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How autoresponders work...

An autoresponder is simply an email robot. You send an email to an autoresponder address and it dumbly replies with an email in return. This email can be a sales letter, vacation email, list of cars for sale, etc.

A sequential or follow up autoresponder is one that will send follow up messages on a pre-determined schedule. You write the messages and set the schedule. This is a great way to drop extra bits of information to your potential client. You can also check to see if the last message was received, how did they like the product or information, do they have any comments, etc.

A personalized autoresponder inserts data from your database into the email, such as name, address, and so on. You insert a code into the emails to be sent and the system automatically merges the appropriate data. So instead of the email reading something like this, "Dude! Here's your email!" it might read, "John! Here's your email!"

So personalized, sequential autoresponders are the way to go.

Let's say, for example, you have a site about breeding horses for racing. You write up articles explaining the ten things you need to know to get your horse is the best racing shape possible. Those ten articles are places into your auto reponder system.

Visitors come to your site and see the sign in form for your list and list the idea of your ten tips. They join and the system automatically sends then the ten emails, over a period of time which you specify.

How to use them...

On your page might be a pop up with some info and a sign up form. If you enter your name and email you will get the series of emails that have been entered into the system. It can be an email course, such as the above for horse training, a number of tips, more info about whatever, and so on.

Each email is personalized, so if you enter bob123 as your name then each one will be addressed to bob123. The system austomatically sends the every day or every few days and you don't do a thing. It's totally automated. You can expand the list or change the emails at any time.

Other uses are limited only by your imagination.

Where to get them...

Aweber is the original, or close to it, and is well known for its reliability and ease of use. Very popular despite the price. Aweber also makes arrangements with large ISPs so email sent with their system tends to get whitelisted by the ISPs where emials from other souirces might not.

This means that Aweber has a much higher rate of successful email delivery than lesser systems (such as the autoreponder scripts you can pick up from PHP script collections.)