In a world of technological advances, there are numerous discussions about the loss of personal connection and relationships due to the ever-evolving social media options used to entice us into “the zone”. “The zone” could represent anything…shopping, Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, pinning the latest cool stuff on Pinterest, etc.

Given the current debates about relationship building in the marketplace, it probably seems odd that I endorse “auto-respond” emails for some of my clients.  As with every marketing option, there are a variety of ways to engage clients, and not every option is the best choice for every client.  Careful thought must be given before utilizing pre-scheduled emails as part of social media interaction.

Essentially, “auto-respond” emails are triggered when someone signs up for a newsletter, company updates, or email specials among 1000’s of options people have for remaining up to date with all of the latest news on a variety of topics.  In general, you want to hold your auto-responds to about 5 emails.  An introduction, 3 “meat” emails, and a conclusion asking followers what other topics they would like to learn about.  Your “meat” emails should either be 1 large problem that clients may experience, broken into 3 manageable parts of instruction or 3 different “meat” topics that target a specific service you provide.

I personally use and recommend MailChimp.  Their training modules are great, the pricing structure fits my needs, and who doesn’t love a Chimp giving you tips as you work your way through a campaign set-up.   In order to access their “Auto Responders” Section, you must upgrade to a paid account.  Until you know for sure how many emails you will be sending out to your followers, the basic $10/month package is all you need to get started!

The good side of pre-scheduled emails is the ability it affords the smaller businesses/agencies to engage their followers on an immediate level with general information and then convert them to long-term followers with personalized emails and regularly published newsletters or blogs.

At the end of the day, the biggest priority for any business, large or small, is to develop a relationship with their clients.   Auto-respond emails can be one component of the well-developed social media and marketing plan you have created for your clients.