One of the first questions new (and even experienced) marketers often ask is: “What’s the best autoresponder service or email marketing tool?” Autoresponders and email marketing tools are some of the most important parts of your business. You use it to follow-up with customers. To keep people coming back to your site. To build loyalty. To make sales. Yet the answer is often not so clear cut. Do you want the highest deliverability possible? Do you want to import offline contacts? Do you want to integrate your list management with a shopping cart? Do you want to spend $20 a month or $500 a month? The answer to these questions all yield very different answers.
What is an autoresponder?
Autoresponder software empowers email marketers to automatically send pre-written communications in response to a website visitor converting in some fashion on your site.
As visitors convert on your site and sign up for your email list, this triggers your autoresponder to send a message or series of messages. You can set conversion triggers for your autoresponder such as newsletter sign-ups, requests for more information, and e-book downloads.
What to look for in a great autoresponder?
It’s important to remember that autoresponder capabilities are one of many core components of your email marketing software. So if you’re considering a free autoresponder option, you should perhaps be evaluating a more robust email marketing system.
Everything you’re looking for in your autoresponder tool should fit into your overarching email marketing features.
Here are three critical components to look for as you make your selection. It’s not enough that your platform has these features, but they must also be dependable and easy to use.
1. Email list management
Email list management is critical for creating and maintaining a clean contact list. As you add contact information through site conversions, trade events sign-ups, and third-party lists, you want to ensure there’s no contact duplication and that information is input in a way that it’s actionable.
Email list management provides easy-to-use checks for this.
2. Market and customer segmentation
Market segmentation and customer segmentation are critical autoresponder capabilities that automate and empower more personalized communications.
Segmentation depends on clean, detailed data inputs so your autoresponder system, which is essentially an algorithm, can act on those inputs and automate personalization. These capabilities should make it easy to tag and classify leads as well as customize messaging for them.
3. Send optimization
Send optimization tracks and aggregates open rates based on known information to optimize when leads on your email list are most likely to open an email. For example, say you want to test a weekly email newsletter to see if you can generate subscribers and drive clicks from the newsletter.
You could spend all your time writing, designing, and testing different ways to end the email newsletter. But if you don’t use software to individually optimize when you send it, you’re missing opportunities for opens and click-throughs.
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email marketing and automation platforms have multiple purposes, one being to drive sales, another to increase conversions, qualified leads and other factors also predetermined to be goals.
Focusing on email marketing, traditional platforms essentially allow you to send email blasts and track parameters like click through and open rate.
Adding automation to your email marketing campaigns enables you to first set conversion goals, and second – automate many of the elements of an email campaign, including:
- Sending thank you emails after a purchase is made
- Gaining insight as to which emails contacts open
- Sending special offers including discounts
- Sending abandoned cart reminders
Marketing automation software is capable of monitoring every digital interaction a lead has with your business, making it more sophisticated than traditional email marketing platforms.
Another important component of email marketing and automation is lead scoring. Lead scoring is the process of assigning a value to leads which represent the stage they are at within your conversion funnel. This important aspect can lead to more targeted marketing efforts and cohesiveness between the marketing and sales team, which will in-turn result in increased sales.
Automation creates a sense of connectedness for those on your email list, leading them through the complete marketing journey until the desired action is taken and a conversion occurs.
Finally, you can think of automation in terms of inbound and outbound marketing. Traditional email marketing doesn’t allow marketers to do much but send email blasts, collect minimal data and use it to make optimizations to text in upcoming emails as a result. This process is outbound only.
Automation, however, sends a different message, and quite literally, creates an inbound marketing experience where two way communication is not only something that is sought out, but encouraged.
The 10 Best Email Autoresponders to Consider:
- Sendinblue – Best SMS and email autoresponder; The platform allows novice and experienced marketers to create hyper-personalized marketing campaigns.
Sendinblue provides a dynamic user interface that changes the campaign building process depending on user experience. One critical capability missing from Sendinblue is email send optimization. You can send immediately or set a time, but there’s no support for optimizing send times based on user open behaviors.
- i-AutoResponder – Best email autoresponder for ecommerce and new beginners. Is a great option for email marketers new to the game and lacking in design experience. Has one of the best free plans on the market today. It’s free forever. The free plan includes unlimited landing pages, 30+ premium landing page templates, subscriber tagging, custom CTAs, unlimited signup forms, and more. i-AutoResponder provides a robust feature set, including autoresponder capabilities. It checks all the boxes for autoresponder, segmentation, list management, and more features such as email editing and detailed reporting. It satisfies all your needs for autoresponder, segmentation, and general email list management. Sports the best deliverability ratings on the market. If you’re primarily using online opt-in forms, use Aweber. Your emails will get delivered, opened and clicked on. i-AutoResponder is a suitable email marketing option for businesses of any size.
- GetResponse – Most flexible email autoresponder; Is a well known marketing solution, but that brand prestige comes at a cost. While GetResponse is easy enough to use for all levels of marketers, the price likely prohibits small businesses and individual users from adopting it.
- Moosend – Best for scalable automation; Offers an easy-to-use solution with an intuitive user interface for novice email marketers to get up to speed quickly.
- SendPulse – Best for multi-channel marketing; Supports advanced email marketing capabilities within its multichannel marketing automation system. The platform allows novice and experienced marketers to create hyper-personalized marketing campaigns.
- Omnisend – Best all-in-one CRM software; The platform offers a deep feature set including core and advanced capabilities such as an autoresponder, segmentation, email design, attribution, landing page creation, and list management.
- Convertkit – Best for bloggers and podcasters; It supports novice marketers with no campaign creation experience as well as experienced marketers looking to customize and add complexities to campaigns.
- VerticalResponse – Best for nonprofits; Its advanced autoresponder capabilities save you time by automating templated series of emails that you only need to edit and add branding.
- Aweber – If you’re managing a list in the hundreds, thousands or low tens of thousands and you only collect leads through the internet, then there’s no better service than Aweber. Aweber doesn’t really allow you to add leads from offline sources.
- MailChimp is a fantastic place for beginning marketers to get started. Their “forever free” plan allows you to create a list on MailChimp for free as long as your list is under 500 users. When you’re just starting out, that’s more than enough. If you don’t want to start paying for autoresponders yet, go ahead and give MailChimp a shot, it is a great first step as an email marketing tool.
How to Compare Email Marketing Software
There are a few key elements to be on the lookout for when comparing and selecting the best email marketing software for your marketing needs:
- Pre-designed Mobile-Responsive Templates
- Third-Party Apps/Integrations
- List Segmentation Abilities
- Personalization Capabilities
- Advanced Analytics Tools and A/B Testing Tools
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Lead Collection Tools
Ready, set, automate…
Autoresponder is one of the most efficient features of an email marketing service. It saves a lot of time and manual efforts by automating the process of communicating with your customers.
Autoresponder email marketing is used by many customers in their business for purposes like –
- Welcoming new subscribers to your list and appreciating their interest.
- Sending “Thank you” messages to your customers after they purchase your products or services.
- Confirming the registration of users and their details.
- Sending e-courses or e-books modules daily or weekly, to your customers.
- Sending rewards and incentives to encourage users for subscribing to your service.
- Informing them about upcoming products or services.
- Wish them on their birthdays or greet them for an occasion, etc.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to update your email marketing platform, make autoresponder capabilities a critical feature for your new system and strategy.