In this market, it’s essential that you utilize online marketing. Depending on what statistics you’re looking at, between 78% and 93% of all buyers start their home search online. But, it’s not enough to simply put up a website and hope that people visit your site, dig for your email, and send you a message.

You need to automate the contact and follow up process. To do this, you want to have a simple form on your website and an autoresponder. (In a future article, I will talk about the basics of website design, form creation, etc.). But for now…

First things first… let’s define what an autoresponder is and why you need one! (Because you will want to have this in place before you start putting forms on your website so you can capture the leads – and automatically follow up with them 24/7 even if you’re vacationing on the beach).

An autoresponder is simply an email that is automatically generated whether or not you are sitting at your computer or sitting on the beach in the Carribbean.

There are 2 types of autoresponders:

  1. Out of Office Reply Email
    These are the types of autoresponders that most people are familiar with. They are the kind of responses that are sent when someone sends you an email while you’re on vacation that lets them know you’ll be back on a specific day or that the email has been received and you’ll get back to him/her when you can.
  2. Smart Autoresponder
    This is the kind of autoresponder that works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When someone comes to your website or visits your blog and enters his/her information in a form and submits it, they get added to a sequence. This sequence is automatically delivered on time based on a specific series that you set up once and forget.

Now… OF these “smart” autoresponders, there are two types that you should consider depending on your needs and what you’re looking to do:

  • Hosted Solution
  • 3rd Party Solution

A 3rd party solution is one of the most common for people that are just getting started with autoresponders simply because they are easy to set up. You can simply sign up for a new account and begin capturing leads. You can expect to pay between $25 – $75+ per month depending on the service you use and the number of people in your database.

A “hosted” solution actually sits on your own server and you have 100% control over your database and it’s deliverability. Depending on the service you choose here, you’ll wind up spending between $100 and $400 ONE TIME plus any monthly hosting fees, which you will need to pay for anyways in order to have your website in the first place.

Which Type of Service Is Right For Me?

I personally recommend that you seriously consider a hosted solution. It might cost you a few more dollars up front, but the back end rewards will be much greater. The 3rd party solutions often run into trouble with the ISPs, and even though they dispute them on your behalf, your emails may be blocked from any number of ISPs for any length of time and you have ZERO control over it.

Conversely, with a hosted solution, you own the whole thing! If Yahoo! blocks you, you can contact Yahoo! directly to resolve the issue. Generally this takes only a few minutes once you learn how to do it and you’re back in business.

Popular 3rd Party Solutions

  • Aweber.com
  • ConstantContact.com

Popular Hosted Solutions

  • Autoresponse Plus

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