When I was a kid you could go to a place like Chucky Cheese or an arcade and play skee-ball. If you scored enough points you’d win tickets. Then you’d take the tickets up to the counter and the person would count all the tickets out by hand. I remember looking over the case of candy and plastic stuff and trying to figure out how to get the most out of the tickets I won.
It was thrilling. But not very efficient.
Now… you can still go to arcades and Chucky Cheese and play games to get tickets. But the tickets are fed into machines called “ticket eaters”. Ticket eaters suck up all of your tickets from the games and spit out a little slip that tells you how many tickets you can redeem for prizes. This takes a huge step out of the process.
The person at the counter no longer has to count out the tickets by hand, because the ticket eaters do that for them. It makes the whole transaction go more smoothly, due to the power of automation.
So what does Chucky Cheese, skee-ball, and ticket eaters have to do with you and your online business?
I thought you’d never ask…
In business, it’s important to automate as many steps as possible to gain the most leverage and stay competitive.
Automaton lowers cost, lets you reach more people, and frees up your time to focus on strategy.
One of the most powerful tools for automation in modern business is an autoresponder. This is a powerful tool that people use to communicate with their customers and prospects on a mass level, but have the communication still look individualized.
Autoresponders are the core of email marketing, and let you automate 95% of your customer and prospect follow up. They can (and should) put huge chunks of your business on autopilot.
Why use an autoresponder?
Automation. Automation. Automation.
The autoresponder is the most powerful tool in marketing, more important than a website or anything else. When you have a list of prospects and customers in an autoresponder you can easily turn that into money in your pocket!
You can pre-program sequences and put people through different campaigns. That means that you have your autoresponder working 24/7 to close sales, build relationships, and create raving fans.
And if you get creative, you can use autoresponders to handle many of the day to day communication tasks in your business, freeing up your time for more important endeavors.
What you should look for in an autoresponder.
A good autoresponder has several traits.
The first thing you should look for is that the one you choose is CAN SPAM compliant. CAN SPAM is a group of laws that you must follow if you are sending emails (unless you want to get in trouble with the US government). By using a quality autoresponder, like Aweber, you will stay CAN SPAM compliant, and out of trouble with the law.
Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer (thankfully!) and don’t provide legal advice.
The next thing you should always look for for is great customer service. You should be able to get a hold of customer service by phone or by chat, and they should be knowledgeable enough to answer your questions. This makes getting set up and running a whole lot easier. Also, bearing in mind that your list is your most valuable asset in your business, you’ll want to be sure they can help you with any accidental deletions or errors you might make.
Third, and this is an important one, the autoresponder service that you choose should have high deliverability rates. This means that the emails you send actually get TO your customer’s inboxes. There’s no point in sending mail that doesn’t get delivered.
Finally, you should look for price. I want the best email service at the very best value. Who wants to spend more money than they need to? It’s also nice to have a service that will grow with you as your business grows.
There are many email autoresponders on the market. But in my view, Aweber, meets these four criteria the best. Aweber is fully CAN SPAM compliant, has great customer service, very high deliverability rates, and starts at only $19 a month. It’s a great service for a great price.
Aweber is what I use in my own business, and it’s always what I recommend to my clients for their businesses. Because of this I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that help you maximize the effectiveness of this software and your email marketing efforts.
Getting automation going in your business is one of the key factors to staying competitive and having real business success! And setting up your autoresponder is a good first step.