What Are Autoresponders and How to Use Them

Autoresponders: What They Are and How To Use Them
Yurii Bitko Yurii Bitko 22 november 2022, 09:13 626
For beginners

What Are Email Autoresponders?

An email autoresponder is a tool that automates email replies. It sends out an automatic email (also known as trigger email) in response to a predefined event. Marketers use autoresponders to send promotional, educational, and transactional emails at the right time without manual input. Every action the user takes generates an automatic email response to keep them in the loop about your service.

Examples of autoresponders include:

  • Sending an opt-in verification message when someone enters an email address in your subscription form.
  • An invitation to follow your brand’s social media accounts when someone signs up for your email list.
  • A discount code on future purchases when someone buys an item from your store.

Types of email autoresponders include:

Welcome Emails

A welcome email is what you send when someone signs up for your service. It's an email that introduces new subscribers to your brand and lets them know what to expect from you. For example, if someone signs up for your newsletter, you can send a welcome email showing them what type of content to expect from you and how frequently they should expect it in their inbox.

These types of emails should not stop at welcoming. You can also tell users the next steps to take to interact with your brand. For instance, you can provide links to your social media accounts or blog posts to help them get more familiar with your brand.

A good example of a welcome email is what the meditation app Headspace sends to new subscribers:


Email Course

An email course is a series of emails that you send over a period to educate the recipient on a specific topic. Each email contains one lesson that draws the recipient's attention and leaves them anticipating the next one.

This kind of email is a good way to display your knowledge to prospects interested in what you offer but are not customers yet. Imagine you’re selling an e-book that teaches readers how to send effective marketing emails. You can send snippets of this e-book as an email course and draw the attention of some recipients that may end up paying for the whole book. You can see this type of email course in the example below:


Upsell and Cross-Sell Emails

These are the types of emails you send to customers after they purchase a product from you. The idea is to lure the buyer into paying for another product and becoming a repeat customer.

Upselling involves promoting more expensive items and upgrades to what the customer has already purchased, while cross-selling involves promoting similar or complementary products. You can include a discount on individual or bundled items to tempt customers into buying the product; no one likes to pass up a good deal.

A good example of this type of email is what Harry’s, a men’s grooming products retailer, sends to customers that purchase shaving razors. The brand sends an email upselling a shave gel and after-shave moisturizer to complement the razors.


Abandoned Cart Emails

This is the type of email you send to a customer who added products from your store to their cart but didn't complete the purchase. The aim is to lure them to complete the purchase they abandoned and mark a sale.

69% of online carts are abandoned, so you shouldn’t fret if your store’s rate is around or below this level. You can send abandoned cart emails to remind customers that didn’t complete their checkout to go ahead with it. To tempt the customer, toss in a discount. Include a call-to-action button that takes the recipient directly to their abandoned cart to complete the checkout.

A good example of this type of email comes from pet products retailer Chewy:


What Is the Purpose of an Email Autoresponder?

An email autoresponder serves many purposes, including:

Keeping Customers Engaged with Your Brand

A swift email that your customer receives after interacting with your website helps keep your brand registered in their minds. Autoresponders usually come swiftly after a customer initiates a transaction, which is the best time to advertise to them. Engaged customers tend to be more loyal than disengaged ones.

To Get More Sales

Upselling and cross-selling emails are creative ways to lure customers into buying more products. Someone who just bought a product from you is in an ideal position to purchase more if you give them the right offer. These types of emails can generate considerable sales for your business.


To Woo Prospects

Some customers don’t just swoop in to buy products from an unfamiliar brand. They first want to know more about the brand, and email autoresponders are a great way to get them familiar with your brand and buy stuff from you in the future.



A personalized email (product recommendation).

How Do I Send Autoresponders?

Autoresponders are usually set up using the built-in functionality of existing CRM and CDP applications you are using for your business needs. Alternatively, you may use scripting languages to implement either very basic or extremely complex non-typical scenarios. In any case, you’ll need an email service provider (ESP) to send emails to addresses that interact with your platform. UniOne is a good example of an email service provider.

For easy integration between an ESP and your app, you may use SMTP API which requires almost no setup, or you may opt for a more complex Web API offering higher speed and extended functionality. Delivery statuses of each email message are returned via webhooks. You can craft and monitor emails from an intuitive dashboard with a high delivery rate of over 99%. If necessary, you can use a dedicated IP address to send your emails. With UniOne, you can send up to 6,000 monthly emails for free.

Now that you have an idea of how to create autoresponders, you should also learn about the tips to send the best types, and they include:

Be Relevant

Use data supplied by the subscriber to guide the emails you send to them. The data they supply should help you send emails that are most relevant to their interactions. For instance, if you run a home goods store and a customer expresses interest in kitchen equipment, send emails promoting other kitchen equipment instead of another category of home products.


Time Your Emails

Don’t send out emails in quick succession because this can be off-putting to the recipient and cause them to report you for spam. Space out your emails by a few days unless there's a solid reason to send them more frequently.

Send Valuable Content

Go through the emails in your autoresponder campaign to ensure they include content that your target audience would like to receive. For instance, if you run an online store, it’s obvious that customers prefer receiving emails about new arrivals, back-in-stock products, the latest discounts, etc. Don’t mention irrelevant things like product defects and supply chain issues.


Comply with Data Protection Rules

It's important to comply with data protection laws within the jurisdictions of your customers. Always obtain explicit consent before sending any promotional emails to customers. Emails sent without consent constitute spam, and spam emails can get your brand blacklisted and harm its reputation.

Capture the Right Data

Figure out the vital data you need to collect from customers to create the best autoresponders and include fields for these data in your subscriber forms. Also, design visually appealing subscriber forms to lure the user’s attention.


Example of a visually-appealing subscriber form.

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