce and information marketing. However, as with so many great innovations, autoresponders are susceptible to abuse and misuse. Nothing represents irresponsible autoresponder use better than unsolicited commercial mail (UCE), and unsolicited bulk mail (UBE).

…Also known as spam.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate legitimate Internet marketers from spammers. The large internet service providers (ISPs) have sophisticated anti-spam technology that frequently traps proper messages; smaller businesses also employ spam filters. Today, standard practice within most e-mail systems is moving questionable messages into a ‘Spam’ folder or in some cases deleting them outright. No questions asked.

To ensure that autoresponder messages reach your subscribers’ Inbox safely, use the following three tactics:

1. Create a ‘White List’ Thank You Page.

Don’t assume that your list-building is safe after prospects enter their contact information into your opt-in page. Once they click your ‘Subscribe’ button, redirect them to a web page that gives clear instructions for confirming their request. If you are using a double opt-in procedure, tell them what to look for in your confirmation message’s From: and Subject: lines. Consider putting in specific instructions for getting onto Google (G-mail), Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN whitelists, since many subscribers use these services.

Even if new subscribers confirm their opt-in, remind them about whitelisting in your first (“Welcome”) message. It’s also a good idea to have your own accounts with large web-based e-mail clients, so that you can test and verify that your white-listing plan actually works.

2. Put each of Your Messages through a Spam Checker.

Successfully adding new subscribers and being placed on whitelists does not give you free reign to write e-mails as you please. Avoid your subscribers’ Spam box by pre-testing each message before scheduling it in your autoresponder. Several third party e-mail deliverability services include automatic checking software with your membership. Otherwise, consider downloading a leading spam checker; many are no-cost and web-based for convenient use. With experience, you will learn to recognize words, phrases, and writing styles that demand editing or in the extreme case, a complete rewrite.

3. Send Subscribers an Appropriate Mix of Content and Offers.

Internet marketers are regularly targeted as spammers, so it behooves you to do everything possible to maintain a good score with subscribers as well as their e-mail clients. After all, what’s the point of being white-listed and using spam checking software if you’re going to blow it with 100% hard sell e-mails? Stay true to your original intentions by demonstrating your expertise to readers, building real relationships, and making appropriate offers that solve problems. You will be doing the industry, list members, and yourself a great service.

A Beginner’s Guide To The Autoresponder

It’s generally true that the lifeblood of any online business is your email list. Therefore building an email list is something you need to be doing from the outset. List building can be a very simple process, if you have a few tools in place before you get started. One of the most important tools you are going to need is an autoresponder. Without an autoresponder building your list is going to be much harder if not impossible.

Fortunately, there are a few different autoresponders out there and they are generally easy and inexpensive to obtain, Some are even free. And most are extremely simple to use. You won’t need to outlay too much money to get started, nor will you need any specialised skills.

What Is An Autoresponder?

Autoresponders are messages set by you to go out automatically to your email list. They help you by automatically sending out emails and newsletters to recipients who have signed up to your list.

You can schedule each individual set of messages, (known as a campaign) to go out to your list in a sequence set out by you. You can decide what messages are sent by which campaign and even control the rate at which they are sent. For example you may want to send emails out to a new subscriber on days 1,2,3,4,5 then slow down the rate of emails to say day 7,10,14 etc. Autoresponders are invaluable because they enable you to write your messages in advance and they keep track of who they have sent them to and when.

They also give you a breakdown of how many of your recipients opened the messages, clicked on links etc.

The best autoresponders also give you the ability to create and manage newsletters, even providing you with hundreds of templates.

As you can see, an autoresponder service is really an essential part of your list building arsenal. Without it, you would find it almost impossible to collect and manage email addresses. It would also be a nightmare trying to keep track of what messages you have sent to each individual address.

There are two types of autoresponder services…

Self-Hosted Autoresponders

Self-hosted Autoresponders won’t normally cost you a monthly fee. They will usually have an upfront charge for the autoresponder itself. However, what you save initially may cost you later down the line because of problems that can arise when using this method.

First, with self-hosted autoresponders, you have a very real chance of all your messages getting delivered to your recipients spam folder. This is because a self-hosted autoresponder does not usually contain the ability to stop messages being filtered as spam.

Second, you will have to deal with any spam complaints you get by yourself. When you use a hosted service, they will usually handle any spam complaints you may get on your behalf. Also with a hosted service, you have the option to use double-opt. This ensures you will have extra protection in the event of any spam complaints.

Third, hosted services usually provide you with the ability to back up your lists should anything go wrong. With a self-hosted autoresponder this will be solely down to you to attend to. Add to that any maintenance you may need to carry out and all of a sudden the money you are saving may not seem such good value after all.

Hosted Autoresponder Services

Hosted autoresponder services are much less of a headache to use. Not only are they generally white-listed with most of the major ISP’s, but they also ensure you are protected in the event of any spam complaints you may get. They also have lots of extra useful features that you would not get with a self-hosted autoresponder.

There are numerous hosted services for you to choose from and each comes with their own pros and cons. If you have never used an autoresponder service before, it can be very difficult to decide which one is best suited to your own personal needs.

With this in mind, I’m going to give you a brief summery of the five most popular autoresponder services available today. You can then better decide which is the right one for you. Remember, once chosen you will usually have to stay with the same service for as long as you are running your business. If you decide six months down the line that you want to change your autoresponder, you will have the unenviable and somewhat complicated task of transferring your list to your new service.

Transferring your list to a new service can be a very time consuming and awkward job. Your new autoresponder service may even require you to ask all of your list to reconfirm their subscription. Best case scenario, this could take a long time, worst case you could lose a large chunk of your email list in the process.

Obviously, if you have spent the past six months building your list, this would be a major setback. So as you can see, it is important to choose the right autoresponder service from the start.

Popular Hosted Services

Aweber.com

Aweber has been the most popular autoresponder service for a very long time now. The reason is they are a very reliable service, with some great features and a price plan that will grow with your list. Therefor its not too expensive at the outset, in fact at the time of writing it’s free for 30 days then just $19 a month. As your list grows your monthly fee will increase. Aweber is also fairly easy to use and with access to over 700 templates and 6000 stock photos it is well worth considering. It also has a great has a great customer support system.

GetResponse.com

GetResponse is second only to Aweber in terms of popularity. They also boast some great features including a fairly substantial image library as well as over 500 templates. As with Aweber, Getresponse is simple to use and also has plans that will grow with your business. Starting at $10 a month they are cheaper than Aweber, and also offer the option of getting an 18% discount if you pay for 12 months in advance. Again at the time of writing they are offering a 30 day free trial.

iContact.com

Just like Aweber and Getresponse, iContact is offering a 30 day free trial. With packages starting at $14 a month they are competitively priced and with a 15% discount if you pay annually are well worth a look. They provide a very reliable service and although not as user friendly as Aweber and Getresponse their autoresponders are still very good. Add to this the fact that you can manage a list of up to 15,000 subscribers they offer a very enticing autoresponder service. Another great point to take into account is the ability to import your existing list and add contacts manually.

ConstantContact.com

Constant Contact also offers a free trial period, but unlike the others this is a 60 day trial. Like Aweber and Getresponse they offer a service that grows with your list, with packages starting at $20 a month. They also offer a good size image library, templates and a phone app. They are a little let down by the lack of features compared to Aweber and Getrsponse. But with a really good support network they certainly offer a a service worth considering.

MailChimp.com

Finally we have Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp is somewhat different to the other autoresponder services, because they offer a free service aimed at startups. If your list remains below 2000 you will not have to pay anything. After 2000 names on your list then you can go onto the paid plan which starts at $10 a month. However, with the free version you are limited to the features you have access to so you may want to start on the paid plan earlier in order to access the extra features.

Bottom Line

The autoresponders I have listed all have really good integration features and work really well with WordPress. As WordPress is used to build around 28% of all the websites on the internet, being able to integrate into this platform is an important feature.

Although I have listed what are probably the five most popular autoresponder services out there, that’s not to say you should disregard the others. By all means have a look at a few of these and decide for yourself. We all have different wants and needs and maybe you will find a service more suited to what you require.

Have you started using an autoresponder service yet? If so which one and how are you finding it? Do you use a self-hosted autoresponder? what problems have you faced and how have you overcome these?

Aweber Paid Autoresponder or Listwire Free Autoresponder?

Autoresponders are special software that respond to emails automatically. These tools are used for email marketing campaigns and to market your products. An important thing to keep in mind while designing this software is to prevent the emails from going into spam. So the question I get asked a lot is should I go for a Paid Autoresponder or Free Autoresponder?

For the purpose of this case study, I will be comparing Aweber (Paid Autoresponder) vs Listwire (Free Autoresponder).

Email list building is an important feature of all autoresponders. They are a vital key for the success of your marketing campaigns. By using Aweber, the biggest advantage that you have is that you get step by step instructions on list building and autoresponders, email marketing, and much more.

The customer service of Aweber is commendable. Also, Aweber makes sure that no spam complaints reach your ISP. This is really important as your ISP may block your IP address if it receives too many complaints. But the fact that it is a paid autoresponder shadows all the Aweber autoresponder benefits. Aweber was a very popular email autoresponder until its free competitor Listwire came along.

List building is done by four methods. List building offers incentives to your visitors for signing up. The key to successful list building includes making the visitors believe that the information you have is hundred percent accurate and genuine. Then the visitors need a reason to remain subscribed to your services and lastly the service should be keen on developing a healthy relationship with the subscriber. This is what list building is all about and what Aweber and Listwire services offer. List building is most useful to the visitors so it can be done two ways. Firstly by sending emails and secondly through broadcasting of blogs. Both methods provide invitations to the readers with every contact.

Listwire autoresponders has most of the features offered by the Aweber services but free of cost. Aweber has a monthly subscription of $19 per month whereas you can avail all the features of Listwire for free. The numbers of subscribers are unlimited on both services but Aweber charges a bit extra for making the subscribers unlimited.

I also feel that comparing the user interface of Listwire and Aweber autoresponder is also important. While creating web forms, there are more personalization options in Aweber. There are many good templates that we can choose from. Also, in Aweber, we can remove the tag that shows that the web form is powered by which company. We do not have that option in Listwire.

An important feature that an autoresponder needs to have is that it should schedule follow ups and successfully send campaigns through email. Both the autoresponders, namely Listwire and Aweber are equally successful in this regard.

Another Listwire benefit is that it integrates perfectly with PopUp Domination. We simply have to copy paste the URL of our web form into the plug in.

These were just some of the comparison areas of the Aweber paid autoresponder vs Listwire free autoresponder. Aweber autoresponder benefits are many but when you see that majority of the benefits are available from Listwire without any charges then you tend to vote for Listwire.

Aweber is great for businesses but for new entrepreneurs, you can start off and learn a lot from Listwire.

However, bear in mind that once you have built your list to a bigger size and decide to transfer, reputable third-party autoresponder services won’t let you import your list from Listwire or any free autoresponder without having them reconfirm. You will likely to lose half to two-thirds of your list in the transfer. Also, prepare to have their own ads send out together with your outgoing emails which could be a turnoff to your list.