Why You Should Use More Than 1 Autoresponder Service

autoresponder tipsToday I’d like to share with you a painful business experience I recently went through and hopefully you won’t commit the same mistake I did. By sharing this experience with you, it is also my hope to give you some autoresponder tips.

We all know how vital and important autoresponders are for our business. When visitors land on your website and you convert them to subscribers, you need autoresponders to do the job of automatically following up with them to build relationships with them so that they trust you and want to buy from you.

The Painful Incident

I’ve been using the service of one of the leading autoresponder companies since January 2007 – I don’t want to name names here (but if you’re patient enough to dig around this blog for past posts or if you’ve been following me around for some time, you should know which autoresponder company I’m referring to), so let’s just call this autoresponder company X.

About a month ago, X, as usual, tried to charge its monthly fees to the credit card that I’ve been successfully using to pay my fees for the past 3 years. This time, however, the charge did not go through and my autoresponder account was thus changed to limited status.

While in limited status, I can’t send any broadcasts, can’t add new subscribers to my list, and autoresponder messages were also not being sent to subscribers.

In short, my business was affected VERY BADLY.

I contacted support various times to try and reinstate my “limited” account status to “good standing” so that I can perform normal business functions. Support said my credit card was declined and I need to use a different card.

I called my credit card company and they said everything was fine and my card is ready for online transactions. I then tried using this same card (that was declined by X’s credit card processor) to register and pay for a domain and the payment was successful. So I asked support to try again and I told them my credit card was fine and that the problem was with their credit card processor.

They denied it was their fault and persisted unsympathetically that it was my credit card company who was blocking the transaction.

To make a long story short, I was finally able to pay their monthly fees after trying 5 other different credit cards.

Lesson Learned

Do NOT put all your eggs in one basket. Sign up for at least 2 different LEADING autoresponder services so that when one fails, you have a back-up plan. This will ensure that your business is not interrupted, especially since autoresponders play a VERY CRUCIAL role in our online business.

What I Did After This Incident

I signed up for the service of another leading autoresponder company (AWeber) and started moving a portion of my list there. I now have 2 autoresponder accounts with 2 different companies. I know that if one fails to function well, there’s always a plan B.

I now can sleep well at night.

What I Could (And Should) Have Done Sooner

The whole ordeal between the time my account was in limited status to back in good standing took 10 days – during which I have lost thousands of dollars.

I waited until the whole ordeal was over before signing up with AWeber. I should have signed up with them earlier (maybe 3 – 5 days after my account became limited). Had I done that I would have not lost as much money and subscribers.

The reason why I waited so many days before signing up with AWeber is because:

1. I thought the credit card problem would be solved soon and hence I don’t have to sign up for a new autoresponder with another company

2. The thought of moving my lists to a new autresponder freaked me out because mysubscribers have to reconfirm by clicking on a confirmation link (which means I would lose tons of them), and also because of the work I have to do to update my network of sites with the new autoresponder code.

More Lessons Learned

1. Don’t assume. Ask first.

Turns out I was able to move over my list to AWeber WITHOUT my subscribers clicking any confirmation link. The way to do this is to contact AWeber and tell them your situation.

You give them login details to your autoresponder account so that they can verify that you indeed have the subscribers you claimed. What they will usually offer you is to import a small number of subscribers first (in my case 1000) to your AWeber account without them having to confirm.

Then over the next few weeks you send out a few broadcasts to these subscribers. As long as you don’t exceed the average spam complaints rate, you are fine and they should let you import the rest of your subscribers without them having to confirm again.

2. People Are Lazy To Act (They Take It Easy) Unless The Situation Is Critical

People respond seriously ONLY when a critical situation has occurred (as in my case) instead of taking preventative measures to prevent it in the first place. As can be seen from my case above, I could have reduced my loss if I had a second autoresponder account in the first place.

I hope you find the autoresponder tips I’ve shared with you above useful. Make sure you have at least 2 autoresponder accounts in 2 different companies. Just in case when one fails, you have a plan B.

17 Responses to “Why You Should Use More Than 1 Autoresponder Service”

  • Thanks a lot for your comments.

    They have served to help me deciding about remain with AWeber.

  • I am trying AWeber, but this AR have showed some problems, like instable service, don’t accept latin characters, have forced a no customized link to confirm opt-in.

    I’m going to try iContact. Have anybody some opinion about it?

    • I don’t have any problems with Aweber. But then again I don’t use Latin characters.

      Haven’t tried icontact before, but quite a number of well-known marketers are using them.

    • I’m not sure about those issues but I would assume you would have the least amount of problems with Aweber. I’ve used Constant Contact and iContact for myself and clients. If someone wants single opt-in and has a list of emails already, I recommend iContact.

      Nothing beats Aweber for Internet marketing and building a good quality list. It also has many features that make your life a lot easier that the other companies don’t have (RSS to broadcast, advanced reporting, advanced list segmentation).

  • Luna

    Thanks, that’s a great sharing tip!
    But do you need to have 2 different opt-in forms on your website? Sorry for the dumb question ;-

    • You can have more than 1 opt-in forms on your website. In fact, I encourage you to have more than 1, just like this blog (when you’re a new visitor, a slide-up footer opt-in form will show up from the bottom) and also on my squeeze page which you can take a look at http://www.getprofitsfast.com/blg.html

  • If you’re serious about email marketing, you need a third party subscriber to get good deliverability.

    I can’t believe you had such a problem with the provider. That seems like extremely bad customer service.

    Do you have all of your subscribers in both services now?

    • I don’t have all subscribers in both AR. I split them up and move a portion of my list into AWeber, and the other portion still stays in my original AR.

  • Autoresponder Tips…

    Autoresponder Tips – Why You Should Use More Than 1 Autoresponder Service…

  • What a great tip! I agree with optimizing the win and minimizing the loss.. back up plan is a must. I am also using Aweber! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Thanks, useful post. I use 2 autoresponder services – on is Aweber and the second comes with hosting, IM stuff, affiliate management, etc.

  • I just use ARP3 (Auto Response Plus) that is installed in my Linux Server e just payed one time.
    I have all control over the program. No monthly fees.

    • Hi Fernando

      Yup you don’t pay monthly fees.

      The downside of using your own autoresponder script on your server is that there is a limit on the number of emails you can send per hour. If you only have a few hundred subscribers, that’s fine. But if you have thousands of tens of thousands then that’s a problem.

      Another important factor to consider is the email deliverability of your own autoresponder script. Huge AR companies have spent tons of money and time to make sure their emails get delivered to the inbox. Your autoresponder script on your server is guaranteed to have lower email deliverability.

      If you’re really serious about your business, my advice is to pay the extra money to use the services of leading AR companies.

      There’s a reason why these AR companies are more expensive than installing some script on your server.

      • Hi Welly,

        Thanks for your advice.

        For while I have checked my delivery rate and it have been good, but I will pay attention on it and in case it decrease I will move to the professional auto responder.

  • I know which autoresponder you are referring to. :)

    The company x also had several technical problems some time back. Quite a number of marketers complained.

    Aweber is good. I have been using them since I got started in IM.

    • Yeah I even wrote about those technical problems here on this blog when that happened.

      Things are back to normal now, so it’s good

  • The best tips ever. It’s true that we always MUST have a backup plan to prevent further loss.

    Another important thing is we must backup our webpages file stored on hosting as well (I had a bad experience about this in the past).

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