Email Autoresponders

Let’s start off with me saying “I’m a fan of email autoresponders”. Why am I a fan? Because they work!

There are many myths about email marketing and specifically email autoresponders. Most of them come from people who haven’t spent enough time getting to grips with how it will work for their business #tryharder.

Email autoresponders have been around for a long time. The platforms have evolved into highly sophisticated marketing channels. The trouble is the more sophisticated something gets, the more likely you are to give up before you get started.

So today, I want to give you ten myths that have been researched and the evidence is clear – they are myths. But while dispelling myths is a great thing it has to be counterbalanced with some positive vibes.

Let’s get to grips with “what are email autoresponders”.

Email autoresponders are a computer program that automatically sends an email to a person that has taken a specific action. Autoresponders are incorporated into electronic mailing list software, to confirm subscriptions, un-subscribes, posts, and other list activities.

This can work on a basic level where you send an auto-response from your email provider to tell people you have received their email (not recommended) and also things such as holiday responses (highly recommended).

On a more advanced level, it’s where you are trying to attract an audience to your product/service by regular value driven contact (what we will be talking about today).

But First…

10 Myths About Email Marketing And Autoresponders

1. You Need a Big List To Be Successful

Most businesses don’t require a big list to have success (If you’re a large national retailer this might be the case).

But for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s not necessary. I work for a client in the environmental manufacturing sector, their ticket value (the average sale) is 1 to 3 million pounds, they can only handle about 5 contracts per year.

We have a list of 50 companies that we keep in touch with via email autoresponders and email broadcasts once per month. And they have a full order book.

I have another client that the average ticket value is £10, and we send out 3 emails per month via autoresponders and broadcast. And they have increased sales by over 421% (1.2 million) in two years.

P.S. your list size depends on how many clients you need to be successful.

Email autoresponders to business people

2. Don’t Send The Same Email Twice

Now obviously if you send an email out to 100 people and 35 get opened. Then 65 people either didn’t see it, ignored and deleted it, or the subject line didn’t grab their attention. So sending the same email again to those 65 people and changing the subject line makes sense – right?

P.S. Research shows that you can get between “5% to 40%” more opens per email simply by resending it.

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3. Unsubscribe’s From Your List Is a Bad Thing

Let’s get real here, not everyone is going to continue reading your emails for many reasons. The most common are they subscribed to get something but have no intention of buying from you. So unsubscribing is doing you a favour, it lets you concentrate on the people that matter – and your stats are more accurate. The worst thing is a bloated list of people who never open your emails.

P.S. Remember we are not in the pursuit of “vanity” numbers. We are in the pursuit of engaged subscribers that we can deliver value and trust. That, in turn, give us their permission to sell to them.

4. Short Emails Are The Best To Send

This is also a myth, the length of your email is directly dependent on the type of audience, subject matter and content you provide.

Some of the best performing emails can be 500 words long if the subscriber is getting the value they will read it. However, if you are just sending email autoresponders for the sake of it and it doesn’t have an impact on the subscriber’s life/work then you’re wasting your energy.

P.S. Whatever marketing activity you undertake, you should always test it to get the sweet spot – more opens – more reads – more action.

5. Email Automation Is Impersonal & Switches People Off

Ok, so a “dear sir/madam” email is the worst ever intro, and second to that is “dear customer”. It has no soul, no personality and shows that you just don’t give a stuff about your subscriber.

But email autoresponders today have evolved and it’s all down to big data. The first part is to capture their name, you can then use it in your emails (via the platform’s integration). It’s much better to have an email start with Dear Steve (using my name in the example obviously), or Hi Steve, or just plain Steve.

You can also intersperse the content with a name through the software to get even more personal. At some point, you have to suggest that they will receive better value from you by giving more data i.e. their company name, what they are interested in, country, town etc.

Just imagine now sending pre-written email autoresponders that not only calls them by their name but has other data interspersed within it. Go on tell me that’s not as personal as if you just typed it and sent it yourself!

P.S. data capture is critical to personalisation, and segmentation is critical to sending the correct pre-written email.


6. Too Many Emails Will Increase Unsubscribes

First of all what number is too many emails? yep try and answer that one, lol.

Each person is different, but the real reason for this dilemma is you send way more emails than they were expecting. The transparent way of ensuring this doesn’t happen is making it very clear how many emails they will receive.

Even better let them also know over what timescale before they subscribe (i.e. 1 email per week, or 1 email per week for the next 10 weeks). then deliver it over an email autoresponder.

P.S. I was told once by an email marketer that he changed the number of emails per week to his “test” list of subscriber’s to gauge. I.e. sending too little = no unsubscribes, sending to many = high unsubscribes. I have, to be honest with you and never bought into it.

7. People Only Want Pure Content Not Promotions

This is a big one, and has many businesses running for the hills “if I try and sell to them, they will unsubscribe”.

Remember there should be two reasons (at least) why you have email marketing and email automation in your business.

  • to provide value and solutions to your ideal audience
  • to grow your business

So most of what we do with email autoresponders is to give value, help people with a problem or issue in their personal or business lives.

But we do that through the subject being directly connected to our business. This helps put us in a position of authority on the subject. So it makes sense that we should offer our expertise to the subscriber as well.

P.S. If you don’t ask for the sale, then don’t be surprised if you don’t sell anything.

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8. The Best Day To Send An Email Is (fill in the gap)

Targeted email autoresponders imageOnce again there are differences of opinion on this myth, some reports will give a specific day and time to send. However, it’s always based on averages of someone’s subscriber list.

If you follow that advice and only send on that day and time, you could be missing out on your biggest audience engagement ever.

Remember the best email marketing is the long game, and because of that, you have time to test days and times with your audience. Especially if you’re in B2B or B2C, completely different markets with different needs and expectations.

P.S. Again, if you tell people when and how often to expect your email. You are pre-conditioning them to your schedule, and you send a questionnaire/poll at some point through email, you will get even closer to what they want.

9. You Should Just Delete Subscribers Who Don’t Open Your Emails

WHAT! ok, so I may have overreacted, haha. If someone has subscribed to your list there was the intent. Sometimes “Life” gets in the way, and they switch off from reading your emails. But they don’t unsubscribe?

This may be because unsubscribing is psychologically “closing the door” and they are not ready to do that.

So it is your duty to either find out why they have not opened your email or at least give them the chance to get engaged before shutting the door in their face.

A great way to do this is to remove them from your main list and put them into a re-engagement list. This way you can change the messages you send them, and try to deliver something closer to their original intent action.

P.S. If all else fails you can send them a “sorry to see you go” email. Tell them you are removing them from your list and give them the chance to re-subscribe.

10. Emails With Graphics Have Better Open Rates

Email autoresponders using graphicsI’m sure this myth comes from graphic designers, lol.

There are still email providers and businesses that do not allow delivery of emails with graphics through their spam filtering (HTML emails). Some have specific code instructions to block graphic only emails.

So make sure that your email autoresponder system has the ability to deliver graphic and text emails as well as text only.

And that your email graphics are responsive as more and more users collect emails on mobile devices.

HubSpot conducted a survey in which they asked more than a thousand respondents whether they preferred email coded in HTML (mostly graphics) or plain text emails. Almost two-thirds chose graphic emails.

HubSpot experimented with both types of emails and it turned out that text emails got a lot more opens.

P.S. This also runs true when people are asked if they like those pesky popups when visiting websites. However, research shows they are some of the best performing tools to capture date or get users to take action – go figure.

In closing let me remind you that nothing beats testing when it comes to busting myths and finding the real truth about what works for your business.

I hope that this has cleared some myths for you with a positive spin.

Leave a comment below of any other myths that need busting when it comes to email marketing and email autoresponders.

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Steve Welsh
Steve Welsh

After a long career in senior management in the motor industry, working with motor manufacturers. Guiding companies to effective marketing and increased revenue. I created and developed several businesses in commercial print, design and marketing. For the last 10 years, I have been specialising in marketing and growth management.

    8 replies to "10 Myths Busted About Email Marketing And Autoresponders [Blog]"

    • Steve Welsh

      Thanks Melanie, I have been distracted with business lately, but I will get back to it this month.

    • Melanie

      Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your next write ups thank you once again.

    • Steve Welsh

      Thanks for letting me know Adeline

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      Your way of explaining all this is really good, everyone
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    • Steve Welsh

      I’m really pleased you found it useful Dallas, so much to write and so little time 🙂

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    • Steve Welsh

      Thanks for the vote of confidence Leonor 🙂

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