Also freebies are
often restricted to a maximum number of subscribers
(say 500) before you have to pay, and many do
not have a broadcast feature, meaning it will
respond individually to new subscriptions, but
will not allow you to broadcast a message to
your whole list.
I found that there are several similar if not
identical scripts available for between $15 to
$30, which go under a variety of different names
(such as Autoresponder Unlimited 2.0). They are
often exactly the same scripts, just badged and
named slightly differently! I unwittingly tried
two of these scripts, which on the sales page
looked like different products, but behind their
only slightly different looking user interface
they had exactly the same features,
layout and options, and they certainly were not
Unlimited, in fact they
Generally these simple scripts are
false economy and really not worth the effort.
Unless you have very basic requirements from an autoresponder and have little
money to spend, I would strongly recommend that you "bite the bullet" and
pay for a decent autoresponder, because by the time you have installed a couple
of the freebies and got fed up with their unreliability or lack of options you
would have spent your time better on something more capable.
an autoresponder is one of the "workhorse tools" of the Internet - it is your
never-tiring salesperson who constantly promotes your business and products.
it will pay for itself many, many times over.
Some people prefer to use online autoresponder
services such as AWeber.com which
are ideal for people who are less technically
able and have concerns about installing programs
on their own web space.
of outsourced autoresponder services is
that they sometimes include advertising banners,
and charge a monthly fee which in due course
could cost many times the price of owning
your own software.
However, of the various
outsourced services available AWeber.com does
NOT force adverts into your messages, and
is probably the longest established and most
After much searching,
investigation and deliberation over approximately
autoresponder programs and online services
available currently on the Internet my decision
was narrowed down
to a choice between either;
Plus from ECom24
Auto Respond Pro from Add2It.com.
This was a hard choice but ultimately I felt
that the product from ECom24 had the edge with
its easier to use interface, and was more
space where I already use a MySQL database
for other purposes.
Using AutoResponse Plus I
am able to provide professional looking follow-up
mails and information to my subscribers from
any of my web sites.
Sending automated follow-up emails in response
to online subscriptions for my product newsletters
has dramatically increased my sales orders.
With AutoResponse Plus you get
an extremely well featured professional
list management system, that runs on your own
web space. It requires MySQL and Perl (also PHP
for open-rate tracking). These come as standard
with most web hosting providers nowadays.
ECom24 will perform the installation
free of charge if you require, so alleviating
the worry of setting up.
ECom24 also have an excellent support team
who provide a quick response to any queries
or problems. I know this from first-hand
experience as they were very
helpful on the odd occasion I have required it.
AutoResponse Plus is in my personal
experience and opinion an excellent autoreply
and currently retails for $195. Now you might
consider this a little high if you've seen
other products retailing below $100, but this
price includes FREE installation if you
require it. Also bear in mind as I pointed
out earlier that a different $99 product does
not necessarily mean you get well featured
quality software. There is no guarantee! Indeed
I have seen the same cheap $15 script discussed
earlier also being sold for $97 !!
I highly recommend
you to take a look at ECom24 AutoResponse
site to review the many benefits an autoresponder
and you will see the extensive list of features
this program has. You might be forgiven for
thinking that there are too many features for
your needs in AutoResponse
Plus, but believe me, once you get your autoresponder
in full swing, you will begin to use those extra
features, and would be kicking yourself if you
didn't have them in the first place.
You should also
consider that one of the upcoming buzzwords nowadays
is RSS (Really
Simple Syndication), which is a relatively
new technology for feeding
regularly updated information and content to
people who request it, and it is rapidly becoming
with Internet users.
Whilst email often fails to reach
its recipient due
RSS works because people are "requesting"
information of their own accord. AutoResponse
Plus is one of the very few autoresponders
to have embraced RSS
as an additional method to email for marketing
Click here for ECom24 Ltd to see a demo and
learn about AutoResponse Plus various features.
If you are interested in the autoresponder from
Add2It.com click here: Add2It Autoresponder Pro
Alternatively for the best online autoresponder
service available click here: AWeber.com
Once you have got your autoreply software up
and running you will need to prepare your autoresponse
sequences - the messages your autoresponder will
send at set intervals once people have subscribed
to your list. To help give you ideas you can download
the popular ebook AutoResponder Magic
which is a perfect illustration of viral
marketing, but gives excellent advice and examples
on creating your own message sequences.
here to download a FREE copy of AutoResponder
Magic (normally retails at $17).
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING THE USE OF AUTORESPONDERS
If you are thinking of running your own follow-up
autoresponder software, there are some things you
should be aware of as there can be a few pitfalls
and drawbacks of such a solution. You should
think about the following points carefully before
you go ahead.
- Make sure that the software sends the outgoing
emails in batches and not in one shot (e.g.
just once at midnight). Your ISP may have
set restrictions on out-going email, for example
allowing only 500 per hour, and if you try
to send emails out to all your
subscribers - or to those in your autoresponder series
- in one go (e.g. 5,000 mails), most of the
emails won't get delivered. AutoResponse
Plus caters for this by running in a responsible
- Autoresponder software
require you to be able to run a 'cron job' (a
scheduler which triggers your autoresponder
program at a pre-set
time, say every 1, 6 or 12 hours). Not all web
hosting providers offer this. Ensure that your
sure that the software can also be triggered manually
- through a cgi program, started from within
a web browser - in
case you can't run cron jobs on your web server.
AutoResponse Plus is capable of this.
resources - autoresponder programs can really
hog your CPU
and mail server resources as your list grows.
sure your host
will not cut you off without warning because
you could end up losing money, time and your
of mind. AutoResponse
Plus caters for this by running in a responsible
- Spam troubles - ISP's are so
fed up of spammers, that they
will shut you down first and ask questions
later. So, one of the biggest risks
of running autoresponder software on your main
business web site, is
that if someone complains - whether it is a legitimate complaint
or not, your ISP might shut down your mailing
list, your mail
server and possibly even your web site, before
you further. So nasty or forgetful subscribers reporting
your email to spamcop could possibly bring down
your entire business.
Obviously the key here is to use your mailing
list responsibly, by being courteous to your
subscribers in the first place, building a good
them, keeping true to the topic of your
subscriber base (i.e. using the list for the
reasons your subscribers opted into your list
for in the first place), and to respect their
wishes by unsubscribing them promptly when requested
to do so. Autoresponse Plus has a variety of
options to maintain a professional format for
your messages and to allow for automatically
- Autoresponders are database driven programs.
breaks or doesn't work as intended, including
your data base, unless
you know how to fix it, you could end up spending
a substantial amount
of time troubleshooting (like hiring a freelance
programmer). AutoResponse Plus has easy to use
data backup procedures built-in to enable you
to regularly takes backups so that you can easily
get back to a known state if something goes drastically
- Stats - What kind of statistics are offered?
If you use HTML email, the service may track
open rates, etc. for you. AutoResponse Plus
offers both open rate tracking and campaign tracking
so you can also tell which links in your emails
have been followed.
- Can you easily export
your list data, including IP addresses? If
you are moving a list, will the new service allow
you to import your subscribers or will
you have to ask them to reconfirm their subscriptions?
AutoResponse Plus allows both importing and
exporting of subscribers list data.
don't understand the
difference between a CGI bin and a trash bin!,
or if you hate
tinkering with stuff, then you may be
better off running your mailing list from your
desktop using appropriate local software, or by
outsourcing the service to a provider like AWeber.com. As
mentioned earlier ECom24 provide a free installation
service included in the price for AutoResponse