An autoresponder is a script that automates email replies. The script is triggered by user actions either on a site or when a user sends an email directly to another email with an autoresponder in place.
Confirmation emails constitute the most common example of autoresponders, but they have a variety of uses. For example, you’ll usually receive an autoresponder when you’ve:
- Signed up for an email newsletter
- Created a support ticket
- Purchased an item on a website
- Changed a setting on an account
- Emailed a colleague who is out of town and received an “away message.”
Autoresponders in email marketing
Marketers use autoresponders to streamline their campaigns and cut down on the amount of work they do. For example, rather than emailing each individual who signs up for a newsletter, an autoresponder may send out a welcome email that other scripts have personalized.
However, as autoresponders have gotten more complex, marketers now use them in broader ways to maintain contact with subscribers. For example, you can create triggers for autoresponders that send out messages to:
- Wish users happy birthday
- Cross-sell when someone buys a specific product
- Alert users to membership renewals or expirations
- Reconnect with customers who have been inactive for a set time
- Re-engage customers who may have abandoned a cart
- Remind someone that they haven’t finished a profile, survey, or other activity
In marketing, autoresponders take on a different dimension. They can trigger according to the data you already have.
How to measure the effects of email marketing autoresponders
You can measure the impact of your autoresponders through the same metrics as your other email marketing efforts. However, the nature of autoresponders means you won’t be looking over every single email that gets deployed. Therefore, we recommend you measure the effects of email marketing autoresponders through:
- How well they perform in A/B testing. Autoresponders are one tool out of many to deploy in email campaigns. Use A/B testing to test autoresponders against other types of emails. If your autoresponder isn’t performing as well as other methods, it likely isn’t the right one for that particular use.
- How well they support the rest of your campaign. Rather than applying autoresponders to every possible application, use them to support the other parts of your campaign. For example, a quick and automated welcome email is more useful than an autoreply every time someone responds to your newsletter. Autoresponders should ultimately reduce your workload while leaving customers feeling like you’ve connected with them personally.
Does it really matter?
Automated emails get 152% higher click rates than other types of emails.
This may seem counterintuitive, but automation actually drives higher engagement rates. Why?
Autoresponders can cut down the amount of work that an email campaign requires, while still maintaining the high degree of personalization that drives open and click-through rates. In an ideal situation, your readers don’t know the difference.
Likewise, since autoresponders occur in response to prompts that are often user-initiated, they can help you get the right emails delivered at the right time. This is critical if you want to drive conversions successfully.
Autoresponders were originally designed to streamline communications processes. Since being adopted by marketing, they’ve become a powerful and useful tool with many advantages for email campaigns. Through their careful application, you can create strong and engaging email campaigns with less work.
Campaign Monitor is pleased to put the power of automation directly into your hands. Here’s what it can do for your next email campaign.