Auto responders: Too automated?

Reader Matthew Adams asks: What do you think of autoresponders?

Those are email programs that send large numbers of emails to a list, and then when you reply, it automatically sends you another email. Ergo, the name “auto responder.” Sometimes they’re set to go out every x days.

For a business that is called a people business, and “relationship” oriented, canned and (usually) hypey auto-responder email messages don’t seem to fit. I can’t imagine anyone good at the other end not recognizing such an email for what it is, and deleting it instantly, like I do.

A message coming into my email box, masquerading as a message to me, should make me feel special if it is to get my attention. It can be done, yes, but it isn’t easy. And it can’t be done in a hurry. Most of these auto responder messages even have spelling and grammar errors!

From the point of view of recruiters, autoresponder messages are wonderful because you can send out five or ten thousand at once.

But from the point of view of the receiver, it looks and acts like junk email.

Has anyone ever received an auto-responder message from an unknown sender, offering a NM business opportunity, that they responded to?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Thanks for the credit Kim.

    Somehow I feel that the Internet has been both good and bad for this industry.

    We are too automated. People do not fill out forms because they expect to get slammed with an E-Mail every week when all they really want is Personal attention.

    Someone to answer their questions and help ease their anxiety about joining our business or buying our product.

    We are in the age where we want the website and the autoresponder to do the work FOR us. It has made us lazy and has created a monster.

    It is time to take back control and take care of our people on a one on one basis…no more fly-by marketing.

    Matthew Adams
    Mia Bella

  • Hi Kim…Couldn’t agree with you more about autoresponders! My company offers them in our back office but I’ve never used them for all the reasons you listed. I’ve sent them to myself to see how it ‘felt’ to get them and it felt just like jumk mail…so no thanks!

    But I’ve been giving a lot of thought to your last several blogs about newspaper advertising, and I’ve decided to go that route as soon as I have enough funds.

    In fact, Walter wrote something in one of his posts a few days ago that resonated with me. I’m thinking of using this statement in a ‘recruit’ ad:

    “I’m looking for people who are already successful at what they do, but hate the thought of doing it for another 10 years.”

    What do you think Kim?

    And thanks, Walter, for your wonderful words!


  • Before I knew what an autoresponder was, I did get an email from someone I didn’t know inviting me to “Change My Life” . . . I did call to inquire because at the time, I needed a change in my life.

    I’d been out of work for 6 months, couldn’t seem to ‘buy’ a job, so I called to find out the details concerning the Evite that I’d received to this ‘T-party’.

    Long story short, that’s exactly how I got involved in Network Marketing! However, the person who sent that email never did work the business (apparently she was warned about sending Spam messages).

    Fast forward 4 years and having learned better . . . I think autoresponders have a place as far as following up with people but NOT as the initial means to contacting people about what you do or have to offer. Those messages get deleted . . . I simply don’t have the time.

    A Johnson Enterprise

  • I would have no idea if I have gotten one or not that promotes NM. I delete everything that is not personally to me. Autoresponders are too easy to spot at a glance.

    Nancy Carlson

  • Like with everything else, there are two sides to every coin. Autoresponders can be good if used efficiently and correctly to help grow your business and inform your customers. And they can be abused as well.

    I did have an autoresponder in the back office of my lead capture page for my nutritional business until it was discontinued a while ago because of spam complaints to the owner of the website. (Mind you, I wasn’t the one spamming anyone.) Since then, I find it very hard to keep in touch with my prospects and some did fall between the cracks.

    I have been trying to set up my own message sequence in a popular autoresponder for both my businesses and for both customers and those who are interested in the business. It is very time consuming, because I’m not the greatest writer and also a perfectionist. Nothing is ever good enough. I am also trying to make the emails more personal and not sounding like I’m selling something.

    Oh, by the way, yes, autoresponders are by definition “automated” but they don’t have to be. Every good autoresponder has a “broadcast” feature that can be used to send an email at any time. I am planing on using that feature to make that email as personal as I can. Also, most autoresponders I know have a feature where you can insert the first name of the person that opted in making it more personal in that respect too.

    Everyone…have a wonderful week!

    Ilka Flood

  • I must say that autoresponders are very useful tools when used appropriately.

    I would never use them as a means of approaching people but they are a very useful tool to use in following up with prospects who are not ready to join but want you to stay in touch, with customers and with new business partners.

    While, this can never replace one to one conversations, it definitely is better than no communication.

    If used correctly it’s a very powerful tool but unfortunately most don’t and it becomes irritating and is junk mail.

    That’s my tupence.



  • Kim,

    As with any tool, you can use it for what it was intended in a constructive way, or you can misuse and abuse it and create a big mess.

    I use autoresponders for all 3 of my businesses and save loads of time. I DO NOT, however, buy leads and dump them into my autoresponder and commence spamming the pants off of people trying to get their attention (and eventually their $.)

    The ONLY people who are in my autoresponder are people who’ve filled out an opt-in form to be placed in my autoresponder. They know they’re going to be getting messages from me and if they don’t like what they get, or what I have to offer is not for them, they unsubscribe and my feelings are not hurt.

    Another important thing to do with autoresponders relates back to their purpose (to save you time by sending the same message to several interested parties at once, thereby relieving you of having to send emails individually) and that is:

    Write as if you were writing to only one person. Make your message personable and let your personality shine through. Don’t be bland and canned. Sometimes, you’ll have people reply to these messages they receive because you effectively connected with them! That’s a sign you’re on the right track.

    So, use autoreponders to save time and automate the parts of your communications that make sense, but use them correctly and effectively!


  • I think it depends on where the requestor is in the prospecting/recruiting cycle.

    Ours is a business that requires personal interaction and communication. It demands relationship building to grow and maintain a strong organization.

    However, it is not necesary to personally contact each and every wannabe and tire-kicker is “looking” for a product or opportunity. I only want to spend time with qualified prospects.

    We have to maintain “posture” and a leadership role throughout the prospecting/recruiting processes. This means only serious prospects get our personal attention.

    I use autoresponders to feed value to new peospects and to manage newsletters and other sequential mailings.

    Serious prospects will absorb all the material and sometime during the process, or at the end of the series, will go to my shopping area and purchase products, or contact me for a personal consultation if they are truly interested.

    This positions me as the leader in the transaction as I help them with their purchase or decide if they can join my team.

    Get Kim’s audios and books, especially regarding marketing with ads, and see the difference positioning makes in your prospecting and recruiting efforts.

    Thanks Kim…

    Dave B.

  • When I first got started in this business, I bought leads from a well known lead source and sent messages out by autoresponder before contacting them by phone. I got accused of spamming. That turned me off to autoresponders.

    My mentor uses an autoresponder. I originally contacted her over the internet, so I am in her autoresponder. I have been able to tell the difference between her personal messages to me and the autoresponder, sometimes even before open them. I read her personal messages to me and file the autoresponder messages.

    I am working on an online survey where participants in the survey will be able to get a free report to download at the end of the survey. The link to the free report will be sent by autoresponder. That is the only e-mail they will receive from me by autoresponder. I don’t intend to use them otherwise. They are just too impersonal.

  • I have never signed up, and rarely ever been interested enough in a business promoted by autoresponder. However, I think they do have their place in NM.

    One of the ways I use mine is in providing health and lifestyle tips to people I have contact with (they’ve contacted me or know me). This is a way to stay in touch with people who may eventually become clients of mine or who may refer people to me.

    I’ve also used my autoresponder to do broadcasts to my particular lists, rather than sending out the same email many times. One such thing I used a broadcast for was sending out information for a four week health coaching program I did for my church – the times of the call, the call in numbers and so forth.

    I think autoresponders can have a place in NMing; I think they must be used carefully and thoughtfully and the messages sent must be written as if they were being sent to ONE individual, not a mass of people. The messages should be non-hypey and they should include a way of contacting you for persons who wish to speak with someone one on one.

  • Autoresponders have their place, there good when you are expecting them; like responding to a registration that you’ve made.

    I manage several email accounts, if I’m not expecting your email…….junk mail it stays.

    However, the question of newspaper ads vs social network for the purpose of recruiting a key person, deserves a different analysis. Don’t you really need to know a little something about the recruting norms of the particular industry for the position this “key person” is going to hold.

    My question to you is, are you likely to recruit an AVP, for a six figure position over the internet/on a social network or even through an ad in a local paper? Hmmmmmm.

    Is this how you recruit a “key” person for that level position? Let’s cut the bull; or maybe I’m missing the point here (or maybe not that type of “key person”). It all sounds like posturing to me.

    Internet social networking it’s just what it is. For some its a waste of time for, for others like text messaging, it’s the technology of the day.

    Relationships are what closes deals. “Key people” are recommeded/recruited/identified by “key people”. Not the internet or an ad in the paper.



  • Auto messages are indeed good for those kinds of information that a person has signed up for – they know it’s coming to a group, of whom they are a member. Like my Bulletin, for example, or a “7 daily tips” sent out over 7 days, or any other information someone has asked to receive over time. Bob Proctor’s daily meditations are another example. Not an auto-responder, but a canned message that goes to a group.

    As to Anonymous – why are you anon?

    I have gotten nearly all my key people in my five businesses from newspaper ads. It’s all about how they are written. You attract what you ask for. Offer get rich quick, and that’s who comes.

    I know the person I seek to work with personally, and describe them to a T. That’s what I did, and do now.

    One could of course find someone good, even a key person, on a social network site, but it would be only select places, like the friends lists of well qualified and talented people, like Robert Scoble for the tech world on Facebook, for example.

    I wouldn’t spend time looking at “friends” pages on social network sites when they’re people who don’t really know each other, and about whom you can see nothing of significance in their descriptions.

    I’m not interested just a bunch of people signing up for Facebook or My space deluging others with “be my friend requests” so they can bombard them with pitches for their business, which most of them have just begun and in which they’re making no money to speak of, yet.

    Where is there an experienced “friends list” of good networkers available? Where they’re not all trying to recruit each other almost daily?

    That’s the purpose of NMC…yep, that is my thing created for that purpose. A place where you CAN find out about cool networkers, like my pal Kathy Minsky, top banana at Shaklee, and she will not try and hit you up when you contact her, unless you ASK. Or Paula Pritchard, top banana for the last 20 years and friend for 15 years, whom people can learn about and discover what wonderful and skilled people there are in our industry.

    People who don’t spend their time trying to recruit anyone around them or make fake friends.

    So there’s my rant and my pitch for NMC…hehehe.

  • Like most of the readers, I think autoresponders have their place.

    I personally like them from a source I am familar with who may have information or training that might benefit many of the readers.

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