Why You Should Not Buy a Self-Hosted Autoresponder

Autoresponders – Why Not Host It Yourself?

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autrorespondersI’m on the mailing list for a number of Internet marketers, and every week, I receive messages about the latest and greatest “must have” Internet marketing products.

One type of product that I’m seeing offers for increasingly often is for a self-hosted autoresponder.

What’s an autoresponder?  I’ve written a lengthy article about autoresponders here. (new window)

In short, and autoresponder is a service that allows you to create and manage a mailing list.  It lets you collect names and email addresses and allows you to send messages to your list whenever you wish.

There’s an old saying in Internet marketing – “The Money Is In The List.”  It means that if you have a Website that sells products, you can make money selling them, but if you have a list of customers, you can market to them over and over.

A properly managed mailing list can be profitable, and there are some marketers that have lists of more than 100,000 customers.

With an autoresponder, sending email to 100,000 people is no more difficult than sending a message to a single recipient.  You just type up the message, select “all” recipients in your autoresponder’s dashboard, select the time you want the message to be sent, and click “send.”

Problems with Commercial Autoresponders

Anyone who is serious about making money online will make use of an autoresponder in order to build a mailing list.  I’ve got one; and if you sign up for my list, you’ll receive messages automatically from mine.

Commercial autoresponder services are Web-based; you log in at their Website and do all of your business there.  They store your mailing list and your email messages and they use their email service to send the messages out.

What people don’t like about them is that they cost money, and sometimes a lot of money.

Most autoresponder services charge a subscription fee – you pay a monthly price to use them.  Most are not particularly expensive, but most of them charge based on the size of your mailing list.

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GetResponse, perhaps the best-known of these companies, charges as little as $15 per month, which most people would agree is reasonable.

But if you have a list of 100,000 people, the cost is $1200 per month!

That’s a lot of money!

Self-hosted Autoresponders

That’s where self-hosted autoresponders come in, and I’ve been seeing a lot of advertising for them lately.

Instead of subscribing to a service, you install a self-hosted autoresponder on your own desktop computer, and you use your own email account or Web hosting service to send the messages out.

Instead of paying a monthly subscription fee, you pay a one-time fee to license the software.  I received a sales pitch for such a product last week, and the asking price was $42.

That’s $42 one time, as opposed to up to $1200 per month.

Yes, that’s a big savings, and I’m sure that the product, called Sendiio, is doing quite well in terms of sales, as the thought of paying just once, rather than every month, is appealing.

In my opinion, however, you should never use a self-hosted autoresponder.

Why not?  You’ll safe a bundle, right?

Maybe.  And maybe not.

Why not?  Spam email.

email deliveryMost of the better-known autoresponder companies have been doing business for years.  They have hundreds or thousands of customers and they send out millions of email messages every single day.

These companies are not only well known in the Internet marketing community, but they’re well known among Web hosting companies, as well.

These companies have established relationships with the larger Internet Service Providers to make sure that those providers actually deliver those millions of email messages to their customers, rather than marking them as spam and discarding them.

Part of these agreements is that the autoresponder services agree to take steps to ensure that they are not sending out spam email messages and those companies create policies for their paying customers to ensure that the messages they send out conform to the law.

If you have a subscription with an autoresponder service, you’ll agree not to send out spam and you’ll usually have to agree to what is known as “double opt-in.”

When someone signs up for your mailing list, they’ll receive an email message asking them to click a link to confirm that they want to have their name added to the list.

So it’s not enough to simply sign up; you also have to confirm that you asked to sign up.

This prevents people from just randomly adding the email addresses of strangers to their email lists.  With double opt-in, only people who confirm that they want to be on the list are added.

When you have a self-hosted autoresponder, you don’t have to require double opt-in for your mailing list.  You may if you like, but you don’t have to, and you’ll get a larger mailing list if you only ask people to sign up, rather than asking them to sign up and confirm.

But you’re likely to run into problems when you start sending out email messages in bulk, and you’re going to encounter two kinds of problems:

spamProblems with your Web Host – Most Web hosting companies don’t expect their customers to be sending out thousands of email messages on a regular basis.

When your host sees that you’re suddenly sending out thousands of email messages when you used to only send out a few messages per day, they’re likely to assume that you’re either a spammer, or that your account has been compromised by someone who is a spammer.

Your Web host may shut down your account.

Problems with email delivery – Since you don’t have a relationship with the major Internet Service Providers, such as Google, Comcast, Verizon or AOL, your bulk mailings may be seen by the hosting companies of your recipients as spam.

What happens then?  They’ll likely just block delivery, and you’ll start to receive hundreds or thousands of messages from those companies telling you that they did not deliver your messages because they consider them to be unsolicited commercial email, or spam.

You’ll be blocked, and that is that.  You won’t be able to send messages to those companies again.

Solutions to the delivery problem

trafficwaveSince there’s no point in sending email that won’t get delivered, you must have an autoresponder that can ensure delivery to your customers.

The Sendiio product that I heard about last week had a solution for that – you can use their own SMTP service to send out your messages….

…for a monthly fee.

At that point, this self-hosted autoresponder becomes a subscription model, just like all of the other ones out there.

If that’s the case, why not just get a subscription autoresponder and be done with it?  You’ll be doing business with a company that has a history of reliable delivery and you won’t have to worry about it.

You can do this without spending a fortune, too.  The company that I use, Trafficwave, has a single low monthly price that covers a mailing list of any size.

I’ve been using them for years, and they deliver my messages reliably, and the price is low enough that it’s affordable for just about anyone.

You can read my review of the Trafficwave autoresponder here.

You can visit the Trafficwave Website here.

Sometimes, what looks like a bargain can turn out to be wasted money.  If you’re going to use a self-hosted autoresponder system, that’s what’s likely to happen.

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3 Mailing List Tips That Don’t Work

Mailing List Tips That Can Hurt You

As they say, “the money is in the list.”  If you have a mailing list, you can increase your affiliate marketing earnings.  It’s a bit of trouble to maintain a mailing list, and there’s a lot to know.  You’ll need to find an autoresponder system and learn how to use it.  You’ll have to learn to write email messages and you’ll have to learn how to properly format them to work with your chosen autoresponder.  There’s a lot to know, but there’s also no shortage of information on the Web about how to properly use an autoresponder and a mailing list.

mailing listThe problem is that some of these mailing list tips that are frequently posted here and there aren’t actually helpful, and in some cases, they can even hurt you.  While the ultimate goal of a mailing list is to help you convey whatever messages you choose to the people on your mailing list, making sure that they receive the messages and that the messages have value to them should be paramount.  Sometimes, the mailing list tips offered by so-called “gurus” or “experts” are helpful, but at other times, they’re misleading or counterproductive.  Read on and I’ll explain.

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Mailing List in 30 Minutes?

30 Minutes to a Mailing List

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mailing listIn the course of writing a blog about making money online, there are a number of topics that are going to come up again and again, because they’re important to every Internet marketer.  One of those topics is the mailing list.  It’s been repeated endlessly that “the money is in the list” and to a certain extent, it’s true.  You can have the greatest sales page in the world, but even so, in order to make a sale, you must persuade the visitor to your site to make a purchase right now.  With a mailing list, you’ll have additional opportunities to persuade those who subscribe to make a purchase, as well as additional opportunities to make sales of related products down the road.

That’s all good and well, but there are a lot of people who don’t bother to create a mailing list.  There’s one blogger I admire who’s had a site for more than a year now who still hasn’t bothered to put together a mailing list.  There are many reasons why people don’t put together a mailing list, but one of them is that it’s generally perceived to be a huge hassle.  Another is that there is an expense involved, though it can actually cost a lot less to build a mailing list than you might realize.  It’s also not nearly as time consuming as you might think, and if you read on, you’ll learn how it’s possible to build a working mailing list that’s ready to attract leads in as little as 30 minutes.

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Mailing List Optimization – Helpful Tips

Mailing List Tips – Testing and Timing

If there’s one phrase you’re going to hear a lot in the world of Internet marketing, it’s the phrase “the money is in the list.”  That means that if you’re running an affiliate marketing Website, you should be building a mailing list.  You can share information and tips with your subscribers, and of course, send them occasional offers when you think you’ve found a product that might be helpful to them.  While it’s certainly possible to make money without a list, having one helps, and some marketers have lists with more than 100,000 people on them.  When they mail to those lists, they get results, and they’re likely making good money, too.

mailing list optimizationOf course, there’s a difference between doing something and doing something well, and how you manage your mailing list and create your mailings can make a huge difference in your bottom line.  A lot of this comes with experience, but there are a few basic things that every marketer should pay attention to in order to maximize the results they get when they send a message to their mailing list.  In this post, I’ll go over a few of the more obvious things that can make a big difference between getting an average response from a mailing and getting a great response.

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