What Is An Auto-responder?
An autoresponder is a program that runs on a server designed to automatically reply to an incoming email message with a pre-written response.
Autoresponders were originally intended for employees who are out of the office and needed a way to automatically respond to incoming email messages with a notification that there would be a delay in their response until they were back at work.
Over time, autoresponder technology evolved to be used in other capacities, including sales and support. For example, when you make an online purchase and receive an email receipt, a human did not send it. The message was sent by an autoresponder.
Businesses soon learned that multiple autoresponders could be linked together in a sales strategy to make it appear as if a sales person was providing more individual attention to a customer than they were actually providing in the physical world.
When you make an inquiry with a company about a product or service and provide your email, you may decide not to actually enter into a transaction at that moment. A business might use autoresponders to wait a few days, then send you a pre-written message thanking you for coming in and reminding you that if you have any questions, the salesperson is just a phone call away.
If the system detects the autoresponder message was opened by the recipient, another autoresponder might be sent a few days later offering a sale or special discount for acting now.
None of these actions are conscious actions by the salesperson, but the end result is a sale generated in part, by an autoresponder.
If your business is not making use of autoresponders in at least a rudimentary way, you could be getting more sales and offering better service. It literally takes a few minutes to plan a strategy and write the messages, and then the server does the rest.