An autoresponder is a software tool which automatically sends email messages. Most email clients, like Outlook and GMail, have an ‘out of office’ or ‘vacation’ autoresponder built in. This kind of autoresponder sends out a simple message, along the lines of ‘Sorry, Mike isn’t in the office today. You can reach him on his cell phone’.
Marketers are more interested in ‘sequential autoresponders’, which allow a number of messages to be queued and sent at intervals, for instance once a week or once a month.
With these kinds of autoresponders, you can write a whole year’s worth of messages – 12 or 26 or 52, depending on how often the’re sent – reminding your subscribers that you exist, making offers, letting them know about your business.
Most autoresponder services also allow ‘broadcast’ messages, sent to everyone on the list either right now, or at a particular date and time. If you want to advertise your April sale, you can set up a message that will automatically be broadcast at the beginning of April.
One way to use an autoresponder service is to set up a regular fortnightly or monthly educational message, to keep your subscribers ‘warmed up’, and send a broadcast when there’s something special to announce.