As a solopreneur being able to follow-up with your clients and potential clients is crucial in growing and sustaining your business, and keeping a steady flow of new clients coming on board. However the downside is the time it takes to follow-up with each and every one of your contacts – after all spending all day following up with clients isn’t a good use of your time; you also need to spend your time on income generating activities and generating cash flow for your business.

So what is a time-starved solopreneur to do in order to maintain follow-up with customers and clients?

Autoresponders are perfect for automating your follow-up and freeing up some of your time. If set up correctly they will follow up with EVERY SINGLE customer who has ever purchased a product from you; or EVERY SINGLE subscriber to your ezine list! Would you be able to undertake that task yourself? The answer is no, you couldn’t, it would be impossible.

This is where you need to get smart and take advantage of technology to automate your follow-up. Create the systems and let them run on autopilot.

What is an autoresponder?

Put simply an autoresponder is a piece of software that will allow you to send email messages to people on your list. Don’t confuse this with spam or unsolicited mail though. These messages are sent to people who have already confirmed that they want to receive email from you; they have either signed up to your ezine list or they have bought a product from you. They have given you permission to email them as they have confirmed their subscription to your list.

The autoresponder is an email that is sent out automatically in response to an action taken by your customer/subscriber, and it can either be just one message or a series of follow-up messages that you set up to go out at certain intervals – you choose what those intervals are.

For example, you could set the first message up so that it goes out immediately someone confirms their subscription to your list, the next message could go out seven days later, and the final one two weeks after that. The beauty of using this system is that you decide how often and what messages are sent out.

The autoresponder doesn’t write the messages for you, you have to do that yourself, but the opportunities using an autoresponder opens are invaluable.

Once you’ve taken the time to set up the autoresponder it all runs on autopilot!

How can you use autoresponders in your day-to-day business?

There are many ways you can use an autoresponder in your day-to-day business, but just to give you a couple of examples:

Ezine Signup. When someone signs up for your ezine you will generally create an autoresponder that immediately gets sent out to them welcoming them to your list – once they’ve confirmed their subscription, of course! Add a second message to go out a few days later, and ask them how they found your free taste, what their biggest challenge is, or if there is a particular topic that they would like to find out more about.

Product Purchase. When someone buys one of your products create an autoresponder and a series of follow-up messages to ask them how they are getting on with your product, are they working through it okay, send them a ‘surprise’ bonus, or ask for a testimonial. Span these messages so that they go out over the course of a few weeks. If you offer a home study system set the final message to check in with them about six/eight weeks after they’ve bought your product to see if they were able to implement the steps, or if there’s anything they need help with.

The secret to autoresponder success

Even though your autoresponder may be going out to several hundred customers (or even thousands), don’t let that deter you from making your messages personal – let your personality come through in your messages, encourage feedback from your recipient, give them a call to action in your messages.

When putting your autoresponder and follow-up messages together write them as though you are writing to just ONE person. Think about the tone you use. Do you keep it informal? Chatty? Light? If you find this task hard pick a contact/client you know really well and imagine you’re writing an email to them. What tone do you use when writing to this person?

Go one better, and actually send your messages to this contact/client and ask for feedback from them. Chances are if they really like the way you’ve written your messages your other customers and clients will too!

I rely on my autoresponders to follow up with my customers, clients, and ezine subscribers – without them I’d find it impossible to follow-up and may end up losing valuable relationships.

I know that many of my relationships with my clients/customers have been established as a result of them replying to one of my autoresponder messages. I would find it impossible to make contact with each and every one of these people personally; the autoresponder does that for me, but then I am able to create a relationship with those customers who do reply to my messages.

(c) 2008 Tracey Lawton

Author's Bio: 

About the author: Online Business Manager & Virtual Assistant, Tracey Lawton, supports professional speakers, coaches, and authors to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how to create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at