The simple answer is ‘build relationships’, but as with all simple answers, there’s a lot more to it than that.

Here are some of the uses that autoresponders work for:

Building your reputation:  When someone joins your list they are likely to forget you quite quickly, unless you remind them about you.  A series of messages that include advice, tips, how-to information, links to useful articles, websites, blogs, products and services all enhance your reputation as someone with their very knowledgeable finger on the pulse.

Preventing shelf-development:  After attending a training course – whether that’s online or offline it’s easy to put your notes to one side to look at ‘later’.  The longer they’re in the Pending tray, the less likely you are to get around to doing anything with them.  So – if you’ve run any kind of learning event – create a series of reminders for your delegates.  They don’t have to be long – it might be a small task to do each day for the first week to get them started and then reminders of key learning points every 6-8-10 days or so over the next 3-6 months.

Converting interested to buyers:  When someone has downloaded your free giveaway they’ve raised their hands as ‘interested’.  They may not be ready to buy today – but if you don’t remind them of what else is out there they will forget how interested they were and you’ll have to start all over again.  A series of messages asking how they’re doing with what they’ve already downloaded, asking for feedback, offering them additional low cost items, etc. will keep you in their sights.

Giving superb customer service:  So someone has bought your product – the money is in your bank – now what?  Create a series of messages that help the customer to get the best from their product – advice and tips.  Reminders that it’s there to give them real benefit.  At some point ask them to give you feedback too – ideally with a link to an online form rather than relying on them to reply to your email.  If you maintain the relationship post-sale you’ll get far more recommendations.

Delivering a course:  If you are selling your knowledge autoresponders are an excellent way to deliver an e-course.  Once your customer has paid up front they will immediately get a thank-you email with the link to the first module.  Then you can deliver reminders and further modules on auto-pilot so you don’t have to remember who to send what to.

These are just a few of the many uses of autoresponders.  If you’re not using them to improve your business – you’re missing an opportunity.