Autoresponders – 24/7 Lead Generation
While most people in the B2B marketing world have certainly heard of email autoresponders at this point, this vitial marketing tools still have a fairly low adoption rate. In some cases that’s because they aren’t seen as a good fit with the types of products and services being offered. But in many more I suspect it’s because they simply aren’t understood very well.
What is an autoresponder?
An autoresponder is an automated message sent in response to either an email or a web form inquiry. It can be something as simple as “Thanks for contacting us!” to a series of ten or more emails sent at specific, pre-determined intervals.
At a very basic level, you set up the response in an autoresponder system, and set the parameters for when it gets sent.
Who needs an autoresponder?
I would argue that unless company emails and web inquires go to a specific person who responds personally to each one within a few hours, you should – at the very least – have an autoresponder set up that thanks the person for contacting you, lets them know when they can expect a response from a real person, and provides them with a phone number they can call if they need help right away.
Using autoresponders to walk prospects through the sales cycle
A more sophisticated (though not necessarily more complex) way to use autoresponders is to set up a series of emails that helps walk a prospect through the sales cycle. For example, if a web visitor fills out a contact form on your website and checks a box saying she would like more information on product X, you can respond with a series of emails that go something like this:
Immediately: send the prospect a thank you email along with a product brochure. Give them the contact information for a sales rep if they should have any further questions.
Week one: send the prospect a follow up, including a deeper piece of collateral, such as a case study involving the product. Again provide a call to action with the email and telephone number of a sales rep.
Week two: Send a helpful email with a few FAQs and a client testimonial.
Week three: Send the latest white paper and offer to set up a web conference to go over the solution with all members of the decision-making team.
Week 4: Send along an industry report on the subject.
Week 5: etc…
As you can see, setting up an email responder series for each of your products and services creates a hands-free follow-up system that keeps you top-of-mind with your prospect for weeks or even months.
Of course, be sure to follow SPAM guidelines and always make it easy for a prospect to “stop receiving emails” if they want to. It’s only good business.
We would welcome the opportuity to discuss how autoresponder will help you grow your business.