Choosing the Right Autoresponder Service or Software

Ah, technology. While it can be an immensely beneficial tool, it can also be frustrating to understand and sometimes downright baffling to use – especially for those who aren’t particularly tech-savvy. In order to avoid confusion and wasted time, it’s important to understand the available options, to identify your specific needs, and to properly utilize the available technology to attain your defined goals. Luckily, there’s a multitude of online services that can help you run your business more efficiently, such as – you guessed it – autoresponder providers.

As your mailing list grows, you will likely outgrow your capacity to manage it manually. Not only will it become a significant administrative burden, but sending autoresponder messages to more than a dozen recipients greatly increases the likelihood that your emails will be marked as spam, and never reach your intended audience.

An autoresponder service can ensure your emails reach their targets, while simultaneously allowing you to focus time and energy on other important tasks within your company. There are several reputable services available, each with slightly different profiles and features, that will relieve you from manually managing your mailing list. Let’s eliminate some of the guesswork by exploring the leading options available.

Below, we’ve listed a few of the more popular options for starting mailing lists, and outlined the pros and cons of each — enabling you to make an informed choice based on your business’ needs.

Aweber

Aweber is one of the leading services for automating the process of building mailing lists, and sending emails to each recipient.

Pros:

  • Aweber has a very reliable delivery mechanism.
  • Aweber offers strong support for autoresponder series, including conditional moving of subscribers from one list to another. For example, if someone buys the product you’re promoting with a particular autoresponder series, you can configure Aweber to move them to a different autoresponder series immediately after their purchase. After all, you want to avoid promoting a product after they’ve purchased it. This feature enables seamless and relevant promotion, and avoids redundant and dated emails that could potentially irk your customer.

Cons:

  • No free trial available – although the first month of service can be purchased for just $1, with a money back guarantee.
  • Aweber has remodelled their interface recently and many users complain that it has become more difficult to operate.

arpReach

arpReach, formerly known as AutoresponsePlus, takes a slightly different approach than its competitors by offering downloadable software that’s paid for once, rather than an online service with a monthly fee.

Pros:

  • One-time cost; there are no monthly fees, and your initial license fee is not tied to the number of addresses on your list or the number of messages you send.
  • Full control of your mailing list with the ability to import subscribers as desired.

Cons:

  • The arpReach software must be installed on your web server, but you can pay one of their recommended installers to install it for you.
  • arpReach is currently not compatible with GoDaddy hosting services.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact has rapidly become one of the most recognizable services for email marketing, and has a strong customer base that includes several large companies.

Pros:

  • Constant Contact allows clients to run social media campaigns to supplement email marketing efforts.
  • A free 60 day trial is available for a mailing list of up to 100 names.

Cons:

  • With a growing mailing list, Constant Contact can become potentially more expensive than other services.

iContact

iContact, formerly known as Intellicontact, provides email marketing support services as well as higher value advisory and strategy services.

Pros:

  • Choice of a large number of highly stylized email templates.
  • The ability to create custom messages with the proprietary MessageBuilder and MessageCoder applications.

Cons:

  • Only clients with larger mailing lists who have premier accounts can use Google Analytics and split testing features.

If you have the time and resources available, the best approach to finding the right autoresponder provider is to try a few options before making a commitment. By trialing services you will gain clarity on what autoresponder features are integral to your business needs, and what features aren’t necessary for achieving your marketing goals.

Now that you can let technology do some of the legwork for you, it’s time to move on to the next post.

Next up, we’ll introduce the concept of the “opt-in” or “squeeze” page, and how it’s integral to developing a solid readership.

About the author: Keith is the co-founder of Summit Evergreen, and helps course authors, product creators, and self-funded businesses increase their revenue from their existing traffic.