By now, most of us know what autoresponders are. What they basically do is reply to an email/request for information with a pre-written response. For example, many websites have setup an autoresponder that when queried (usually by receiving a blank email message from someone wanting information), sends back a prewritten response listing product prices.
The method I’m going to show you, takes autoresponders to the next level. The first thing that you need to understand is that forms are much more appealing than email addresses. People would much rather enter their email address into a form, hit submit, and receive the requested information in their email than open their email client, send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and wait for a response.
To get an idea of what I’ll be talking about for the rest of this article, pop up
this page in your browser.
The big advantage of a form like the one at the URL above is that because of its size, it will easily fit into most navigation bars. Secondly, because you are providing quality, free information about something you sell, the recipients of your articles will come to view you as an expert on your topic. You can insert a short ad at the bottom of the article for your product, and people will be very receptive to it because:
a.) They requested free information about a particular subject, and they received it. If the article is well-written, and useful, you will become, in their mind, an expert on that particular product.
b.) Since they are requesting information about a specific product, they obviously are interested in purchasing it.
If you set up a form like this, you can get thousands of QUALITY leads. You can go as far as capturing the email addresses of those requesting the articles, and a day or two after they received the articles, follow up with an email asking if they have any questions about the product that you can help them with. Be careful with this part, as your follow-up email could be interpreted as spam. I would word the email something like this:
A couple of days ago you requested the article entitled "What every widget salesman doesn’t want you to know," from http://www.WidgetBase.com . I just wanted to let you know that if you have any questions about widgets, you can personally email me at email@example.com or call me at 555-555-1233 and I’d be glad to help you.
Thanks for visiting WidgetBase.com!
—– Some Person The best prices on quality widgets, with FREE shipping: http://www.WidgetBase.com"
Do not subscribe people who requested the free report to your newsletter, unless you made it abundantly clear that they would be subscribed to your newsletter. Instead, you can offer a free subscription to your newsletter at the bottom of your free report and follow-up email.
The technical aspect of setting up the autoresponders is beyond the scope of this article, but basically what you need to do is set up some sort of a CGI-Script on your server that will send the requests for information to the correct autoresponders. I’m happy to say that a CGI-Script is now available to do exactly what I described in my article. The script is available at:
Where can you get autoresponders? Virtually all hosting companies provide them as part of their normal packages, so ask them first. You can also obtain free autoresponders from:
Update: I’m happy to say that a CGI-Script is now available to do exactly
what I described in my article. William, who wrote the script, is making it freely available until February 22nd 2000. After that, you’ll have to pay $9.95 to use it. The script is available at:
Click on Generate Program, and use WT79 as the special code to get the script for free.
Matt is the co-founder of SitePoint, 99designs and Flippa. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.