Truth be told – both is the correct answer, as they serve very different purposes.
But let’s get to the bottom of what the differences between the two are. If you’re exploring email automation, then you’ve probably heard these terms thrown around casually. And yet time and again I see people using them incorrectly. Read on for a low-down on the differences between an autoresponder and pre-scheduled emails.
Autoresponder – a sequence of pre-written emails that are triggered to be delivered after a certain number of days after you add a contact, client or prospect to your list. These communicate a consistent message to every receiver and is perfect for pitches you find yourself repeating over and over again, educational material you want to share to a wider audience, and much more. Here are just some ideas of how you can use these kinds of emails:
- Following up on an enquiry or proposal – after a meeting or a pitch, we all usually have a standard type of follow up email we send the potential client. So why not automate the process? A simple set of follow up emails sent later the same day and a few days post-meeting will mean you don’t have to spend time chasing after anyone, and can save your energy for those that respond to let you know they want to work with you, or buy your product. Your emails can be asking a simple “Just following up to see if you have had a chance to make a decision about the proposal we presented at the meeting” or perhaps something a bit more substantial – it’s totally up to you. Just remember to remove the contact off the sequence list once they respond back with a decision – the last thing you want is your sequence following up about the meeting after they already made a decision!
- Helping to on-board a new customer – just like the previous point, save your time and say what you’re always repeating to new customers into a sequence of emails. Especially if you’ve already communicated with one or two new customers in the past, just copy over or use what you wrote to them as inspiration to draft up a series of emails for future customers.
- Online enquiries – don’t let your online audiences go for days, hours or minutes without hearing from you! Set up a sequence to follow up on their interest in you instantly to keep them engaged and interested while you tend to their enquiry in real time when you’re next online. A Harvard Business Review study showed that you’re 7x more likely to have a meaningful conversation with an online enquiry if you respond within an hour.
- A training course – if you have a subject you’re an expert in or one you find yourself constantly teaching to others, break it down into a few days (or even months) worth of emails. These emails can either contain links to your webpages with the training content, to YouTube videos, or you can write the training content right there inside the email. You can use this training course as a giveaway for people to sign up to your list so you can promote your other products and services to them later. Or alternatively, you could even charge people to be added to this list so that once they pay, they will automatically start receiving the training course sequence of emails.
- And of course countless other applications – the limit is your imagination!
Pre-scheduled emails, also known as newsletters – these emails are sent on specific dates or days and not every person on the list will receive all of them because those who are added to the list at a later date will completely miss the previous messages. This approach works well for:
- Announcements and news about your business – a new product or service, a recent award you received, a family addition for one of your staff, a rebrand – any news is newsworthy so keep your supporters updated!
- Emails designed to introduce your whole product and service range. Often times customers won’t be aware of everything you do and sell. Pre-scheduled emails are an excellent way to both keep in touch and introduce other aspects of your business to drive cross-selling.
- Messages related to an event you’re running – let your contacts know how proactive and social your business is by sending announcements about a timely upcoming event you’re organizing, are attending, sponsoring or involved with.
- A discount sale – the cliché newsletter topic that still WORKS! Announce your product or service sales and whenever possible, offer a way to purchase online so your receivers can strike while their interest is HOT!
- Introduction of time sensitive deals, terms and conditions, your team, and other interesting information you can share to stay at the forefront of your audience’s minds.
- And much, much more
To summarise, an autoresponder is a set of emails aimed at automatically responding to a customer. And pre-scheduled emails are a set of emails meant to go out on a specific day to a specific list, once the email has been sent it’s not repeated again.
As you can see, both types of emails are important for businesses. So for best results, we suggest a combination of email sequences so you can keep in touch with both existing and potential clients in a customized manner. If you’re not sure what kind of automated emails will work for your business, or if you’d like for our team to do all the manual set up work while you sit back and prosper from the extra enquiries and sales, check out Set’n’Prosper today.