Understanding the Difference Between Autoresponders and Broadcast Emails

In our previous article we discussed the autoresponder services that can help you become significantly more efficient with your e-mail marketing efforts. It gets confusing when we use the phrase “autoresponder services” and then talk about “autoresponder messages” and “broadcast messages”, but an autoresponder service can generally send both types of messages. So don’t worry, once you have chosen an autoresponder service, you’re ready to use both of these different techniques.

Comparing Broadcasts to Autoresponders

Let’s discuss some of the differences between autoresponders and broadcast emails, so that you know what type of communication is likely to be better suited to each of your promotional campaigns.

Autoresponder Messages

Autoresponder MessagesAutoresponder e-mails are a series of messages that are sent to a subscriber at predetermined intervals once they sign up for your mailing list. The interval term is generally somewhere between a few days and a week or two, depending on the nature of your content. This allows you to build a relationship with each subscriber over time, and position yourself as a trusted source of information.

Pros:
• Autoresponder messages are relatively easy to administer. Once you’ve prepared a series of e-mails, you can use an autoresponder service to have them sent out at predetermined intervals to each new subscriber who signs up.
• Autoresponders can strengthen the relationship with your readers because they allow you to communicate with those individuals over an extended period of time.

Cons:
• Autoresponder messages may grow stale. Even though your messages can be reused for multiple subscribers over time, you still need to periodically assess whether the text of those messages needs to be revised in light of developments within your niche or industry.
• Autoresponder messages, if not drafted properly, can come off as impersonal and perhaps even having too strong of a sales message.

Broadcast Messages

Broadcast MessageBroadcast messages are those that occur outside of an autoresponder series of e-mails. One of the key features of a broadcast e-mail is that it can be highly topical and relate to “breaking news” type events. Broadcast e-mails can also make your mailing list aware of a new item or new promotion that you may be running.

Pros:
• Broadcast messages can be highly specific and targeted to some or all of the individuals on your email list.
• Broadcast messages don’t require the reader to commit to reading a series of emails over time; each message is a self-contained marketing message.

Cons:
• In contrast to autoresponder messages – where your subscribers have signed up specifically to receive them – you don’t always know when your subscribers will find a broadcast message interesting or valuable.
• It can sometimes be difficult to determine “how much is too much” when it comes to broadcast e-mails. The last thing you want to do is have one of your broadcast e-mails cause someone to unsubscribe from your list.

Now that you have a better idea of when to use an autoresponder series and when to use a broadcast message, you can decide what techniques you should use to build your mailing list and that’s exactly what we’ll talk about next time.