Once you’ve developed and refined your list building strategy, a key consideration is how to make first contact with your subscribers.

It is common for new subscribers to receive an automated response from the company thanking them for their email address. Quite often, these are simple, text-only affairs which do nothing more than say ‘thank you, we’ll be in touch’. If that’s the case, they’re missing a trick.

Regardless of your industry, the first contact you make with someone who is willing to give you their email address is a golden opportunity. Autoresponders could be just the thing to make the most of that opportunity.

An autoresponder is an email which is triggered at pre-defined intervals. Typically, this will be as soon as a contact is added to a particular list. It is then possible to send further, automated, timed emails to that person. The benefit here is that you don’t have to lift a finger. Simply compose the autoresponder email(s) once and let the lists do their work.

Autoresponders are best used when you want to ease a potential new client into your world. Hitting them with every product and service you offer in the first email isn’t advisable – you’re likely to put them off straight away. Instead, use a series of autoresponders to gently point them in the direction of various landing pages on your website. The first email might be a simple ‘Hello, thanks for registering’, followed by a short, engaging piece of copy about your key offering (or the one they signed up to hear more about). A week later, a second autoresponder could highlight another part of your service, or, better still, the offer of a discount or similar incentive to call them to action.

When used correctly, Autoresponders can do a wonderful job of unobtrusively advertising your wares. It is also a cost-effective method of putting in place the building blocks for a relationship with a new client.

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Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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