Thursday, March 19, 2009

Email Autoresponder Service Strategies - How to Choose the Autoresponder That Best Meets Your Needs

By Elisabeth Kuhn

Do you really need an autoresponder? You do. An email autoresponder service that helps you build and automate your mailing list will be at the heart of your online business. The question is, which one should you choose?

First, you need to decide between your two major options:

Shopping Cart System versus Straight Autoresponder

If you have any plans at all to sell digital products now or in the future, you may want to get an integrated shopping cart system that includes an autoresponder, such as 1shoppingcart, that you can upgrade to provide space for all of your products and hook them up to a payment and delivery system. You can even set up an affiliate system with it eventually (for an upgrade).

Almost anyone can benefit from such a shopping cart system - even if you only need the basic version, you can just stick with that and that'll be a fairly inexpensive solution for you. You get up to 10,000 contacts before they charge you more than their basic fee. That's a lot of customers! And no extra charges for numbers of different mailing lists -- or numbers of mailings.

If you have an offline business, on the other hand, and you don't believe you will ever want to sell digital products, there is another choice, and as an autoresponder it's even more user friendly than the shopping cart: Aweber, a company that provides outstanding autoresponders all by themselves.

However, depending on your budget, you might want to know that Aweber may be less expensive initially but it also may be best if you don't expect your list to grow very big because they start charging quite a bit more fairly quickly, and they also count names more than once if they're on multiple lists. With Aweber, if one name is on five lists, it will count as five names towards your maximum for any given level. With 1shoppingcart, you can have the same name on 10 different lists, and it will still just count as one name.

Other autoresponder options

There are other autoresponder service options, including Getresponse and iContact. Here are a couple of questions you should ask if you consider them:

Will you be able to have people sign up for different mailing lists, for example if they purchase multiple products that each come with their separate follow-up system? That could be an issue with Getresponse, which works great for capturing leads (and is quite inexpensive) but may not be the best option if you want the option of having the same person on multiple lists. It also has less flexibility than either of the above options.

Do they charge extra if you send out a lot of big mailings? This can be an issue with iContact, which gets much more expensive very quickly as your contact list grows and you send out bigger mailings.

And last but not least -- can you track open rates, and if so, how difficult is it? The easier it is to track, the better you're able to adjust your email marketing campaigns for best effects.

Either way, if you're not sure which one to choose, you should give several of the options a whirl to see which one you like best. The one thing to remember is this: You must have an autoresponder, and preferably a reputable one.

Because if you don't and attempt to send those emails from your own server, you're not only making lots of needless work for yourself, but you're also courting big trouble. A few spam complaints, and you're out of business. Professional autoresponder services basically force you to set things up correctly, so you're at much less risk.

Last but not least, there's the deliverability issue: All the reputable autoresponder services have an excellent deliverability record. And in the age of spam filters, that's a key asset. After all, what good is the best email campaign when nobody sees it!

Ready to try out an autoresponder? Here's a 30-day FREE trial for the best integrated shopping cart system to get you started

And for more great tips, tricks, and how-to advice, check out Elisabeth Kuhn's FREE e-courseInternet Marketing Step-by-Step with lots of info on affiliate marketing, article marketing, and more on

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