One of the most underutilized tools for every organization is email. Organizations are certainly familiar with email and, quite honestly, they are unaware that they abuse it. Typically when we think of an underutilized tool we try and remember tools we’ve forgotten about. The problem with email is not that we forget about it, but organizations never even consider how best to use it.
“It takes a lot more time and effort to respond to an email than it does to write one.” – Can’t remember who said it 🙂
One way that you can begin leveraging email in a more powerful way is by exploring the autoresponder.
If you’re unfamiliar with the autoresponder, it is the practice of sequencing emails based upon actions a user takes. For instance, if a user signs up for an event, the host may place them in a queue to receive a sequence of follow up emails. These emails can be anything from answering questions about the event registered for all the way to introducing additional products or services. The point of the autoresponder is to communicate with clients, customers, congregants and followers with consistency and clarity.
A local mechanic begun using autoresponders to educate customers how to take care of their cars helping them get ahead of potential repairs. By getting ahead of repairs and looking for signs of wear customers can then schedule a time to get the car fixed rather than find themselves getting a tow. His goal is to help them think of car care as saving them time and money.
At my former church, we used autoresponders to tell the story of our church to newsletter subscribers. When someone would signup for the newsletter, they would receive a sequence of emails highlighting the values of the church through the stories of church members.
No matter what industry you’re in, autoresponders can help you connect with your customers in a personal way. Perhaps one objection to autoresponders is that they are not personal. If that happens to be your objection or concern, I would say this: don’t send any information to someone that isn’t relevant to them. If the information is valuable it won’t matter that it is a sequence. If you are truly trying to help people and add value to their lives, an auto responder simply helps you scale that desire into something manageable.