Autoresponders vs. Broadcasts

32 replies
I'm a serial tester and tweaker of things. I'm currently doing some testing to see whether my autoresponder or one-off broadcast emails are more lucrative (make more sales).

From your experiences, what has made you more money.... your autoresponder or broadcasts?
#autoresponders #broadcasts
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    My normal series emails make me far more money - no comparison at all.

    There's an obvious reason for that, though: I avoid broadcasts whenever possible, for a big variety of reasons.

    The first and most important reason, for me, is ...

    (i) Subscribers in many niches have told me in the past that they don't like "obvious broadcasts" because (a) they interrupt continuity, and (b) they make the sender look more like a marketer and less like a trusted provider of valuable information

    But I have a few other reasons, too ...

    (ii) It's very rare that I want everyone on a list to get the same information at the same time, regardless of how long they've been there and where they are in the series;

    (iii) It interferes with "subscriber expectation". It's really important, when opting people in, to set their expectations, and tell them exactly what they're going to receive and when. This dramatically increases open-rates and click-through rates. Sending "broadcasts" makes that very difficult;

    (iv) To me, it feels like "being in a hurry" and "aiming for quick sales" - exactly the things I like to avoid, because I earn far more in the long run by avoiding that, and by having subscribers who trust and respect the fact that I avoid that.

    For me, the key concept is: interrupting continuity with an obvious promotion of something is really a much bigger deal than many people realise.

    It makes you look desperate to sell, and to many subscribers, understandably, that comes across very negatively and ruins your credibility and their trust.

    In my opinion, the people who imagine that isn't a big deal are typically those to whom open-rates of about 20% are acceptable ( ), perhaps partly because they have little awareness of customer perception of - for example - passing off a commissionable product-launch as "news". (In other words, not being aware of your customers' perspective very much at all!).

    People can easily tell this from whether the continuity of the process has been interrupted, i.e. whether it matches what you told them at the end of the previous message to be "watching out for in the next message, in 5 days' time", or whatever. This is a fundamental part of expectation-setting and continuity-maintenance and broadcasts undermine it.

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    • Profile picture of the author brentb
      I agree with Alexa!

      Anytime you feel you need to send a broadcast, think about why you are sending it, you probably are missing something in your autoresponder series!!!!

      Broadcasts definitely have their place, and for some business models they make much more sense but if its at all possible, get everything into autoresponder mode. For sure!
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    • Profile picture of the author MarketingMinded
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      My normal series emails make me far more money - no comparison at all.

      There's an obvious reason for that, though: I avoid broadcasts whenever possible, for a big variety of reasons.

      The first and most important reason, for me, is ...

      (i) Subscribers in many niches have told me in the past that they don't like "obvious broadcasts" because (a) they interrupt continuity, and (b) they make the sender look more like a marketer and less like a trusted provider of valuable information

      But I have a few other reasons, too ...

      (ii) It's very rare that I want everyone on a list to get the same information at the same time, regardless of how long they've been there and where they are in the series;

      (iii) It interferes with "subscriber expectation". It's really important, when opting people in, to set their expectations, and tell them exactly what they're going to receive and when. This dramatically increases open-rates and click-through rates. Sending "broadcasts" makes that very difficult;

      (iv) To me, it feels like "being in a hurry" and "aiming for quick sales" - exactly the things I like to avoid, because I earn far more in the long run by avoiding that, and by having subscribers who trust and respect the fact that I avoid that.

      For me, the key concept is: interrupting continuity with an obvious promotion of something is really a much bigger deal than many people realise.

      It makes you look desperate to sell, and to many subscribers, understandably, that comes across very negatively and ruins your credibility and their trust.

      In my opinion, the people who imagine that isn't a big deal are typically those to whom open-rates of about 25% are acceptable (:p :rolleyes, perhaps partly because they have little awareness of customer perception of - for example - passing off a commissionable product-launch as "news". (In other words, not being aware of your customers' perspective very much at all!).

      People can easily tell this from whether the continuity of the process has been interrupted, i.e. whether it matches what you told them at the end of the previous message to be "watching out for in the next message, in 5 days' time", or whatever. This is a fundamental part of expectation-setting and continuity-maintenance.

      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post6123982
      Very interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing.

      I believe both can work in tandem. There's a time and place for both. I think you have to test and be strategic about your approach. (As you've obviously done)
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    My autoresponder.... but every 3 months i send out a broadcast email offering a 50% discount on my products. Does very well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Killian
    What Alexa says makes sense, but oddly it's NOT what most marketers seem to be doing these days, it's all blasting out broadcast after broadcast. If it is not the best, why do they keep doing it?

    I've been wanting to get more into email marketing (least do a better job of it), and have struggled with this same concept, to do follow up or broadcast. If you go by what many seem to be doing these days, it's churn and burn. Or I'm on the wrong lists

    I personally like the idea of follow up because I can load it up on my time, I am not under the gun to write something every day, or create a broadcast every day. If that makes sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author brentb
    Broadcasts never make sense unless they are timely. ie... election results just came in and the winner is xyz... You could never do that with an autoresponder!

    They are also good if lets say you personally "NEED" extra income for some expense, sure blast something out to get extra conversions to pay for a new server or your car note.

    Other than that, just don't! You could work it into your autoresponder at the 'optimal' time statistically for much better performance.
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  • Profile picture of the author voiceofreason
    Banned
    Broadcasts do indeed have their place.

    1. It will depend on your niche. No such thing as hard and fast rules for all industries or markets when it comes to best practices. (Other than the obvious of course - Such as "Don't pick your nose in front of your clients, etc... But then again, if they're paying for nose picking market research - Who's to say? Haha)

    2. Broadcasts allow you to get ultra-relevant with your subject lines. Recent events that are top of mind allow you to leverage into your subject line for a huge boost in open rates. I've been using this approach since 2005, and it's tough to beat. Hard to do this with automated messages and stay up to the minute.

    3. Whether or not something is well received by your list has more to do with what you have trained them to expect than "this always works" or "that always works" - By forging a close relationship with your list to bring them timely information that is both helpful, and needed - Well, you just may find that they could care less if it was broadcast or part of a sequence. Need an example? Groupon... Darn near every message they send is a broadcast... Most open happily to see what special discounts await... Why? Because it was expected - That's what they signed up for.

    Managing audience expectation (And relevance) trumps assumption every single time. But you as the manager of your list will be the one who sets the bar low, high, or in the middle. Play your cards right and your list will love hearing from you.
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  • Profile picture of the author John J M
    Good point above about ultra-targeting with subject lines through broadcasts.

    But in general, I would agree that autoresponses are where you should expect the most in terms of moneymaking. Broadcasts are more to send out a specific update or keep readers engaged (not by selling something, but by telling them about new content you have or interacting on a relational level).
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      A marketing approach I've been using sucessfully for years has been daily autoresponder messages with additional database-driven broadcasts. Subscriber retention and activity are enhanced with special promotions surrounding anticipated holidays, major events, niche-specific news releases, birthdays, and anniversaries. The appropriate use of all communication tools, including autoresponders and broadcasts, can actually work together for a powerful combined effect.

      For example, as my marketing enters into higher end product sales, other points of contact continue the process with progressive levels of communication, ie postcards, direct mail, telemarketing, mobile marketing, webinars, and evenually direct (face-to-face) sales. IMNSHO, this is marketing at its finest; a synergistic hybrid of online and offline sales.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
        Autoresponders and Broadcasts are two powerful tools
        that I have in my toolbag as an e-mail marketer.

        Both have their strengths and weaknesses and both
        have a time and place to be used.

        Autoresponders are great for making a planned and
        consistent presentation to a subscriber over time.

        Broadcasts are great for sending timely e-mails to
        prospects and customers.

        I wouldn't handicap myself by using just one.

        I define what I want to achieve with a particular e-mail
        campaign, and then decide which tool is best for the
        job.

        Dedicated to mutual success,

        Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I'm surprised by the views thus far in this thread leaning
    towards autoresponder and away from broadcast. One
    advantage broadcast gives you is "current-ness" or recency.

    You can piggy back on a current promotions or the news
    as a spring board for your emails. Also your subscribes
    are more likely to feel you are in tandem with them
    because your messages are timely.

    As mentioned above you can use an autoresponder series
    that is tied to the calendar--Dan Kennedy comes to mind--so
    your emails will appear timely.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Blades
    I think broadcast only works better when you play the numbers game. When you have a huge list and can replace the unsubscribes daily, then people tend to use daily broadcasts to promote offers.

    If you have a small list like most of us, you have to use autoresponders to build rapport with your subscribers.
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  • Profile picture of the author MKCookins
    I have been struggling with this concept as well. Espcially for people who keep a blog and update it on a daily basis.

    Do people just create follow up messages and continues to add on to it till the end of time - or do they create say 20 follow up messages then broadcast messages after this?

    So far it seems auto responder is in favor.
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  • Profile picture of the author rleejr
    I agree with use autoresponder with a small to medium sized list
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  • Profile picture of the author manicmethods
    Just to add my late-2013 views on this topic to the thread I'd like to completely disagree with the comments here. I send out probably 95% broadcasts and 5% follow up emails.

    Why? Because I send out a regular newsletter with news from my niche, special offers, reviews and a few other bits and pieces.

    I then send out further broadcasts with special promos/freebies/tips/full reviews/breaking news.

    I changed to this method about 6 months ago, prior to which I was 100% autoresponder and I have seen a significant change in open rates/buy rates/click rates.
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  • Profile picture of the author iLinkedin
    There's alots of examples that sending mail to your list is more effective than broadcast. Hope you already make a decision.
    Regards,
    Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author AlisonM
      Broadcasts do have their place, especially for "timebound" items. Perhaps there is a product launch you are an affiliate for and an offer has a closing date. And it can be good to mention something - perhaps a major sports result or the weather - which shows it is a "live" contact from you.

      I only use broadcasts sparingly.
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      • Profile picture of the author BambiFox
        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar- Dr. Sigmund Freud
        Sometimes a broadcast email is just a friendly email- Bambi Fox
        When I've started a new list - in new niche that I've researched and proven that responds to me, (Now that should be a WSO, but probably never will be) I broadcast new emails every day or two for weeks.

        My broadcast emails are saved, responses noted, and then after a month or two I place them in an autoresponder sequence (based on response parameters) for new people going into the list.

        I'll tell you why this works (for me, and maybe some of you). The new list and you are feeling each other out at the very beginning. The responses you get from the new subs, and your responses to their responses- help mold your dynamic with them in the future.

        Selling is the last thing I care about while I'm getting to know my new list. That always works out when your contacts find out you are the "one".

        Bambi
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  • What is better: broadcasts or autoresponder?
    Here's a question to you: What is better: driving in 2nd gear or in 5th gear?

    And here's the correct answer: Depends: am I cruising the highway or am I street-crawling downtown?

    You see, there's no better or worse: they're different tools for different purposes, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with using both.

    That being said, the core of your email marketing should be, ideally, made up by a solid autoresponder sequence, leveraged by occasional broadcasts whenever there's anything interesting to communicate: your new launch, a new service you might offer, a temporary promotion, a Christmas discount, an upcoming event, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    This is such a funny topic.

    To be honest?

    I've heard conflicting reports from both spectrums.

    Some (very well known and respected) marketers say that autoresponders completely suck and that broadcasts are the way to go.

    Some say the complete opposite.

    The rational standpoint is to do both.

    The main "problem" most "gurus" have with autoresponders is that they're not "current".

    Well, only a complete dumbass would be unable to compose some evergreen autoresponder messages right?



    And... Who the hell says you can't use both?

    I personally have a massive autoresponder sequence.

    (one for buyers... and one for leads)...

    And I also send out broadcasts in addition to my autoresponder sequence.

    Crazy right?

    :p

    PS: Today for example I wrote about how my Boston Redsox got spanked.

    Tomorrow I'll write about their courageous comeback.

    PS:

    See what I did there?
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  • Profile picture of the author sidneyng
    Nice thread.
    As an email copywriter - I think its two prong.
    What Alexa said makes a lot of sense - but Broadscasts can work if its timely - i.e. You talk about something current and piggy back on it (i.e. linking Gangnam Style with a product or service you were trying to sell).

    I view broadcast as a way of saying "hi" and updating my client's list with what's new or what I find interesting at this point in time (someone pointed out elections - a great email idea would probably be "Secrets that Guaranteed Candidate X's Presidency etc).

    Ultimately I think it's about testing it out and seeing what works for your list.
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  • Profile picture of the author JoeNielsen
    You definitely need both. If you ask me, I'd send followup messages only to set the foundation and build the relationship, and after 5 - 10 autoresponders I'd broadcast emails to those people.

    I don't know if it's possible to send out broadcast emails only to people who have recieved x amount of followup messages, that would be the perfect way to go if you ask me.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by JoeNielsen View Post

      You definitely need both. If you ask me, I'd send followup messages only to set the foundation and build the relationship, and after 5 - 10 autoresponders I'd broadcast emails to those people.

      I don't know if it's possible to send out broadcast emails only to people who have recieved x amount of followup messages, that would be the perfect way to go if you ask me.
      First off, Joe, you posted an answer to a question that was asked almost two years ago. Even the last time it was bumped was almost a year ago. If they haven't figured it out by now, they ain't gonna.

      Second, the possibility of sending the way you describe depends on the service you are using. Check your rules for sorting data. Often, it's a matter of going at it backwards. Instead of sending to people who have received X messages, you exclude people who have not received message Y yet.

      For example, the program I use numbers messages from 0 to N (number of messages - 1). So if I want to send only to people who have gotten the first 6 messages, I exclude anyone whose next scheduled message is between 0 and 5.

      Make sense?
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  • The follow ups do well for building a relationship and bridging that gap of "trustworthiness" as well as make sales. But the consistent sale makers are the broadcasts. However, the broadcasts don't seem to work as well without them first going through most of the followup sequence first...

    With that being said, I have had conversations with certain bloggers who detest follow up sequences, they prefer the freestyle way that broadcasting provides.

    Then of course there is also the thing about how much time you have because follow ups definitely frees up time and does some of your marketing on autopilot
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  • Profile picture of the author EPoltrack77
    Over the long run I must say from my series! Definitely does not come in volume like a good broadcast but I know I can rely on my series at this point!
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  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    I use both, if I send a broadcast and it converts well I'll add it to the follow up.

    With marketing you don't want to think to linear, there is no one clear cut solution for anything. Marketing is an art and science. It can be detrimental to your success if you just look for the celar cut answer on anything.

    You want to test for yourself and see what works best for you, who cares what works for this person or that person, all that matters is what works for you and what is easiest for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Javisito
    I use both and it totally depends on the purpose of the sending. Autoresponders is good for the long term quality content.

    However for affiliate promotions and solo ads broadcast is my option number one.

    And as always nothing is written in stone. You need to test and test to see what works for your list.
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  • Profile picture of the author alexchen23
    I use both, too.

    One for sending information email and one for sending out for affiliate offer or promote my own product.
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    • Profile picture of the author discrat
      Broadcasts not effective ?? ( This coming from a fellow whose Follow Ups are backbone of biz, ME lol)

      In some regards, they can provide more Continuity than Follow Ups. In more of a round about way, i.e. the "Continuity of living life" !

      Case in point....... Last week I sent a Broadcast to all my Subscribers telling them a Story about Halloween and how I hope they had a safe Halloween that night and wove a cute little event that happened earlier in the day concerning my kids and their Halloween rambunctiousness

      Can you do that in a Follow Up ? ( and it make sense over time ??)

      Anyway, it had fantastic results.

      If that is NOT having Relevancy and Continuity, then I do not know what does



      - Robert Andrew

      P.S. I think many people are really erred in analyzing the benefits of what Broadcasts can do. When arguing about Broadcasts vs Follow Ups , why does it necessarily have to be focused around promotions and a Broadcast being so blatantly promotional to your Subs ?? . Think deeper about this , folks. Don't you think a Happy New Year Broadcast with a story might , just might build up a little more rapport with Subs ? Maybe ? Or how about a Merry Christmas or even "what do you think about the new President Elect " broadcasts. No promotional links necessary.


      Think about building personable relationships with people based on what is currently happening in the World around us at a specific time. Follow Ups just do NOT allow this. Follow ups can in many ways take the personal touch out of your relationship with your Subs. In contrast, its a positive and very powerful synergistic effort when you learn how to utilize both, imo
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  • Profile picture of the author jamescanz
    Originally Posted by MarketingMinded View Post

    From your experiences, what has made you more money.... your autoresponder or broadcasts?
    There is definitely one thing I have discovered between autoresponders and broadcasts.

    Broadcasts can make you more money (because of being able to send to unopens)

    However...

    Autoresponders can save you a helluva lota time
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Sarlo
    I don't think it's an issue whether to follow up or broadcast but what to send, the content. As simple as that.

    If you need to send a broadcast, send it... you have to have the skill to know whether or not it's appropriate. Some millionaire marketers I know of have follow-up emails but they also send broadcasts every 2-3 days. Meaning a new subscriber receives almost 1 email a day, or sometimes 2. It takes more skill to do this right so perhaps stick with creating a series of follow ups at first, bit by bit your understanding and skill increases.
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  • Profile picture of the author skyro
    Autoresponder is good for building relationship. You can share a number of good content over a space of time which makes your subscriber build trust in you. You can use the broadcast for making sales eg. If a new product just launch you can promote it by using the broadcast. Basically they compliment each other.
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