Understanding Autoresponders (and How they Can Help Your Business) in 5 Easy Steps

Imagine this: Your website is drawing visitors left and right. Life is good!

There’s just one problem: All that traffic comes in, but many visitors don’t call your office.

Now what?

Since they don’t all pick up the phone, you decide to put a contact form on the site.

The contact form promises to give visitors more information. What you’re really doing with the form is getting prospects’ name and email address.

It’s a smart strategy. Once you have their personal info, you can follow up with them and try to make the sale.

Once the contact form goes live, things look great again. 

Prospects are filling out your contact form and requesting more information. You send out the promised information and then wait.


So, you send out an email a few weeks later to those who signed up. That email tells them about the big sale you’re having.

A couple of people respond. Many more, however, decide to opt out. That means they leave your list.

But you don’t have time to worry about that. You have a hundred other things to do for your company. 

You have to order supplies, answer the phone, approve the next Facebook ad, and the list goes on and on.

A few months go by. Things are slower so you decide to send an email out to your list again advertising another sale.

This time, no one responds but even more opt-out.

What went wrong?

Simple. Without a systematic way to follow up with people who fill out your contact form, your list is nothing but a wasted opportunity. Lost profits.

There has to be a better way.

The answer is autoresponders.

Step #1: What is an Autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a simple email that goes out automatically whenever a client or prospect fills out a contact form on your website.

If your current contact form sends out a message to users that says, “Thank for your interest in our company! Someone will respond in 48 hours,” then you have an autoresponder at work for you.

Granted, it’s a poor example, but that’s what an autoresponder is – an email that goes out without you or anyone from your company doing anything.

Step #2: How Do Autoresponders Work?

Autoresponders are simply a series of prewritten emails scheduled to be delivered to your clients or prospects at specific times.

Here’s the important thing: As long as you have the right software, autoresponders can go out anytime you’d like.

That software lets you tie the autoresponder emails to the contact form your prospects fill out. They work together.

Maybe your first email is delivered right after your client clicks ‘enter’ on your contact form.

Then another goes out two days later. Maybe another goes out three days after that.

What if one went out on the anniversary of when your client purchased?

Or two weeks after a purchase to check in to see how your client was doing?

The point is the sky’s the limit. An email is written, then scheduled to be delivered at a specified time. 

That’s the entire concept.

Step #3: How Autoresponders Can Help Your Business

While I’ve already mentioned a few uses for autoresponders, one of the most effective ways is in a nurturing sequence.

Here’s how that works.

Let’s say a prospect visits your website. They’re interested in what you have to offer…but they’re not ready to take the plunge.

In their mind, calling your company might mean subjecting themselves to a pushy salesperson. 

Remember, this is just what they’re afraid of, regardless of what really happens when someone calls your company.

So instead of calling, they decide to fill out the contact form that helpfully offers to send them more information just for entering their first name and email address.

“What the heck,” she thinks. “It’s not like I’m giving them my credit card information.”

Right after she completes the form, your prospect checks her inbox and presto! There’s the promised information.

She looks it over and thinks, “This looks interesting. I’ll get back to this later.”

Of course, later never comes. Your prospect is distracted by her job, her spouse, kids, everything. You know, life.

A couple of days later, she gets another email from your company. It’s not pushy. In fact, it’s thoughtful and helpful.

“That’s great!” she says. “I definitely have to call them.”

But life gets in the way…until the next email arrives.

“That’s it,” she says. “I’m calling them NOW before I forget again.”

That’s a nurturing sequence. A series of emails sent out sporadically at scheduled times to remind your busy prospect that you exist. 

If she likes what your company offers, these emails will serve to keep in touch. You’ll prevent her from completely forgetting about you. 

When she’s ready, she takes the next step, whatever it is you want her to do.


Because you told her what you want her to do in each email. You’re not pushy about it, but you’re clear what you want her next step to be once she’s ready.

Step #4: Characteristics of a Good Autoresponder

An effective autoresponder starts with an engaging subject line. Without that, it won’t get opened. Period. 

Next, the email itself needs to be friendly and conversational in it’s style. It’s not pushy. You’re simply there to remind her that your company exists.

Also, a good autoresponder is short – around 500 words maximum. Any longer than that and she won’t have time to read it…or at least think she doesn’t have time.

Finally, it bears repeating: A good autoresponder is clear in what you want the reader to do. 

Do you want her to click on a link? Call the company directly?

Good autoresponders clearly spell out the call to action (or CTA), to your prospect.

Step #5: How to Create an Autoresponder

While the actual nuts and bolts text, or copywriting, of an effective email does take practice and skill, it’s easy to create an email. You probably do it every day. 

Just sit down and type it out. That’s one of the great things about email marketing – you don’t need any fancy graphics or difficult coding to put it together.

Once you write your email (or series of emails), it’s time to put it in your CRM or customer relationship software.

This is a system that lets you enter a series of emails and into a sequence. You specify the exact days you want them delivered.

The sequence is attached to your website’s contact form. The sequence is triggered to begin once your prospect enters her information.

A good CRM makes this super-simple, no coding necessary. If you set up your Facebook page and Twitter account without too much difficulty, you have all the tech knowledge you need to put together an autoresponder series.

Want Some Help?

While setting up autoresponder sequences is easy from a technical standpoint, the actual writing of effective emails that grabs readers’ attention and moves them to action is not easy.

Fortunately, at New York Marketing, we offer email autoresponder series as a a fully customized service. That means we craft those emails specifically for your company and products or services! 

It’s super simple and with an estimated ROI of up to 4400%, it’s easy to see why email marketing is regarded as the most profitable digital marketing option available!

Click HERE for more information or call our office at (716) 6732-7200 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.