Autoresponders

 

For those new to list building, choosing a follow-up autoresponder service can be tricky. In most cases, they either follow recommendations from a friend or mentor, or they just sign up for something odd because it’s cheap. However, once you understand how they differ, making the choice becomes so much easier…

Firstly, let’s rule out the professional tools like Ifusionsoft. These are for serious professionals with massive lists who want to integrate many things, and it’s not for the squeamish. There are easier ways of getting your list up and running.

Secondly, let’s rule out all the lesser known autoresponder services, because many of them either lack the features you need, or they lack in the deliverability department. And it’s no use having an autoresponder if you cannot get your emails delivered, right?

Building a list is not only hard work, but your mailing list is also your single most valuable asset. You don’t just give it to “anybody” to keep and manage.

Lastly, there are some autoresponders that are just a pain in the backside. The features are there, and the value is there – but working with it is a pain. You shouldn’t be spending your time trying to figure out your autoresponder if you can help it – you have better things to do with your time.

So – which is which when it comes to follow-up autoresponders?

1. Aweber is the simplest and easiest to work with. It’s not the cheapest to get started, nor the cheapest for bigger lists, but in the mid-range their prices are about average. Aweber takes you through a wizard every time you set something up – so you can’t miss anything. Once you understand the basics of how autoresponders work inside, you will find that everything inside Aweber seems logical. Their first month is free, and after that the pricing starts from $19 (for up to 500 subscribers).

2. Getresponse offers the best value for money – at a starting price of $15 per month (for up to 1,000 subscribers). They also offer a one month fully functional free trial. However, Getresponse also offers some additional functionality – which you may or may not need – like being able to build custom landing pages on their domain. Yes, it won’t be on your own domain, but they can be made to look really professional, and it can be very handy if you don’t want to have a squeeze page that looks like it was just pasted into your blog’s WordPress theme.

So – if the functionality and/or value proposition is more important to you than straight-out ease of use, getresponse is the way to go.

And then…

If you are on a zero budget, things become a bit more challenging – but there are still ways around it:

3. Mailchimp offers a free autoresponder facilitating up to 2,000 subscribers, and up to 12,000 emails per month. But it’s not all good news:

Mailchimp doesn’t allow you to promote ANYTHING relating to making money online (and a few other niches). In addition to that, they have been known to be fussy about some affiliate links – so for safety sake it wouuld be best if you sent your subscribers to a pre-sell page or a blog post, and have the purchase link embedded there.

In addition to that, mailchimp isn’t the easiest of autoresponders to work with. And they have different names/titles for many of the functions – so get ready for some digging and learning. You may be best off finding a tutorial or two on Youtube before using it.

That being said, Mailchimp offers excellent deliverability, despite its slightly limited functionality. They also offer the ability to create custom landing pages, thank you pages and conformation pages – but this doesn’t come with the multitude of ready-made templates like you can find on Getresponse.

But it is free to get started with.

4. Feedburner – a free service from Google – allows you to gather subscribers, and deliver your blog’s updates to them. The functionality is very limited, and there is no follow-up function – but you can use it for your internet marketing or network marketing blog, unlike Mailchimp.

In conclusion:

Theoretically you can also install your own email management software (I am thinking of things like PHPlist which comes as standard with cPanel hosting). There are, however, some complications with that. Firstly, you have no follow-up autoresponder – just broadcast (sending once off) facilities. Secondly, the optin form looks bad, so you will need to learn some basic coding to make it look better. Lastly, it is a real pain in the backside – because every little thing has to be set up individually.

So – in essence it comes down to these four choices, depending on your budget, your niche, and your needs. Keep in mind that you can always take your list elsewhere as you progress – even if you use Feedburner. Any half decent autoresponder service allows you to export your subscribers – although it’s just that much easier to find a service you are happy with, and stick with it.

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