What Is an Email Autoresponder and How It’s Used in Marketing

What Is an Email Autoresponder and How It’s Used in Marketing
19 January, 2024 • ... • 326 views
Laura Nurmanova
by Laura Nurmanova

Staying connected with your email subscribers is important for building lasting customer relationships and achieving business goals. However, sending emails to each subscriber manually is inconvenient and time-consuming. 

That’s where an email autoresponder comes in, helping email marketers send automated campaigns to their subscribers. Want to know more? Read this article to learn what is an email autoresponder, the benefits of using one, and how to choose an email autoresponder according to your needs. You will also learn how to measure the effectiveness of email autoresponders as well as situations when it’s better to avoid them.

What is an email autoresponder?

An email autoresponder is a helpful tool for email marketing that sends pre-written emails automatically when certain trigger events occur. An autoresponder can be a single email or a series of emails. In essence, it’s another term referring to simple email marketing automation chains in contrast with advanced automation. 

Email autoresponders can be triggered by customer actions, dates, or events, such as:

  • New customer sign-ups
  • Inquiries 
  • Customer purchases
  • Specific dates defined by you (customer birthdays, holidays, membership or subscription expiration or renewal, etc.) 

Email autoresponders are designed to automate certain aspects of email communication, providing immediate or scheduled responses. Once they are set up, they work automatically, without an email marketer’s active involvement in the sending process.

The main benefits of using autoresponders

Email autoresponders have five main benefits:

Driving engagement

An email autoresponder helps to stay connected with your subscribers thanks to regular automated messages. Autoresponders provide valuable information that your subscribers are eager to learn. They have one of the highest average open rates of 35.9%. Compared with other email marketing tactics such as newsletters (26.7%) or regular emails (26.8%), email autoresponders are more efficient in driving customer engagement. 

Increasing revenue and product adoption

Effective autoresponders can significantly boost revenue by directly influencing the actions of the subscribers. Welcome and onboarding emails help your subscribers to better understand the product and can turn users of the free version into paying customers. 

Thanks to high engagement rates, email autoresponders can also significantly boost sales. For example, the abandoned cart emails bring 28.64% CTR which means customers return to the website to finish the purchase. Moreover, 87% of people who abandon their cart say they can be motivated to reconsider. Moreover, email autoresponder campaigns can be set to specific times like the end of the billing period. You don’t have to remember the specific dates when to send customers emails. With email autoresponders in place, you won’t forget to send important reminders and drive customers closer to conversion automatically. 

Providing quick responses

Email autoresponder gives your subscribers an immediate acknowledgment of their actions. It shows that their request has been received and is being processed. Even when you or your team can’t respond (for example, outside working hours), the customers can still engage with your company. 

Increasing brand trust

Whenever a customer sends a request, an email autoresponder ensures that they receive a prompt reply. The fast response helps to reassure the customers that their needs are in priority and heard by the company. These kinds of emails will enhance customer satisfaction and trust in the brand.

Freeing employee time

Autoresponders help to optimize your email marketing by automating some of the manual sending. For example, you need to send a no-reply email to your list of customers. If the only way you know how to create a no-reply email is by emailing each customer individually, the process can take a while. Using an email autoresponder will automate this process giving you time to take care of something else. Read our guide for other do-not-reply emails best practices

Since 2021, email marketers noted the increasing workload which means they have even more tasks to complete and pay attention to. Email autoresponders can ease this burden and free the workers’ time for strategic planning and other projects that need their active involvement.

Options for using an email autoresponder in marketing

Email autoresponders can enhance your email marketing strategy in several ways. Here are the most useful and common types of autoresponders you can set up.

Double opt-in

Double opt-in is the basis for email marketing. It ensures that subscribers genuinely want to receive emails from a sender. Not only does it satisfy the GDPR requirements, but it also prevents fake or incorrect email addresses from entering the mailing list.

Whenever someone subscribes to your newsletter or email list, the autoresponder will immediately send a confirmation email. The user then needs to confirm their subscription by clicking a link or replying to the email. Upon receiving the confirmation or reply, the autoresponder triggers a verification process, confirming the subscriber’s intent and authenticity. 

Here’s an example of a double opt-in autoresponder email from Recess:

An email from Recess thanking the user for subscribing with a button saying “Yes, I want to subscribe.”
Source: Really Good Emails

Welcome and thank-you emails

Once the double opt-in process is completed, the autoresponder sends a welcome email or a thank-you message, acknowledging the subscriber’s successful registration and setting expectations about the content they’ll receive. This is another essential campaign that can take less time thanks to autoresponders.

Welcome emails are important for email marketing strategy as they familiarize subscribers with your company and the services it provides. Welcome emails can also bring sales with special welcome discounts for new subscribers. 

Here’s a good example from Rosy Soil. The brand not only provides a 10% discount for the new members of their community but also sets the expectations for the content going forward (“You’ll be the first to hear about the science, mission, and products”) and gives a product recommendation.

A welcome email from Rosy Soil offering a newcomer’s discount
Source: Really Good Emails

Onboarding emails

Onboarding emails are a series of emails designed to help new subscribers learn how to use your service and understand the brand and its products. Even the best email client or other software needs to guide its users at first. Onboarding emails help to build lasting relationships with new subscribers, personalize the customer experience, and increase product adoption. 

Using autoresponders, you can make the onboarding emails a series sent each week or at other intervals. 

Here’s an example of an effective onboarding email from OnlyDomains. The email lists 3 simple steps that can help the readers start using the service. There are also links to corresponding sections of the product and helpful resources like blog and Knowledge Base.

An onboarding email from Onlydomains explaining 3 steps for a user to start their online journey.
Source: Really Good Emails

Abandoned cart

An abandoned cart autoresponder is designed to re-engage customers who have added items to their online shopping cart but left the website before completing the purchase. An autoresponder sends a follow-up email to customers to remind them about the products they left out. These emails are often sent shortly after a customer quits the session, aiming to recapture the customers’ interest while the purchase is still relevant to them. 

Abandoned cart autoresponders are one of the most effective campaigns you can send. Here is a good example that shows the subscriber items they left abandoned and provides the subscriber the option to continue their shopping by pressing a button saying “Keep Shopping”.

An email from Away reminding the user about items they added to their shopping cart and left abandoned
Source: Really Good Emails

Holiday emails

Autoresponders work great for holiday emails since you can just create campaigns for the most important e-commerce events in advance.

You can use an autoresponder email to send warm holiday greetings to subscribers. For example, a simple message wishing them joy and happiness during the festive period. 

Another option for your holiday email autoresponders is to create a series of emails featuring holiday-themed promotions, discounts, or special offers. These emails can be scheduled strategically to align with specific holidays or events.

An email from Email Monks wishing Merry Christmas
Source: Really Good Emails

How to choose an auto-responder?

Choosing the autoresponder that will meet your email marketing campaign’s objectives is important for the overall success of your business. 

When choosing an email autoresponder, consider the following factors:

  • Email delivery rate. When choosing an email autoresponder, look for services with a good reputation for email deliverability. A low delivery rate can result in emails being marked as spam or simply not delivered messages at all. Check reviews, ratings, and user experiences to measure the performance in this area.
  • Automation capabilities. Look for services with robust automation and a variety of triggers and flows available so that you can choose the subscribers and the exact time when automated messages should be sent. 
  • Reporting and analytics. Email reporting and analytics are important to measure the effectiveness of your autoresponders and assess how well they work for your business. 
  • Customer support. Look for services with easily accessible customer support that can quickly help you fix an issue. Plus, check if the service of your choice has good manuals, tutorials, or a user community.
  • Price. Consider your needs and choose the most suitable service.  Some services charge based on subscribers, emails sent, or offer flat rates.

Best email autoresponders for marketing

If you are struggling to find the best autoresponder service for your needs, consider these 3 options:

Selzy

Selzy email autoresponder service’s landing page

Selzy is an email marketing service that provides easy-to-use marketing automation tools. 

Selzy’s email autoresponder is leading in key features such as:

  • Email delivery rate: The service offers a high delivery rate of 99,8%.
  • Automation capabilities: The service is easy to use with a drag-and-drop builder and 10+ goal-oriented templates. You can choose the exact time and appropriate template for your automated email. 
  • Reporting and analytics: One of the key benefits of Selzy’s autoresponder service is that it allows you to monitor analytics without leaving the tool. You can view how many people followed to the next step of your automation right in the builder. 
  • Customer support: Selzy offers 24/7 chat support with real people always on standby to help you manage your automated campaigns. Moreover, Selzy has a Knowledge Base with tutorials and explainers on various topics.

Selzy’s autoresponder service also allows you to tailor messages based on user behavior, demographics, or other criteria for in-depth personalization. 

Price: Free for up to 1,500 emails and 100 subscribers. Plans with unlimited emails start from $7 per month, billed yearly.

Interested in trying out Selzy? Register and start automating your campaigns now.

AWeber

AWeber’s email autoresponder service’s landing page advertising welcoming subscribers, sharing information, and promoting products

AWeber is an email marketing service that provides various solutions for businesses. 

AWeber’s autoresponder has the following key features:

  • Email delivery rate: AWeber has an average delivery rate of 85.74%. This is a solid result that can guarantee your campaigns get in front of your subscribers and not in the spam folder. 
  • Automation capabilities: AWeber allows users to set up automated email sequences triggered by specific events or user actions. You can use a welcome series, blogger course, and other templates or create your campaign in a drag-and-drop email builder. Plus, AWeber provides subscriber tags for targeted email sending.
  • Reporting and analytics: The service offers standard analytics tools to track email performance, open rates, click-through rates, and subscriber engagement.
  • Customer support: AWeber has 24/7 email support, but if you have an urgent problem, you will be able to contact support via chat or phone only during working hours.

Price: Free for up to 500 subscribers. Paid plans for up to 500 subscribers start at $12.50 per month billed yearly. 

Constant Contact

Constant Contact’s landing page with the banner text that reads “Get results instantly with social and email marketing automation.”

Constant Contact is an online marketing company that offers various tools to simplify digital marketing. 

Constant Contact’s email autoresponder offers the following features:

  • Email delivery rate: Constant Contact has a high average delivery rate of 91.72% which makes it a reliable service.
  • Automation capabilities: The service offers different automation triggers and templates like a welcome or abandoned cart. 
  • Reporting and analytics: In Constant Contact, you can monitor not only opens, clicks, and conversions but also the revenue generated. Plus, you can compare all of your automated campaigns’ performance in one place. 

Price: free for 14 days. Plans start from $35 per month for 500 subscribers.

Measuring the effectiveness of autoresponders

As with other email campaigns, your approach to email autoresponders should be data-driven which means that you need to constantly assess and analyze their results. Measuring the effectiveness of autoresponders involves analyzing various metrics to understand how well they engage recipients and promote desired actions. Just like with your regular campaigns, you can track open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to make your autoresponders even more useful. Another option is to monitor ROI to understand whether the revenue generated by autoresponders makes them worth your money. 

Beyond that, comparing different versions of autoresponder emails (variations in subject lines, content, CTAs) can help identify which elements perform better. You can use A/B testing to make your autoresponders even more effective by tweaking important elements of the campaigns. 

Another option is collecting direct feedback from customers through surveys or feedback forms to get qualitative insights into the impact and effectiveness of autoresponders. You can understand how subscribers perceive and interact with your emails. The feedback also helps you refine your autoresponder sequence to meet the aims and needs of your subscribers better.

Measuring these metrics and continuously optimizing the autoresponder content and strategies based on the insights will help you improve their effectiveness.

When to avoid using autoresponders

Although email autoresponders are very useful and a great addition to any email marketing strategy, there are situations when you should avoid using them. Opt out of autoresponders in these cases:

  • Sensitive situations. Avoid autoresponders when dealing with sensitive or critical matters that require a personalized, human touch. For instance, handling customer complaints, serious inquiries, or urgent matters might not be suitable for automated responses.
  • Complex sales or negotiations. In sales scenarios involving negotiations or high-value deals, relying solely on autoresponders might not build the necessary rapport or address nuanced client needs effectively.
  • Unpredictable or uncontrollable scenarios. In situations where the information is constantly changing or where unpredictability is high (e.g., rapidly changing market conditions, emergencies), autoresponders might not adapt quickly enough or might send outdated information.

For instance, a company launches a new product with a specific marketing campaign planned through autoresponders across various platforms. However, unexpectedly, a competitor releases a similar product at a significantly lower price, causing a sudden shift in market dynamics. Customers start asking questions, seeking comparisons, or expressing concerns about the new pricing strategy. An autoresponder, programmed with pre-set information about the original marketing campaign, might continue to send out messages highlighting the product’s initial features, benefits, and pricing, completely unaware of the new competitive landscape.

If you doubt whether to use email autoresponders or not, assess the situation and consider whether a personalized approach would be more relevant and effective. Maintaining a balance between automated responses and personalized interactions is key to good customer experience and relationships.

Conclusion

Overall, an email autoresponder is an effective tool, which helps to automate the process of email sending. Depending on the objectives of your business and marketing campaign, the autoresponder can be used to send different emails including: 

  • Double opt-in emails
  • Welcome emails
  • Onboarding emails 
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Holiday emails

Using an email autoresponder has several advantages for your business. It saves time, improves customer satisfaction, and boosts trust in your brand. Crucially, autoresponders allow businesses to automatically send follow-up emails, keeping potential customers interested and consequently driving up sales. 

19 January, 2024
Article by
Laura Nurmanova
Freelance writer at Selzy, from a legal background. I’m interested in marketing and enjoy writing about complex things in simple ways. In my spare time, I love learning something new, traveling, and listening to music.
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