by: Albert Hoogendoorn
"Free Autoresponders!" It sounds to good to be true. But is this
the right option for You and Your Home Business?
There are three sources of free Autoresponders that might be
considered when you work at home :
 Autoresponders offered by your web host
 Services like Sendfree and FreeAutoBot
 The 'light' versions of Professional Autoresponder Services
[Ad. 1] If your Autoresponder needs are simple, such as merely
sending a single message reassuring your customers that you'll get
back to them, you can probably use the free Autoresponders that
usually come as part of your web hosting package. The procedure to
set up these Autoresponders vary from web host to web host, but it
is usually trivial, involving a visit to your web host's control
panel to activate it. I use these free to distribute back issues of
Newsletters and to send my articles on demand. These Autoresponders
do nothing more than 'respond', they do not capture email addresses
and have no personalization features.
There is an even more important consideration. If you decide to
change your web host, or should your host go out of business, you
will lose your entire system! All of the Autoresponder links that
you've worked so hard to set up on other websites, in newsletters,
on classified ads sites, etc. will no longer work. You'll lose all
the profits and traffic they were directing towards your website!
Free Autoresponders can be very expensive in lost income and
If you need an Autoresponder to send more than one message, or if
you need to schedule messages to be sent at certain intervals over a
period of time, you will either need to program your mail system on
your domain, or use one of the free (or commercial) Autoresponder
systems around (some of which are listed below).
[Ad. 2] The free Autoresponder services listed below are third
party services. In general, the services are provided free in
exchange for advertising - that is, many of them place
advertisements in your Autoresponders (usually at the beginning).
Visit the sites listed below to find out more details.
I am sure you know by now that nothing is really "free" on the
Internet, or anywhere else for that matter. However, if you are
willing to have other companies advertise on your message with their
logos and banners, then there is almost a limitless number of
companies to choose from.
I suggest you not use any of them, unless your site is simply a
hobby site or a site to keep in touch with friends and relatives. If
you are in business, you want your customers focused on your
message, not other links that can distract them and lead them right
off your message. You also have no way of controlling what
advertising messages will appear. Maybe even one from a competitor!
The second reason why you don't want to use these "free"
Autoresponders is because your potential clients will instantly see
that you are using a free service. This looks unprofessional and
cheap. You could quickly lose the credibility you had carefully
built up to that point.
[Ad. 3] The third source of free Autoresponders is using the
'light' versions of the Commercial Autoresponder Services like
Getresponse. You can check-out the following link:
Again, these services are provided free in exchange for advertising
at the beginning of your Autoresponder messages. In my opinion, if
you want to be serious with your business don't use these free
'light' Autoresponders. However it is great to use these free
'light' Autoresponders to learn the features of these services. It
is no problem to use these free services during your system startup
and upgrade later when everything is in place.
The conclusion is that you must be careful with free
Autoresponder Services. When you are serious with your home
business, don't destroy your image as professional by using an
Autoresponder that will add the statement "this is a free
Autoresponder service" to all your messages.
|About The Author
Albert Hoogendoorn is the publisher of Autoresponder Ezine, a free
bi-weekly email newsletter about Autoresponders and email
marketing. Signup and get four valuable bonusses.