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What is an Email Autoresponder?

An email autoresponder refers to an email script that is automatically triggered in response to an event from a user. Triggered emails are similar to autoresponders, but are triggered in response to existing customer data, such as a user’s birthday or the length of inactivity.

An automatic email responder will include a set template based on the type of action the user performs, and may include some dynamic content to personalize the message.

While many people use autoresponders for personal use, such as setting up an “out of office” message, marketers can use email autoresponders for a wide range of use cases. We’ll examine some of the most common ways to use email autoresponders in marketing.

Common Types of Email Autoresponders

Confirmation Messages

Confirmation messages include transactional emails like subscription confirmations, order confirmations, shipping notices, and unsubscribe notices. These messages are in direct response to actions that the user has taken in connection with your brand, such as signing up for your mailing list or placing an order. Using email autoresponders is important for these types of actions because your customers will want immediate confirmation that the transaction they’ve initiated is under way or complete.

While the messages may be personalized in nature, including elements such as the customer’s name, order details, order number, or shipping information, they are not sent to market to your customers—they’re sent to create a positive customer experience by providing them with information or assurance around a transaction in progress.

Customer Service Autoresponders

When a customer contacts customer support, they generally have an issue they’d like to resolve as quickly as possible. To ensure that they feel heard, make sure you send them an email autoresponder immediately upon receiving their message that lets them know the next steps in the support process.

Your autoresponder should match your brand’s tone, and let your customers know the general timeframe in which a support agent will be able to respond to their email. You can also include links to additional ways to get support, such as live chat or phone support. The message should also include a link to your knowledge base or FAQs, deep linking to specific sections that may be relevant to the customer’s request.

Shopping Cart Abandonments

While many customers might place an item in their online shopping cart, up to 88% of users abandon the carts before completing a purchase. To recover as many of these lost conversions as possible, set up an abandoned cart automatic email responder that encourages the customer to return to their shopping cart and complete the purchase, with a headline like, “you forgot something,” or “[item] is waiting in your cart.” You can even incentivize the customer to complete the purchase by offering a promotional discount.

Restock Emails

If your brand sells items that need to be restocked, such as food, medicine, diapers, or makeup, to name a few examples, you’ll want to send your customers a reminder of when it’s time to replenish their supply.

You can set up your email autoresponders based on the average time that it typically takes a customer to consume all, or most, of the product, or based on a trigger action. If a customer has ordered the same lipstick three times averaging three months apart, your autoresponder can optimize around their frequency level, ensuring they get a reminder at least a week before they’re likely to need the new order.

Cross-Sell/Upsell Emails

When a customer makes an order on your site, app, or in-store, you can use that purchase as the basis for an autoresponder email filled with cross-selling or upselling recommendations to encourage them to make additional purchases.

Use a template that includes dynamically generated content from something like Iterable’s Catalog based on what other users have bought to go along with that product, whether they’re similar products—like a pair of sandals in a similar style—or complementary products—like a set of charcoal pencils when a customer has ordered a sketch pad.

Cross-Channel Marketing Integration

All of these types of email autoresponders can be integrated within a more cohesive cross-channel marketing experience. Using a cross-channel marketing platform like Iterable, you can develop sequenced campaigns that incorporate all of the marketing channels a customer might use, including email, SMS, in-app messages, push notifications, and even direct mail. This can help you develop a highly personalized experience for your customers that’s optimized for the channels that they prefer to use, and ensures that they don’t miss important content. You can go beyond email autoresponders and engage your customers with content that’s relevant to their customer lifecycle stage and communication preferences.

While your cross-channel marketing sequences will still be highly automated, they’ll be fully attuned to your customer actions at every stage of the process. For example, if they don’t open your initial email, you can follow up with an SMS message with the same offer, increasing the chances of getting them to open and respond to the message. All of your messaging can be personalized with dynamic content that’s relevant to their behaviors and demographic data, ensuring that it will resonate with your audience.

By incorporating automatic email responders with cross-channel integrations, you can build an automated marketing program that leads to more engagement, higher conversions, and more revenue opportunities.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.