What Is An Autoresponder?

Simply put, an autoresponder is a tool that allows you to set up an automatic email response to confirm subscriptions and unsubscriptions, and reply to direct emails and other online auctions, with a pre-written email (i.e. the response).

They are used by individuals, web professionals, marketers, and online businesses to make correspondence with large amounts of people more efficient.

Although regular email platforms like Gmail have autoresponder features, these are limited and aimed at individuals who need to send things like an ‘out of office message’ or vacation messageAutoresponders at Gmail or on pop3 email accounts do not have any extra features or related services.

One of the most common uses for email autoresponders is to send out welcome emails when somebody registers on a website. The website owner cannot realistically reply individually to every new user, so a general email is crafted and automatically sent out whenever anyone signs up. Other common autoresponder email examples include delivering a weekly pre-written newsletter or online course, sending out coupon codes and offers, and reminders to users who have signed-up but not yet engaged with your site or service.

More complex autoresponders respond when multiple actions/events have been met. For example, if somebody has browsed a certain category of online shop items, you could generate an auto email response recommending the best products in this category. 

Autoresponder features tend to be part of larger email marketing services that also help you manage your subscriber list, create newsletters and email content, and make sense of the data for tweaking your marketing campaigns. Some tools also provide SMS, Twitter autorespond, and other social media features.

The Benefits of Using Autoresponders

If you are involved in email correspondence on any kind of mass scale, setting up email auto-responses can be a valuable strategy. Here are some of the main benefits of an email autoreply:

Save Time

The obvious key benefit of using an autoresponder is to be more efficient with your time. You can have an instant (or scheduled) response, that was carefully crafted, and can be sent to hundreds and thousands of people. Because of this, you might also be motivated to engage with customers/clients/users on a mass scale, when you wouldn’t have previously had the time or energy. 

Save and Make Money

A good set of auto-responses can mirror the work of several marketers. You don’t need to hire people to keep in contact with your customers because your autoresponder can be set up to regularly email them for an endless range of reasons. Perhaps it’s their birthday, they clicked or bought a certain product, they subscribed to the newsletter, or they haven’t logged in for a month. 

Never miss a response

If you had to rely on yourself to reply to every person individually, you are likely to miss some of them. Using an automated reply email, as long as your predefined trigger/action has been met, you will reply to every single person automatically without having to consciously think about it. 

Immediate communication

In some scenarios replying to an email instantly is necessary to keep a user engaged or to complete a process. Autoresponders can handle this as well as scheduling responses for the future.

Gather Data

Good autoresponders measure things like how many people opened an email and the geographic location of your contacts. Over time you can gather a lot of useful data to further refine your campaigns and become more successful.

How To Choose the Best Autoresponder

The autoresponder that’s right for you will depend on your individual requirements. There are several things worth considering:


If you are a new business, professional or marketer, or otherwise don’t have many subscribers (if any) you can benefit from one of the good free autoresponder plans. However, if you already have a large list to import or are planning ahead, you should recognize that autoresponders are typically priced on either the number of subscribers you have or the number of emails you will be sending. Choose one that is affordable and scalable.


How well does the autoresponder software integrate with third-party platforms, particularly the ones you are or will be using? 


Once your list gets bigger you will want to target different subscribers for different reasons, especially if your business is complex and sells lots of different products or services. The more ways you can dig down into the data the better, allowing you to send emails that appeal precisely to the recipient.  

Level of automation

All autoresponders can reply automatically but the complexity of that automation can vary. The best autoresponders provide advanced automation options based on their actions and the segments you have applied. 

Extra Tools

Autoresponders can offer a range of marketing tools, such as SMS messaging, social media posting and integration, landing page templates and hosting, advanced eCommerce support, and more. As well as being good at auto-responding emails, you should evaluate what extra features can benefit your particular business.

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