When something is easy to use and can accomplish something for you quickly, you can over-use and possibly abuse it, and that goes for Constant Contact, which is a very easy to use and versatile autoresponder, but consider everything you use it for very carefully.
When someone signs up for your newsletter, you never know when it’s going to be, so choosing to have Santa Claus ringing a bell in the background may be great for one week of the year, otherwise it will give the impression that you haven’t a clue what you’re doing, so use the K.I.S.S. principle. If you do want to send a Christmas message leave yourself a big note to change it back to a generic template the day after Christmas. Also bear in mind that not everyone on your list is a Christian and celebrates the Holidays, so it’s best not to go there at all.
If you send out a monthly newsletter it’s always a good idea to include the month, but with autoresponders, again, you don’t know when someone will sign up, so do not date your autoresponder emails.
Something I personally hate are too many autoresponder messages, the company that hosts my websites is guilty of this. When I submit a ticket if something is wrong, I get so many autoresponders telling me they’ve got my ticket, another one saying how long it will be to resolve the ticket, another saying someone is working on my problem, and then they want feedback after it is resolved, it drives me nuts, even though they are a great company. I waste precious time reading them all, and for what? Basically they are saying my problem is not yet fixed and I know that! Just tell me when it is, please.
Don’t ever send out autoresponders without double and triple checking everything first. If you have a number of different lists, for Pete’s sake make sure the right newsletter/email/whatever is going to the correct recipients or you may find yourself in a mess if you don’t.
Be sure to proofread everything twice if necessary. I can’t tell you how many autoresponder messages I get every week that have some serious typos in them. To me they look unprofessional and rushed – this person just can’t wait to make a few bucks out of me!
If you can give people choices, do. Some folks still don’t have high-speed internet, nor own sophisticated computers, so they may just want text only emails – any graphics may take too long to load. If you send a monthly newsletter and regular emails, have separate opt in boxes for each, that way you won’t be bombarding people with stuff they don’t want.
The regularity of your emails will depend on your particular subject or niche. If it’s a news niche, then a daily email recapping the day’s news would be acceptable. If it’s a knitting niche, probably once every week on a regular day will suffice. You have to strike a balance between annoying people and having them forget who you are.
Keep an eye on your unsubscribes, although you are always going to get some, if you get a massive unsubscribe after doing something radically new or different, then you’ll know not to do it again.
Autoresponders are wonderful time-savers, but have you ever sent something out that you regretted? Please tell us about it and save someone else from that experience.