I came across an article on The Magill Report a couple of weeks ago that walked through Epsilon’s Q2 2013 North America Email Trends and Benchmarks report. The report brought up an interesting point about email autoresponders, indicating that adoption of autoresponders was up 30.6% since Q2 2012.

But the real stat that floored me was that, even with that upward trend, autoresponders, or triggered messages, accounted for just 3.5% of outbound marketing emails in Q2 2013. How is it that low?

Email Auto Responders

Don’t get me wrong, as an email marketing professional whose primary concerns are inbox deliverability, domain reputation, and ESP/ISP relations, email autoresponders always prove to be a thorn in my side. But that doesn’t mean autoresponders aren’t highly effective email marketing tools when used responsibly — less “set-it-and-forget-it” and more “automated-and-observed.”

Birthday emails and post-sign-up rewards messages go very far to foster online engagement and brand loyalty while triggered reengagement campaigns give companies the benefit latching back onto wayside-bound subscribers before it’s too late.

If you’re playing the digital marketing game correctly, you probably have a wealth of data about your email subscribers at your fingertips, waiting to be manipulated by a scheduled autoresponder series designed to encourage a purchase, elicit a donation, or whatever it is you crazy email marketers do on the Internet these days.

Point is, if you’ve got the data, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be using an email autoresponder series to mine that data. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Autoresponders need love and attention just like any other email campaign. Nothing screams “Amateur Hour” to subscribers like an out-of-date or poorly thought-out welcome message or birthday reward.
  2. Don’t go overboard. If you see success with one series, don’t assume they’re a solution to all your email marketing problems. Test, test again, and then test some more.
  3. Take care of your lists. Overlap between lists can inadvertently happen, so make sure your message-sensitive autoresponders aren’t going to subscribers who shouldn’t see them or to whom the content won’t be relevant.

If you need some inspiration in regard to email autoresponders — and who doesn’t every now and then, right? — here are some ideas courtesy of MarketingLand.com.

About the Author: Harry Kaplowitz is the Deliverability Product Manager for iContact, an email and social marketing service of Vocus, a provider of cloud-based marketing and PR software. You can follow him on Twitter.