email marketing

Email Marketing and Autoresponder Guide

What’s an autoresponder?

 If you’ve ever asked for information online about a product or service, or signed up for an e-list or group membership on the Internet, and received a nearly instantaneous response in your e-mail inbox, an autoresponder program was responsible for delivering the reply.

 Simply put, autoresponders are e-mail programs that send out a preset message in response to every incoming e-mail received. Some autoresponders, like sign-up services for e-groups and forums, are one-shot deals: a single response for every message received. Just about every Internet-based company uses autoresponders for a variety of purposes, from automating tasks that would otherwise take up hundreds of man-hours to building lists and tracking prospective leads.

 Multiple autoresponders send a series of messages to received e-mail addresses on a predetermined, timed basis. For instance, a multiple autoresponder can be used to send an instant response, then a follow-up message three days later, then another five days after that, and so on. It can be programmed to send a message a day, one per week, twice monthly, or any interval that satisfies the purpose of the message series. 

Autoresponders are the most powerful Internet marketing tools available. They are easy to use, and once they’re set up the entire marketing process is automated and instant. When you use autoresponders, your Internet business runs itself 24 hours a day. 

Launching an effective autoresponder campaign can mean the difference between a struggling business and a wildly successful one.

 How can I make sales and money with autoresponders? 

 Just about any online business can benefit by using autoresponders. In fact, with a properly arranged campaign, your as-yet-unfounded business can be built around an autoresponder program. All you need is a product and an effective series of autoresponder messages, and you can start carving your piece of the Internet pie. Your autoresponder is your golden goose: the marketing tool that will sell your well-developed product far more effectively than any other form of advertising. Few sales are made by impulse buyers, particularly on the internet. But if you are able to get your message out repeatedly to people who are already interested in what you have to offer, you will see an explosive sales response.  

You’ll learn how to choose a topic that works best for you and your situation; research your market and find or develop great content that people want to buy; start you own automated storefront web site; tailor your autoresponder messages for maximum effectiveness; and build a powerful opt-in autoresponder list that will make money even while you sleep. 


 To make money with autoresponders, you need a product or service like your lawn care company services. Also, your topic must be an area in which you have personal interest or expertise. If you can put your passion into your marketing material, people will be able to tell that you believe in what you’re selling. This builds trust and sales.

 In this chapter we’ll talk about how to choose a topic that covers both these areas: widespread appeal, and your personal interest or expertise to back it up. Your personal interests and areas of expertise People who like their jobs are happier. Their enthusiasm spills over into their work, and they often find themselves receiving promotions or raises and attracting customers without even trying.  

If you’re comfortable talking about your services and you are passionate about the subject, your confidence will permeate every area of your autoresponder program. You will receive unsolicited comments from buyers who are pleased with your service.  You’ll be able to build consumer trust because people will know that you endorse your services 100 percent.

 One aspect of developing your personal interest in a topic is to actually use the information you’re offering yourself. That way, when you discuss the benefits of buying your product, you’ll be able to get personal about the experience. Another important part of choosing your topic is identifying your area of expertise. This doesn’t mean you have to be an “expert.” It just means that it will be far easier for you to sell a service you know a lot about—and far easier for buyers to part with their hard-earned money when they know they are purchasing from a knowledgeable source.  Think you don’t have an area of expertise? You may know more than you think you know. The topics you’re familiar with don’t have to come from a job or college courses.

 Building Credibility—When What You Have Isn’t Enough

 Most of the time when working with autoresponders, you won’t have to worry about credibility. Your well-developed product will speak for itself. However, if you don’t have background experience that relates to your chosen topic and you would feel more confident with credentials, there are several simple ways to position yourself as an expert in your field.


These can range from short blurbs to full-page letters, and can be used for a variety of purposes, including establishing credibility. A full discussion on getting and using testimonials can be found later in this book. 


 If you choose a topic that you’re interested in but haven’t had much experience working with, you will have to do some research. As you find out more, you can write short, informative articles on your subject and publish them on the internet to establish yourself as knowledgeable in your field. There are hundreds of thousands of web sites looking for content that will be happy to publish articles with your byline and a link to your web site.

Marketability: Will they buy?

 We’ve mentioned that the topic you choose has to not only be of interest to you, but also have widespread appeal. This is the marketability factor. You will have to be able to make your product interesting and attractive to buyers. So you’ll need a subject that a broad audience can relate to.

 How can you tell if your topic will interest enough buyers to make your autoresponder campaign successful? The following quiz will help you determine the marketability factor for your product. The sooner you can hook people into a sale during the buying process, the more likely your autoresponder campaign will be profitable.

 What are the benefits of knowing more about your topic that lawn care customers would gain by buying your product? People want to know they’re getting what they pay for. Your topic should be able to provide buyers with some tangible knowledge or skill they would not otherwise have if they hadn’t purchased your product. Being able to list the benefits of your product will also help in your marketing, which will be discussed further.


 Now that you’ve chosen some topics related to your lawn care services, it’s time to research your market. If the word “research” makes you break out in a sweat and experience flashbacks to all that time you spent in high school poring over books, scribbling out notes and wondering why teachers delight in torturing their students, don’t worry—it’s easier than you think. There are no card catalogues involved in this type of research. In fact, you might find it fun!

 The purpose of market research is an important one: you are going to determine who will buy your product, where they hang out both on and offline, and how you can best reach them through advertising your autoresponder program. The more you can pinpoint your target market, the better success (and profits) you will see. There are many methods of performing market research. We’ll cover the most effective ones here. All of the following examples are fast, easy, and best of all…free. For best results, use each one of them and arm yourself with as much information as possible.  This way, when you launch your autoresponder campaign, your earnings will truly be automatic. 

Searches: Google

Internet searches are extremely effective in finding not only how popular your topic is, but how to set up your autoresponder for maximum results. A vast majority of internet users find what they’re looking for by searching they use a general web search engine like Google. A quick search on your topic will reveal how many people are interested, and what convinces them to check products out.


Without a doubt, Google is the most popular internet search engine—so much so, its  name has become a synonym for the act of running a web search (i.e., “I couldn’t find that site that posts the winning lottery numbers, so I just Googled it.”) Many internet marketers make increasing their site ranking—the “place in line” the site appears in  Google results using their keywords—one of the key components of their advertising campaigns. Obtaining a top 10 Google rank (appearing on the first page of search results) is akin to winning an Olympic gold medal in the marketing world.

The key to advertising success on Google and other sites:  the right keywords How can this help you with your market research? By studying the top search results for pages you find through keywords relating to your topic, you can find out what these sites are doing to achieve search engine success. The following steps will help you run an effective and informative Google search.

 1. List keywords and keyword phrases relating to your topic. For example, if your topic is “weed free lawn,” your list of keywords might be: how to kill weeds, weed control zoysia, weed and feed and type in your first keyword or phrase, then click on “Google Search.”

 NOTE: If you are not familiar with Google, clicking on “I’m Feeling Lucky” will not produce a list of web sites; it will take you directly to what Google has determined the most relevant site for your keyword. But if you’re in the mood for a laugh, you might try “I’m Feeling Lucky” just for kicks. When you receive the search results, check out the pages that are relevant to your topic (search engines are by no means exact, and sometimes you will find results that don’t relate to your topic—or at least, not in the way you had in mind). The best way to do this is to right-click on the links you want to visit and choose “Open in new window.” This will keep the Google search results page open so you don’t have to backtrack through your browser to find it again.

 Note the way the sites are laid out (is it appealing and easy to read, or does it make your eyes bleed?), what kind of text is on the front page (does it seem informative, or is it all hype? Are there a lot of spelling and grammar errors?), and whether there is an obvious available product. If there is a site counter, note how many visitors the site has received. Repeat this process with the rest of your keywords. You will often find the same sites showing up in the top 10 for different, related searches. Pay special attention to these; they are the ones you may want to emulate when you create the web site for your autoresponder.

NOTE: If you run a Google search on your topic and find only two or three related web sites before the results turn up unrelated material, it may indicate there is a limited market for your topic. In this case you should either rewrite your keywords and try again, or consider choosing a different topic altogether. 

Groups and Forums 

The internet is a worldwide community connecting people with common interests who would otherwise never have had the opportunity to meet. There are groups and forums dedicated to just about any topic imaginable. For you, the main benefit of finding a group or forum related to your subject is a pre-assembled bunch of folks you know will be interested in what you have.

 When dealing with groups and forums, the worst thing you can do is join up and immediately post a message asking people to buy your product. For internet group members, this is like having a salesperson show up uninvited at the front door of their house. At best your message will be ignored; at worst, you may find yourself banned from the group before you get started. When you find groups or forums relating to your topic, sign up and spend some time looking around, posting introductory messages and reading what the other members have to say. Reply to some posts and get to know some of them first. Then when you’re ready to start talking about your product, you’ll have a more receptive audience. During this time, do your research: notice what the group likes and dislikes, the things that interest them enough to spark long discussions.

 Pay attention to the general demographics of the group as well. What is an “average member” like? This will help you hone in further on your target market. Here are some places to get started finding groups and forums. A directory of online groups and forums hosted by Yahoo, searchable by category or keyword. Yahoo! is one of the most popular providers of free group sites—you might even consider starting your own free group so you can get to know your target market better.  The search engine giant maintains separate engine listings for web sites, images, and groups. Just plug in your topic or keywords to find groups all over the internet related to your subject. You can also create your own free groups through Google.

Another online community of groups and forums, with a handy by-subject index and a search box. MSN has free group and chat room creation as well. A directory of internet forums, also searchable by keyword or topic and allowing free creation of your own forum for discussion.

Survey Says? Conducting Marketing Surveys

Marketing surveys are invaluable tools for discovering precise, targeted information about your intended audience. This method is so important, there are several companies that have made a business of providing marketing surveys to other businesses for a fee. The good news is, you can perform marketing surveys yourself without paying a dime and still get great results.

 Ideally, you would institute a marketing survey after you’ve built an opt-in list (covered in a later chapter). But you can start mining your market for information even before you have your product ready. Groups and forums are good places to start; or you can set up a free mini-site just for your survey. You can even enlist friends and family to help you out by filling out surveys.

 Constructing Your Survey 

 Have you ever received an offer for an exciting free gift provided you fill out a survey— only to discover the questions you had to answer required pages of information and would take up more of your time than you were willing to invest for whatever incentive was offered? This is a prime example of an ineffective marketing survey. You don’t want to lose consumer interest before they get to the good part: your product.

 The principle of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) should apply liberally to marketing surveys. The easier you make it for people to fill out your survey, the more likely they will be to respond. Try to keep it to 20 questions or less, including demographic information (age, gender and location—do not ask for names, as most people prefer to remain anonymous when filling out surveys). Also, make as many as you can yes/no or multiple choice answers, and remember to include space for additional comments.

 A well-designed survey will impress your customers – and that means more sales

 One great way to get survey responses is to offer a free incentive upon completion. This can be an e-book, a mini-course, or even the full version of your product when it is released (if you choose to give away free product, be sure to state only a limited number of respondents will receive the free gift. This also creates urgency and helps to increase response). A full discussion on free incentives can be found further in this book.

Setting Up Your Survey 

 There are many ways to go about setting up your marketing survey. One is to compose an e-mail and ask people to hit “Reply” and fill in the answers. This method is easier for you to set up, but some people would not respond simply because they do not know how to add text to a reply. Also, because of differences in browsers and e-mail programs, some of your responses may be choppy and difficult to interpret.

 Another method is to set up a web-based form that sends responses to your inbox. Most of these are simple and free to set up; when you send out your survey request, you would only have to include a link to your form in the e-mail. Here are some places you can set up a free web-based form for your survey:

 A thirty-day free trial allowing you to test 400+ survey templates for your web site. NOTE: Thirty days should be plenty of time for you to conduct market research, so you won’t have to pay for the service. 

By signing up for a free membership, you will receive free survey creation software and access to survey templates online.

 Free web-based survey creation service that allows you to include dropdown lists, radio buttons, comment boxes and more. You can check your survey results online and have individual results sent directly to participants.

 When e-mailing links to your survey, make sure your subject line is compelling and to-the-point, and the text is short and direct—particularly if you’re posting to a group or sending a request to people who have not asked to take your survey. Following is a sample of what your survey invitation might look like:

SUBJECT: You are a few clicks away from a free Mowing Guide

Have you ever wondered how to mow your lawn at the proper height for the different seasons? We are developing an exciting new free ebook on how to do just that—and we need your input. And just for taking a few moments to answer [number] simple questions, we will give you a free [incentive] for your time! Click here to take the survey and claim your free gift: [link to your survey] 

NOTE: Do not use ALL CAPS in the subject line or body of your e-mail. Many spam filters discard messages that use excessive capital letters, and your message will be lost before your target has the chance to think about it. Posting surveys on your web site is a useful tool even beyond the marketing phase. The more interactive your web site is, the more likely people will return to visit again.


 Your content is related to your services. You must offer high quality information on your topic that would be otherwise unavailable without being on your list. There are two ways to get content: create it yourself, or pay to have it created. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Review them, and choose which is right for you.

Original Content

If you are very knowledgeable about your topic, or plan to be, you may want to consider creating original content by writing your own e-book or e-course. The main advantage to creating your own content is the competitive edge you will gain. With affiliate programs, there are several people selling the same product. However, if you write the book or program yourself, you have a unique take on your topic not available anywhere else.

 The downside to original content is the time investment you must make. If you do not have extensive or specialized knowledge in your chosen topic, you may want to enroll in an affiliate program, as the results can be just as effective and profitable in either case—as long as you know which areas to focus on.


 Creating a great autoresponder message series is the key to making serious money on the internet. Studies have proven that most consumers buy only after repeated exposure to a product. Having an autoresponder system is the hassle-free, automated way to put your product in front of interested buyers enough times to move them from consideration to purchase.

 An approximate breakdown of the percentage of people who buy according to product exposure is:

 16 percent after one or two messages

34 percent after three or four messages

 34 percent after five or six messages

 16 percent after seven or more messages (and the passage of a considerable mount of time for deliberation)

 This means the largest percent of your target market will buy after receiving three to six messages about your product. To build an effective autoresponder campaign, you should prepare eight to ten messages to load into your program. Each message should build on the previous one, and make your product more enticing to buyers. There are several methods you can use to increase interest through autoresponder messages. 

Once you have your autoresponder messages set up, you will need to determine the timing. You can send one a day, three at one-day intervals with weekly follow-ups; one a week (this is recommended for paid autoresponder e-courses), or any interval you would like. 

Components of a Typical Autoresponder Message

So how, exactly, do you go about composing an autoresponder message? Here’s a breakdown of what your messages should contain. NOTE: These guidelines are just that: guidelines. There is no concrete method and you may feel free to use your own creativity. This will simply give you a framework to build your messages on.

 Subject line. The subject line is the first thing people will see when they receive your message. Therefore, it must be compelling enough to keep them from deleting the message unread. Which of the following e-mail subjects would you be more likely to click on: “Eliminate All Weeds Overnight!” or “Here is your free Report #1 on Optimum Mowing and choosing The Right Mower”? You may have jumped at the first one, but think about it: to most internet users, the first is obviously spam and would be deleted without a second thought. The second subject line implies that not only have you requested the information (and everyone receiving your autoresponder messages will have requested the information; see the section on opt-in lists), but you are receiving something of value for nothing. Be understated, but as specific as possible with your subject line to ensure your message is opened.

   Compelling opening sentence. Let’s say you clicked on the second subject line in the preceding example. You now have the message open, and the first line is this: “Perfect Lawn and Landscape Overnight. Sign Up for services for only $1,000. Now, Will you read further? Chances are, you’re already looking for the delete button. This opening is long on hype and short on promise—not to mention riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes. But what if the first sentence reads: “Learn how proper watering can help you avoid lawn disease”. Will you continue? Probably. There is no outright pressure to buy anything; you are being given something for free that will benefit you. So far, it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time.  

Disclaimer. This should not be lengthy. Immediately following your compelling opening sentence, remind people they are receiving your message because they asked to be on your list. It will keep them from clicking the “spam” button if they decide they aren’t interested in your product, and keep your autoresponder and web site off internet blacklists. 

Your Introductory Paragraph

Explain in a concise paragraph exactly what your product will do for the buyer. Avoid using ALL CAPS or excessive punctuation!!! This looks amateurish and will almost certainly get your message deleted.

Subheads and Further Information

Write compelling subheads, set on separate lines within your message, that describe certain benefits or sections of your program, then follow up with a short paragraph of explanation.

A Call to Action

 After several subheads and short paragraphs of information, reveal your services. State what it is and here customers can get it and how much it costs.

 NOTE: To make your price impressive, state the retail value of your product (many affiliate and reseller programs have this in place already), and then reveal your price as a deep discount. When setting your price, aim for the high side at first and be willing to lower it in later follow-up messages—this will give people an even stronger incentive to buy after message 3 or 4. For example, your call to action in your first message might try to sell your all inclusive program with all the services you offer.  Later offers may cover a basic 7-8 service program with one upsell like aeration or pH balancing.

 Reminder of follow-up messages. Let your subscribers know the next time you will contact them, which will be the time interval you’ve set for your autoresponder distribution—tomorrow, in a few days, next week. Be sure to include a teaser of what will be revealed in the next message.

 Unsubscribe Link

 This is critical to a successful autoresponder campaign. You must give subscribers the option to discontinue receiving messages from you, or you will be labeled as spam. Most autoresponder services will provide you with an automatic unsubscribe list for all your autoresponder series. All you have to do is make sure to include the link in your message.

 Making your Message Irresistible

 With the inundation of available products and information on the market today, you will have approximately three seconds—yes, three seconds—to hook a buyer’s interest and keep him or her reading. Fortunately, there are ways to breach this barrier and keep the consumer riveted to your message.

 Passion. Remember when you were choosing the topic for your product? Personal interest was a key element in that decision-making product. Now that you have a topic you believe in, let that passion show in your autoresponder messages. Mention those aspects of your product you find particularly fascinating and give them your personal endorsement.

 Write casual. Make your message read the way a conversation in a restaurant would sound. Big words might impress some people, but most of them just want to know what you have to say—and they aren’t going to rush to the dictionary in the middle of reading your message to find out what you’re talking about. Use short sentences and keep it straightforward and direct. Don’t be afraid to use contractions instead of the more proper two word phrases. Do, however, make sure your spelling and grammar is correct. You want to seem friendly, not sloppy. Be personal. You are writing a message that will be read by thousands of people, one at a time. Each person who opens your message is an individual, and will be far more at ease if you address them as a person rather than a piece of the collective public. Use the word “you” as often as possible, and limit the use of “I.” You don’t want to tell them why you’re so great. You want them to know how purchasing your product will benefit them, and why they should part with their hard-earned money to hear what you have to say. 

Eliminate extra words. As previously mentioned, keep your message simple and clear. If you have an “effective web site marketing technique,” don’t say it’s a “wonderfully amazing, mind-blowing web site marketing extravaganza method.” No one wants to try and cut through all the fluff and hype to try and decode your message. It’s also annoying.

 Use decisive language. Try to use action verbs whenever possible—this means replacing as many instances of “are,” “is,” “was,” and “were” in your message with stronger wording. For example: instead of writing “If your web site has been languishing with low sales, this program might be able to help your business grow,” say: “Your web site sales will increase dramatically with this program.” Write your messages with the confidence that your product is worth paying for, and your subscribers will be more comfortable buying. 

Give reasons and incentives. Don’t be afraid to repeat the benefits of your product throughout your message. Just as repetitive contact is effective in converting prospects to buyers, repetitive reminders of benefits—without bludgeoning people over the head with them—can reinforce everything they stand to gain from a purchase. Also, reveal some of the information in your product within your marketing message without giving everything away, and then state that even more exciting information can be found when you purchase a service.

 Testimonials: A Marketer’s Best Friend  

Testimonials are a great way to build consumer confidence in your services. Hearing from other people who have purchased the services and are satisfied with the results goes a long way toward making sales. Testimonials can range from short blurbs (a sentence or two, or a paragraph) to letter-length ndorsements. The blurbs are great for interspersing with the text of your autoresponder messages; longer testimonials are excellent for posting on your web site.

How Do You Get Testimonials?

Once you start selling your product, you will likely receive unsolicited notes from buyers who are pleased with their purchases. But at the outset of your campaign, before you have actually began selling anything, there are several ways to get testimonials:

 Friends and family. Ask friends and family to review your product and write a few sentences describing what they like about it and why they would recommend it to others. This may seem like cheating, but no one has to know you’re acquainted with your testimonial writers—and besides, if they actually like the product, there is nothing dishonest about it.

Colleagues and experts in your field. If you work or have worked in a field relating to your topic, ask your coworkers (or former coworkers) to write up a testimonial blurb for you. Swap testimonials with B2B businesses you work with.  Pest control companies you recommend, realtors, landscapers.  Exchanging testimonals is a win-win for both of you. Ask followers on your social media if they would mind reviewing your services in exchange for a free service or discount.

 Most reviewers work on a free-product basis and will be happy to do so.

NOTE: Always make sure you have the permission of the person who wrote the testimonial to use their name and words in your marketing materials. Get it in writing or by e-mail, even from friends and family. Make that especially from friends and family. You never know when a disagreement will result in a rescinding of an offer to help. If you get permission via e-mail, simply end your disclaimer message (I hereby give [your name] permission to use my name and remarks for marketing purposed, signed X) with a line that states: Typing my initials here constitutes my official signature___. Then just ask them to reply to the message, add their full name and initials, and hit send. Most people will be willing to do this.

 Spam-Me-Not: Avoiding Too Much Hype

 Keep in mind when constructing your messages and building your subscriber list that there are two types of marketing: “cold selling,” or unsolicited e-mail; and opt-in selling. It is highly recommended that you do not engage in cold selling. This is considered spam. If enough people report your address as spam, you will be banned from ISPs and search engines. The occasional sale you see from cold selling will not be enough to compensate for your being blacklisted on the internet. On the other hand, building an opt-in list is a perfectly acceptable and highly successful method that will keep you from being labeled bad business. With an opt-in list, people ask to be added to your subscriber database because they’re interested in your topic.  Opt-in subscribers should always be given the option to opt out…but you would be surprised how many people don’t bother clicking the unsubscribe link, and eventually make their way to your site to investigate your product further. When preparing your autoresponder messages, it is imperative to strike a balance between excitement and hype about your product. You must avoid wording your messages so that they look, feel and smell like spam, even if they have been requested. 

This means following the rules of creating direct and simple messages as described above (no writing in ALL CAPS, or putting seven exclamation points at the end of every paragraph).

Deadly Spam Sins to Avoid:

 Do not write your message in 18-point Impact Red or other “flashy” font styles and sizes. This does not draw attention to your product; it draws attention to your inexperience. It’s perfectly acceptable to use color in your autoresponder messages, and in fact may help to strengthen that three- second lead time by pulling attention to those compelling subheads you wrote (you did write compelling subheads, didn’t you?). But for the most part, keep your entire message in the same font and type size, using emphasis like color, bold and italics sparingly for effect.

Do not stuff your messages with “cool” graphics, animated smileys, or a dreaded Flash presentation. This slows down load time considerably, and many people won’t wait for your incredible pictures to appear on the screen.  

Do not use chat language, or “leet,” in the text of your message. Even to people who know what LOL, IMHO, IOW and ROFLMAO* stand for, this is not professional and does not score you any “friendly” points. And if your subscribers don’t know what these abbreviations stand for, they will be quick to dismiss you as inept. (*In case you don’t know yourself: LOL=laughing out loud or laughing on line; IMHO=in my humble opinion; IOW=in other words; and ROFLMAO=roll on floor laughing my a** off.)

Do remind people that  one,hey are receiving your message because they requested more information (or a friend suggested they would like to receive the information; see the following section on name squeezing for further details), and two, they can opt out of further messages using a link you have  provided at the end of the message.

 Spam Filters: Is Your Message Zap-Proof?

 Just about every e-mail program has built-in spam filters that route unwanted messages to a separate folder, often called a “bulk” folder, whose contents are routinely deleted by either the program or the owner of the account. Following the suggestions above for avoiding spam-type messages will go a long way toward ensuring your autoresponders don’t get diverted to an early grave. Here are more tips on beating spam filters and verification programs:

 Subject line don’ts: Never begin your subject line with ADV: or include the word “advertisement.” Do not state “this e-mail sent in compliance with…” And never use the word “free” in the subject line—especially in all caps. In fact, never use the word FREE (in all caps) anywhere in the message. If possible, avoid using all caps altogether.

From address: When you set up your web site and associated e-mail. This guarantees you an automatic trip to the bulk folder. Within the message: Never say “for free?” or “for free!” or use the words “extra income” in the body of your message. Recently, many internet marketers attempting to bypass spam filters have begun breaking up the word “free”anywhere it appears in their sales copy: f-ree or are the most commonly used methods.  Keep your messages out of spam oblivion by adhering to these guidelines, and you will see your sales and response rates climb.

 Formatting your autoresponder messages

If you use the internet regularly, you have probably received at least a few e-mails that look something like this:

Dear Customer,  (use first name if you have it)

 Congratulations! You have been selected

 >>to receive a free

 >>>insect control treatment,

 >during our promotional giveaway here at

 >XYX Lawn Care Company

This is either the result of multiple forwarding, or poor formatting on the part of the sender. Not many people would try to interpret this kind of mess if it was sent to them by a stranger, even if the information was requested. How can you avoid giving your autoresponder messages that choppy, I-can’t-use-a-computer feel?

 First, you should understand why this occurs. Every e-mail program is different, allowing different line lengths for their viewing windows. If your e-mail program allows 75 characters per line, it may look fine on your screen—but when you send it to someone whose program allows only 70 characters per line, those last five characters get moved to the next line and break up your message with those pesky > signs. Another potential problem is the font you choose. Fonts like Courier New are fixed-width: every character takes up the same amount of space. But fonts like Times New Roman (the default font for most word processing programs) and Arial have varying width according to the character: an “i” takes up less space than a “w” and so forth. This variance in space creates the same broken effect as the line length problem. Keep your messages in a fixed-width font (10-point size is best in nearly every case) and make sure each line is 60 to 65 characters long. When you reach the limit, use a hard return to start the next line rather than allowing your word processing program to wrap the text. If you’re using Microsoft Word to compose your messages, there is a  counter at the bottom of the window that tells you what line and character number you’re on as you type (this reads Ln ## Col ##) which you can use to ensure you’re staying at 65 or less. You can also create a guide at the top of the page you’re working on (you will delete the guide after you finish your message) that will allow you to determine your line length at a glance. Your guide should look like this: 


Another way to avoid sending garbled messages is to save them in a universal format. May people mistakenly believe ASCII works on all computers, but this is not the case. 

You should save (and copy and paste) your messages in either Plain Text (this is almost always in Courier New font) or Rich Text format (the format every word processing program can open, which allows you to preserve color, bold and italicized text). You will find these file formats listed in the Save As dropdown box on your Save window.

 Get Started With Email Marketing Now

 There are several autoresponder programs available for internet marketers, all with different features and pricing plans. There are several that are free until you get more than 100 customers.  Check out MailChimp and  MailerLite to get started. 

Now that you know you need to collect emails, and get them set up in your autoresponder to receive marketing emails, you should check out our article about lawn care business websites.  Your website will be an important place to collect email addresses.  However you collect emails, get started today and watch your business grow as your email list grows. 

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