Everyone knows how important it is to use a mailing list if you’re going to make money online. What most people misunderstand, though, is the difference between an autoresponder and a regular mailing list.

After reading this short guide, you’ll know the difference between the two, and how to effectively use both.

What is a Regular Mailing List?

A regular mailing list is simple to understand. You have a list of subscribers and their email addresses. Whenever you want to send a new piece of content you use your mailing list software and send it out to all of them.

It’s a great method to maintain contact and top-of-mind awareness with your readers. It also provides a great way to promote periodic specials, discounts, and new products.

If your list provides content that’s valuable enough, you can even charge for subscriptions to it, meaning it’s a great way to generate a semi-passive income.

There are plenty of free tools for mailing lists, but the best is Mail Chimp. It’s free for lists with up to 500 subscribers. The free plan also allows you to send up to 2,500 messages per month. If you’re just getting started with email marketing, you should consider this program, as it will allow you to get the hang of everything without wasting your money.

What is an Autoresponder?

An autoresponder is like a mailing list with one key difference: it sends a predetermined set of emails to each subscriber in a particular order at specific times.

An autoresponder is not the best tool for maintaining brand awareness with your readers. It’s best use is in delivering content that needs to be broken up into several different messages.

For instance, if you are trying to sell an expensive product to your mailing list subscribers, you can use an autoresponder series to start the process by offering useful and valuable information. As you progress through the series, your messages can start gently suggesting the product you want to sell to your subscribers.

You can wrap everything up with a final promotion or a really strong sales letter, maximizing your conversions.

Autoresponders are also great at delivering a course, or step by step action plan. If you wanted to create a course that helps your subscribers take the steps needed to get their personal finances in order, you could use an autoresponder for that. You could break down each lesson into a daily, deliverable email. This would make it easy for your subscribers to follow the steps in the course, since it tells them exactly what they need to do each day.

Combining an Autoresponder with a Mailing List

While Mail Chimp is a great free tool for building your mailing list, it doesn’t come with any autoresponder features. Most internet marketers rely on Aweber for their autoresponder needs.

Aweber has a $1, one month trial. You get all of the benefits of the tool with absolutely no limitations. After your first month the cost is still less than $20.

Aweber has one major edge over Mail Chimp: it can serve as your auto responder, as well as your regular mailing list software. Both tools offer hundreds of well designed templates that you can use.

The benefit of using Aweber, though, is that your auto responder can feed your regular mailing list. When someone sings up for an auto responder series, they can automatically be entered into your list subscription, too.

There is a checkbox that they have to toggle to opt out of the mailing list. The good news, though, is that anyone interested in signing up for your auto responder series is also going to have interest in your list.

Combine the two by sending out a series of messages over the first two weeks. Maintain a regular publishing schedule of one or two messages per week with your list.

During the first two weeks your new subscribers will receive a total of 18 messages. They will be well targeted messages that your subscriber has interest in. It will help build your brand’s awareness, as well as giving additional options for you to sell your products.

While you now understand the difference between a email list and an auto responder email list, you should also see why it makes more sense to work with tools that allow you to implement both.

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