© Ugur Akinci
An autoresponder is a series of letters written to be sent regularly over the Internet to a group of subscribers who are ready and willing to receive them.
You need to set up a system through which your subscribers can “opt-in” to the list. That is, the subscribers click a subscription link expressing a desire that they indeed would like to receive your emails. Otherwise you’d be sending spam which is not legal.
The best autoresponder list is a “double opt-in” list. In this method the subscriber not only clicks a subscription link but he or she then has to go and confirm the subscription by giving a positive reply to an opt-in email sent specifically for that purpose.
Why double opt-in? That prevents you getting subscribed to a list by someone else and without your knowledge and consent.
Here are couple important rules to create a great series of autoresponder letters:
1) The first and obvious rule is that your letters should be relevant and stay focused on the main topic that your subscribers are interested in. Don’t go off the message.
If for example you have an autoreponder list about “French cooking,” do not start to talk about other types of “ethnic cooking” after a month or two because that’s not why your subscribers opted in to your list in the first place. If you do that you will lose subscribers fast.
2) Always, but ALWAYS provide an UNSUBSCRIBE link at the bottom of your letters. Most autoresponder companies worth their salt (like Aweber which I recommend) do provide such a link so that subscribers can unsubscribe quickly without any fuss.
3) Keep your letters short, maximum 300 words. Do not send your readers a novel. They won’t read it and soon they’ll unsubscribe from your list.
4) Make sure you write a sharp and intriguing SUBJECT line if you want your readers to click open and read your letter. If you have 50% of open rate on your list consider yourself doing a great job with your SUBJECT line. Read the HEADERS topic in this site to get a better idea about how to write excellent subject lines.
5) Don’t neglect your list and keep it warm. Once you subscribe people to your list DO send them letters periodically. If you do not do that your list will grow “cold” and the next time you sent something to your list they won’t even remember you and will think you’re sending them spam.
If you receive too many spam complaints your Internet and/or autorepsonder host may cancel your account. Avoid such problems by keeping your list engaged. An autoresponder should at least be monthly and last for at least a year. I prefer to send weekly letters and for at least 18 months.
6) Remind your readers that you are NOT sending them spam.
Even if you send them letters regularly, some people still forget that they opted in for them and asked for them. Thus at the TOP of your letters remind your readers that THIS IS NOT A SPAM and they’ve actually signed up for it and they can unsubscribe easily by clicking the Unsubscribe Link at the bottom of the letter. That should keep the complaints down to a minimum.
7) Write in a relaxed, friendly, conversational tone. Write just like you talk. After you write a letter read it aloud. If it doesn’t sound like the way you’d normally talk, change it.
8) At some point, and perhaps with every letter you send, you’ll also send a product or affiliation link. Most autoresponders try to sell something in the long run. Keep your offers to a minimum and don’t overdo it. Place them at the end of your letters so that they would not disrupt the flow of the main text. If you send your readers quality information that they seek for, and do it long enough for a year or more, they’ll start visit your links and reward you by purchasing your products and services. If you do it right, everybody wins.