An Autoresponder Primer

What are autoresponders?

An autoresponder is an e-mail utility that automatically returns a prewritten response to an email message that is submitted to a specific internet or email address. It is used by both individuals and websites to get back to users automatically with a pre-generated message. This message may read something like this- “We have received your account formation request. One of our account executives will get in touch with you shortly.”  It is a popular tool among websites to respond to visitor’s suggestions and comments at a preliminary level. It is the only way to communicate with inquiries when traffic is heavy.

Uses of Autoresponders

This automated service can be put to various uses like:

> If you are on a vacation, you may set an automated message stating that you will get in touch with their emails after your return.
> A company may set up autoresponders whenever some new account is requested for or a newsletter subscription.
> Enterprises also use autoresponders to point out the status of an online purchase. This typically includes an order confirmation number that is automatically generated in the email and sent to the purchasers.
> Autoresponders are used by companies to state that a particular resume has been accepted.
> Information packs about products and services can be attached to an auto responder so that the users get the message as well as information about products. Thus autoresponders are a novel way of educating and informing people about products and services.

Types of Autoresponders

There are three different types of autoresponders based on the criteria of where it is hosted. It may be hosted on the following mediums
* on the desktop
* on a locally hosted server
* remotely hosted server, that is, a server or website that is hosted by someone else

The first two mediums are totally under your control. Nevertheless, when it is remotely hosted then it is usually done through an external autoresponder service that offers their service under a fee.

Difference between these mediums

The primary difference among the three is that the remotely hosted autoresponders are web based programs while those that are locally or desktop hosted essentially are programs or scripts that run through your personal server or computer.

Web Based Autoresponders

This type of autoresponder is available through the web-hosting plan that you have subscribed to. Also known as one-shot autoresponders, you can set these up as well configure their settings through the web hosting control panel. Since it is a part of your web hosting package, there is no additional cost involved. The process of setting up is also easy and these especially excel at business tasks that involve answering FAQs.

Online Based Autoresponders

This is an external online service that is available through subscription. You need to pay monthly fees or follow any kind of package being offered. Some of the well-known online autoresponder services available are GetResponse, Aweber that are frequently used by professionals. Free online autoresponder are also available that includes ads in your messages. However you have no control over such ads.

Domain Based Autoresponders

These are software scripts that can be installed by you or have it installed on the web server. A script installation service can be used by paying a nominal fee for those who are not technically inclined. But the plus point is that you need to pay only once.