Now that you’ve probably seen, heard about or even tinkered with our new autoresponders, you’re probably as keen as mustard to use them for all they’re worth, in your own projects and those of your clients. On the heels of our announcement which explained what triggered email is and how you can use them in Campaign Monitor, lets look at some practical, real-world applications for autoresponders.

“Welcome aboard!”

Perhaps the simplest and most obvious application for autoresponders is the welcome email, which is automatically sent at a time specified after new subscriber signs up to your list. Here’s an example of Litmus‘ automated email to their new users:

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Notice how this one pulls information from the subscribers’ custom fields (ie. first name, account name). You can have a lot of fun with this, even theming the email based on favorite color or product purchased!

That said, we haven’t done away with our free welcome emails. However, if you want reporting and greater flexibility with what gets sent and when, then autoresponders are for you.

“It’s your birthday!”

Customer requests for autoresponders came in many shapes and forms, but the most popular request hands-down was to be able to send timed birthday emails, year after year. This made loads of sense to us, as birthdays are a great opportunity to send personalized greetings, or targeted offers like coupons and discounts. Who doesn’t love receiving a freebie on their birthday, anyway?

Say you’re a t-shirt store that offers discount coupon codes from time to time. You could line up an autoresponder to send the week before your subscribers’ birthday, suggesting that they forward an enclosed coupon code to their friends and relatives so they can buy a last-minute gift. Of course, the birthday boy or girl can simply use it for themselves.

“How are you enjoying our product?”

Back to the t-shirt store again. Thankfully, your coupons have had the desired effect – a subscriber has purchased a snazzy tee! You would like to see how they’re getting on with it – Does it fit right? Have the colors run? – so you could line up an email invitation to take part in a feedback survey, one week after purchase or delivery. Yep, autoresponders can do that for you.

Passively collecting customer satisfaction and feedback information with autoresponders is a great way to monitor your customers’ experience, as well as identify pain points over time. For example, you might find that your customers love your products upon purchase, but a week or month later, may have suggestions regarding how they can be improved.

Tip: We use Wufoo for our surveys and forms. They do a great job at synchronizing with subscriber lists, too!

“Your membership is about to expire…”

Now, you’re managing a gym that offers annual subscriptions to its members. A month before each membership expires, you want to send a reminder that it’s time to renew. That’s where autoresponders come in handy.

If you have a custom date field for “Membership Begins” in your subscriber list, you can set up a once-off autoresponder email to be sent, 11 months after this date. Each time this the subscription is renewed and the date changes, your subscriber can expect a reminder email 11 months later, like clockwork.

“Don’t forget our party!”

Regardless of whether it’s a sale, wedding or Wednesday-night drinks, nobody likes to miss an event. With autoresponders, you can automatically pop a series of event reminders via email, leading up to the big day.

For example, say you’re a wedding planner. You’ve got a subscriber list of soon-to-be-marrieds and wedding dates. You could line up a series of autoresponders containing planning tips, reminders as to when paperwork is due and maybe even a wedding countdown. The last one might totally freak a lot of couples out, but it’s an idea…!

Save the date (and the delivery fees)

Finally, lets talk about money. Prior to the release of autoresponders, there were a lot of customers sending out small, specialized campaigns in order to achieve some of the tasks listed above. The problem with this approach was that no matter how small or numerous the campaigns were, they came with a $5 delivery fee every send. Autoresponders cost only 1 email credit each (which is, 1c or less), meaning that not only can you now automate a variety of date- and event- based campaigns, but you can do away with the delivery fee, too.

I hope this post has given you folks a bit of inspiration for your own campaigns. We’ve already been impressed by the initiative and expertise that a growing number of our customers have shown through their welcome emails and the like, so we hope you too find a range of practical uses for autoresponders in your projects. Happy sending!

  • Vincent

    Great, been waiting for this a long time.
    Can we send an attachment within an autoresponder?

    Thinking about automating “sign-up to receive our free report” type scenario.

  • Ankit

    This is all I wanted always.
    Congrats Campaign Monitor, You are complete now. :)
    Ankit

  • Collin

    Ditto Vincent’s request above for attachments. (Although roughly the same object could be achieved with an otherwise hidden, somewhat cryptic URL the recipient clicks on to download the “free report”…)

  • Ross

    Awesome, I’ve been patiently waiting for autoresponders, have just setup a 3 step date driven series of emails and will be keen to see how effective they are at driving traffic and sales.

  • Andy Meadows

    I’ve been dreaming of this for ages. I hate the spam-friendly companies that offer this service. I’ve dreaded the thought of using them. Thanks to you, we can have this feature and not feel dirty and cheap.

    Now I can send email and still feel ok calling in the morning.

    You Complete Me,

    Andy

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Andy, we’ll always call you back first. We like to listen and never forget. At the cinema, we’ll buy the popcorn and let you hold the bucket throughout the film. Sometimes, we stare outside when we should be blogging profound, email-related thoughts into a leather-bound book. Before we know it, your name is on our lips.

    Thank you. We’re here for you always.

  • Jacques

    Excellent! This is a great addition to CM. I am wondering if anyone would like to share personal stories of other creative ways to use auto-responders.

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