I think that all businesses understand the importance of collecting email addresses for lead generation. But aside from the occasional email broadcast or current sales ad, most businesses don't understand the other part that email services provide.
I'm talking about the autoresponder and in this article I am to talk about how if you aren't incorporating it into your online business plan, you are probably leaving money on the table.
An autoresponder is different than a broadcast in that you can frame a series of emails that get sent out to the subscriber based on time. For instance, if someone decides to sign up to your list, they may get a series of emails set over a period of time that will build a rapport between themselves and the business and help them make a buying decision at a time when they would be most responsive....when they first sign up.
The benefit of using an autoresponder is that you can send emails every time a new person signs up for information without having to rewrite them. An autoresponder is virtually set it and forget it.
So, how can you use this to your benefit? Here are a few real world examples.
Use it to Retarget
If you are an ecommerce website, you know all too well that those who fill their carts up with all your wonderful products don't always "seal the deal". Cart Abandonment is real and one of those giant question marks for most online retailers.
One way to combat this is to retarget potential customers that filled their cart out and did everything but give you a credit card. With the email in tow, a business can send them a friendly reminder that their cart is still available or, better yet, show other recommendations as well.
By the way, this is also called event triggered email
Use it to Remarket
A restaurant client of mine uses the autoresponder side of email campaigns to automate static ad campaigns that are exclusively centered around his list. Here's what happens. When someone subscribes to his list, they automatically get an email for 25% off their entrees (with 4 or more people). 2 weeks later, they get another email, this time for 20% off.
The thing about this is that once it is done, it's done...there is no work behind it beyond tracking how well it is doing.
Use it to introduce
Another client of mine who runs a regional magazine uses her autoresponder to highlight upcoming seminar events for new signees. While this isn't necessarily "automated" since it changes monthly, it is a great way for her to make sure that the information gets out there without incessantly bugging her list about it.
Use it to build a Rapport
Finally, when someone signs up to a list, usually there is a small level of trust (they are trusting you aren't going to fill their inbox with useless stuff) but an autoresponder filled with generous information that is useful and/or entertaining can be used to build a solid rapport with your leads. This especially works with businesses who rely on content rich websites for revenue.