“The Money’s In The List!”

You hear that all over in Internet marketing circles, and it’s partially true. Having people who have agreed to receive emails from you whenever you want to send them is a great thing. You can develop a relationship with your subscribers, develop trust, and sell them things. (The real money is in the search engine traffic that brings subscribers to your list, but that’s a different post.)

To have a list you need an autoresponder service. That’s the piece of software that allows subscription, handles sending confirmation messages, allow people to unsubscribe, and sends out your automated sequence of messages to new subscribers.

Not all autoresponders are created equal. It seems like each has a different mix of features. In this post I want to discuss those features that I consider to be essential for an autoresponder.

Subscriptions via Email

This feature allows people to subscribe by sending an email to a special address. Not that anyone really does this, but if you signup for co-registration services, they’ll use the special email to subscribe people. (A co-registration service is a place you can list your newsletter and people can say they’re interested in subscribing to the topic.) If you don’t plan on using coregistration services, then you don’t need this.

Customizable Thank You Page

The thank you page is where the users go to after they subscribe. If you can customize this page, you can alert people about white listing your email, you can try to sell them a one-time offer, etc. Some co-registration services work by having you specify their thank you page, so they can offer other newsletters the person may be interested in seeing.

Customization of emails

Some autoresponders have a framework of text in which your message sits. It’s nice to be able to customize the framework to make the emails seem more like personal communications, instead of official messages.

Delivery Rate

This is how many of the emails get delivered, and how many get blocked by spam filters. Confirmation emails especially should be deliverable since the person has to click the confirmation link to get onto your list. Emails blocked by spam filters aren’t earning you anything. Some autoresponders are great at being delivered, some are not.

Broadcasting

Now and then you’ll want to send an email that isn’t part of your automated series. Maybe there’s a time sensitive offer you want to send out. Being able to broadcast an email to your subscribers whenever you want is a good thing.

Link Tracking

This isn’t really an essential feature, but is nice to have. Link tracking tells you how many of your subscribers clicked on the links in the emails. Some autoresponders have the ability to tell you if a subscriber opened the email, even if they didn’t click on any links.

I’m sure there are features I’ve missed, but those cover quite a bit of ground. In future posts I’ll look at specific autoresponders, from free ones to professional grade ones. You may be surprised at how inexpensively you can get a quality autoresponder service.

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