How An Autoresponder Made My Life Easier

Published by 10 Comments

I recently made one aspect of my online business more efficient. This technique demonstrates the power of an email autoresponder. In this case I turned something that used to be a relatively mundane manual business annoyance into a resource. Best of all it took about 10 minutes to get set-up and it’s been doing a great job ever since.

What Are Autoresponders?

If you don’t know what an autoresponder is go ahead and read an article I wrote a few months ago about the subject – Using Autoresponders To Grab Clients. In a nutshell, autoresponders are email capture and broadcast tools that allow you to stay in touch via email with people that opt-in to receive communication from you. All the emails are set-up to be sent automatically at specific time intervals so you don’t have to do anything once the initial work is complete. They can also be used to manage newsletters.

My original article on autoresponders is due for an update and in fact I have plans for two more articles on autoresponders because I believe they are one of THE most crucial elements to success online. If you currently run any online enterprise then you need to be using them. My original article recommended the Marketer’s Choice system but I have since changed my autoresponder service of choice to Aweber. I’ll be explaining why in another article but put simply I believe Aweber to be the best autoresponder available by far and happens to be a lot more affordable than Marketer’s Choice if all you need is comprehensive email autoresponding (Marketer’s Choice also has a shopping cart, affiliate module and a bunch of other stuff that I currently don’t need).

A Common Problem

I bet a lot of online service providers have the same problem I had – random strangers soliciting for employment. Many a time I have answered my phone to the question “Is this BetterEdit?” to which I respond positively, excited about the potential new client I may be speaking to, only to be disappointed two seconds later when I hear the line “I’m looking for proofreading work” or a two minute life story that is supposed to convince me to hire them immediately. The same situation was repeated on email almost every other day with a random application sitting in my inbox.

I have nothing against people looking for employment, I think it’s great they are being proactive. In fact I can’t really label this a real ‘problem’ since every six months or so I do hire new staff. The issue was the random nature of the queries that often annoyed me and that I had no good way to control it. I felt bad for the poor (often literally) soles desperate plea for work that I simply couldn’t help. I hire only two times per year and while I wish I had enough work to always need more editors it’s just not the case.

The Solution

After signing up with Aweber and moving my old mailing lists to the new system I started hunting around for places where an autoresponder could enhance my current systems. The first place that came to my was the recruitment section of my website. I had in a place a page that described our hiring policies, stating we only look for new staff twice a year but that didn’t seem to stop the random queries. In most cases I kept the emails in a folder and when it came time to hire individually emailed each person that had contacted me. A laborious activity ripe for an autoresponder.

The implementation was easy. I set up a new autoresponder with a basic name and email address opt-in form that prompted potential applicants to join the announcement list for notification of when I hire new staff. Upon signing up the first email reiterates our usual hiring practices and they can rest assured they will know if any job openings become available.

Many Benefits

From my point of view I gained a fantastic list for recruitment purposes. I will never have a problem finding staff with a list of editors eager for work at my finger tips. I send a broadcast email to the list, collect applications and choose the best using our usual hiring process.

The amount of random employment solicitations has dropped significantly. I still get the occasional phone call from an extra eager bunny and direct them to the web form to sign up to the list. This makes the recruitment process much easier to control.

An unexpected benefit, one that I haven’t made use of yet but may one day be an opportunity, is the potential to monetize the list. Currently my job openings list is growing faster than any other list on my site. I get close to double the amount of people looking for work than potential customers signing up, which is the nature of the industry at the moment (the supply/demand relationship is not good for editors and proofreaders).

My list is not only great for HR but is also a steadily building targeted mailing list. Now I understand that I can’t abuse this list as a spammer and send out product announcements every week, but if I find something that can really help people looking for editing work it might be appropriate to use my list. For example I may produce an ebook designed to teach proofreaders how to land contract work online, a how-to guide to using Elance to get work perhaps, and sell it through my list. Or perhaps I could use it as a recruitment service for other proofreading companies, sending job announcements to the list in exchange for a commission for filling positions. These are hypothetical situations, but clearly the potential exists and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity if I didn’t use an autoresponder to control this aspect of my business.

Systematic Communication

I am totally convinced of the value of targeted mailing lists. Businesses thrive and grow on their ability to communicate with people. The more people you can reach with your message the more customers you can get. If as an online business owner you are still using manual communication techniques to stay in touch with your prospects and clients take a step back and see where an autoresponder could take over the job for you and create a valuable mailing list at the same time.

Yaro Starak

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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10 Comments

  • I hate auto-responders, unless it’s a confirmation email saying that I successfully did something, which aren’t really auto-responders.

    I hate when I email a company or someone, trying to get an actual response, and then the email I get back is just junk from the company.

    I do think that if there was contextual responders, like if my email had the words “Better Edit” and “Employment” in it then it would send a prewritten email saying, Thanks for the email and your interest in Better Edit, at this time we are not hiring anyone. Thanks. If you emailed us about something else and please forward your original email to improvethesystem@betteredit.com.

    If there was a sort of system like that, where it would get better and better, then I’d be okay with it.

    Or, the other alternative, is if the email that is the “auto responder” email is actually informative and answers my questions.

    But mostly, if I take the trouble to write and ask some questions or apply for a job, 1. I’m gonna do my research and try and find it on the site BEFORE I go and email. Email as a last resort is sort of my method. So if I’m at my last resort, I want a human response. I honestly don’t care if it takes a few weeks for someone to get back to me, if I email someone with something legit, I think, especially companies or people who are ‘selling something’ should feel like they should get back to a customer/potential customer.

    but that’s my dice.

    But I’m totally with you on mailing lists. Very very helpful.

  • Yaro,

    Great information. I too am about to setup email lists on one of my online businesses. I’ve always thought of doing, but never have.

    I’ll try them out as an experiment and see what happens!
    -Neville

  • Yaro, the solution you’ve come up with sounds like a great timesaver.

    Daniel’s post above seems to imply that if someone contacts you about employment then you have a sort of obligation to get back to them (apologies if I’ve misconstrued Daniel’s comment), but you and I know that that is not always possible, nor a particularly productive use of your time.

    I think I’ll go ahead and implement the same idea on my site…

  • Nathan

    Reading that sparked a memory of a program Leo Laporte (on Twit) talked about at one stage. When he gets an email he simply has to enter in a few characters or similar and up pops a message which is less personal than hand writing the message, but more personal than an auto-response.

    So Yaro, if you find you keep getting many emails about a particular topic and find you tend to reply in the same manner, then you could find one of these programs (none in mind atm), type some preset messages and simply type a few characters to bring up that message…. this would be good for those emails which can’t be replied to via auto-responder or similar.

    cheers

  • Autoresponders are a Godsend!

    They basicly make the life of a online marketer very very easy on the customer end of it…

    faster too!

    As far as developing targeted mailing lists I am about to release a product that will have that as one of the features.

    If you need to know more about it Yaro, just email me.

  • In response to Nathan, there are some great ways to set up your email client to do what you were suggesting. I’m on a Mac, so I use Mail but Outlook probably does the exact same thing. First, you can set up a draft which is a standardized email you can send whenever someone is seeking repititive information, such as prices, employment etc..

    Another thing I do to keep my mail organized is to set up mailbox rules, so if I get an email from ebay it goes to one folder, amazon another. in Yaro’s case he would set up a BetterEdit folder. Then you can funnel the emails further, so that if it has BetterEdit in the message title it goes to one folder and employment anywhere in the message it goes to a sub folder within the BetterEdit folder. Hope this all makes sense and if you have any questions feel free to email.
    Thanks

  • Weekend Quickies and Wrap Up

    I had a fun week this week. First off, we all watched the implosion of the JOAB/Scrivs/FineFool/9Rules fiasco (I can now add Blogebrity to that) …what a train wreck that was!!!.
    That great man himself, Scrivs, wrote a quite witty and colorful a…

  • [...] How An Autoresponder Made My Life Easier [...]

  • I know this thread is as old as the hills but i’m gonna say this anyway…..

    I just signed up as an affiliate at http://www.rssresponse.com and now I can use 1 free campaign with unlimited documents and unlimited subscribers. This means I can put all my tutorials inside this campaign and have them delivered directly to poeple who pay for my subscription on my CMS site.

    This has saved me hours and hours of work/day.
    Check it out if I were you.

  • So true.

    before you have it, you don’t see the need.

    once u got it, you can’t see how you got by without it….

    ironic….:)

    pj

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