Autoresponders – are they really worth the money?

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately on increasing my conversion rate for newsletter signups on one of my websites. I was reading the February report at List and Traffic (101 List Marketing Tips For Getting New Subs And Sales) for some tips since I was feeling less than inspired when figuring out where to start.

There’s some great info in that report, but what really made me stop and think was Tip #13 which was Sign Up With A Good Autoresponder Company. I come across a lot of websites who either don’t have any opt-in form at all or else they’re using a free or really cheap autoresponder.

I can completely understand what it’s like not to have the money to invest with a good company (I was in that boat for 2 years before I signed up with Aweber – and let me tell you, it was worth every penny!) but the important thing to realize is that it IS an investment.

Building a relationship with your readers through regular contact like a newsletter is one of the best ways to generate income online. Sometimes you have to spend a little money to make a little money, right?

A commercial printer has to invest in a press to print flyers and brochures for his customers, but he soon makes that investment back and starts to make a profit from it.

Same idea here.

Why should you have a “list”?

Here are just a few examples of how you can use a subscriber list to make your autoresonder investment worth it:

  • If you write and sell small reports you’ll want to get your customers on your list. Each time you come out with a new report, notify your existing customers. You can also survey them to see what kind of information they’d like to learn more about which gives you some great ideas for more small report ideas in the future.
  • If you maintain an information website that has advertising on it, you’ll want to have an opt-in form on each page of that site. Offering a free bonus (or even better, multiple bonuses) is a great way to get people to sign up, then send them regular newsletters filled with tips, news, newly posted content, etc. Make sure each newsletter contains relevant links back to your website where you have advertising like Google Adsense or affiliate products or products of your own.
  • If you sell a product or products of your own, you need to have your own sales army to help you spread the word and sell your products. You’ll want to get your affiliates on a list so you can keep them informed of new products for sale, update them with new promotional content, hold affiliate contests, etc.
  • If you run a direct sales business, you’ll want to get your customers on a list so you can notify them of any sales, open houses, parties, etc. I’m sure my Mary Kay lady makes a killing from her list, and I’m also pretty sure it’s a small one. Keep in mind – you don’t need a huge list to generate an income from it.
  • If you have a blog, you may want to create an email mini-course that complements your site. Along with offering great content, you can recommend related affiliate products or promote products of your own. Once the mini-course is over, continue to keep in contact (make sure you’re always complying with the CAN-SPAM Act and respecting your subscriber’s privacy) and keep building trust while reminding them to keep visiting your blog.

This only scratches the surface but I hope it’s given you some ideas.

Ultimately, my point here is that a lot of money can be made by building a relationship with subscribers. That’s not something you want to mess with by relying on an unreliable autoresponder. I heart Aweber but it’s important to do your research and find the one that fits your needs. You can take a free test drive with Aweber right now:

“The Money Is In The List

AWeber proves it to thousands of businesses every day.

Learn how email marketing software
can get you more sales, too.

Related reading:

RT @cassiegermsheid: "Autoresponders – are they really worth the money?"


#1 WAHM Link Love 3-6-09 « WAHM on 03.07.09 at 4:11 pm

[...] Are you using an autoresponder system to create a list and provide content (newsletters, etc) to that list? You should be. A list can be a pretty important component to your business. If you aren’t using an autoresponder service yet you need to read this post autoresponders – are they really worth the money? [...]

#2 Christie on 03.08.09 at 9:43 am

I so agree with you! I was chatting with a friend yesterday who set up a new autoresponder, but she didn’t use Aweber and it went into my junk folder on two separate email addresses. I think it is worth it to pay for Aweber and actually get your emails delivered.

Christie’s last blog post..Are You Neglecting a Blog?

#3 Cassie on 03.08.09 at 9:47 am

@Christie – Absolutely! My point precisely. You work hard to get those subscribers so you don’t want to throw all that work away by using a cheap autoresponder with crappy deliverability rates. Aweber has one of the highest rates, if not THE highest in the industry.

#4 Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach on 03.11.09 at 11:35 am

I always ask people who ask me about doing business online if they have an autoresponder. If they say NO, I tell them to come back to me after they’ve invested in one.

I view ARs as a critical tool for success online.

Data points, Barbara

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..Trampoline fitness even an elephant can do

#5 Cassie on 03.11.09 at 11:38 am

Heck yes! I’m the same. When someone asks me for advice on their website, the first thing I look for is an opt-in form. If I don’t see one, I do my best to hammer it into their brain that they NEED one!

#6 Tishia Lee on 06.02.09 at 8:16 am

My problem is I totally understand the importance of a list and I even am paying for Aweber and have been for a couple years now. But guess what? It’s the same song and dance with me – I am NOT using it. I have people signed up for my list but I don’t contact them – big NO NO! So here I am paying out $20 a month and not doing anything with it to bring money back into my pocket. Sigh. I just am so hung up on the whole generating content for them on a regular basis. As a VA, I get confused on what I should be putting in front of them. So instead I just don’t.

Tishia Lee’s last blog post..Another Entry for a Contest

#7 Cassie on 06.02.09 at 8:40 am

@Tishia – One of my newsletters sat for a long time collecting dust, then I started it up again a few months ago. I was surprised nobody unsubscribed! But anyhoo, I had no idea what to write in that newsletter since it’s such a diverse group of people so i just ASKED them. I’ve had some really good suggestions and should have a whack of ideas for content for a long time. Can you shoot out an email and ask your list what information they’d like to learn about? Maybe ask them to do a short survey or poll and offer a little freebie as a thank you.

#8 Tishia Lee on 06.02.09 at 8:45 am

Cassie thanks for the great idea…now I’m kind of feeling like DUH hello how simple is just asking (but I NEVER thought of that!).

Gonna sign into Aweber right now and shoot them (I’m really surprised nobody has unsubscribed) an email asking what they want to learn about :-)

Again thanks!!!!

Tishia Lee’s last blog post..Another Entry for a Contest

#9 Cassie on 06.02.09 at 9:31 am

@Tishia – I’m glad I could help. I hope it works great. Let me know how it goes!

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