With Autoresponder Extension, you can create one or more message series which are sent to subscribers with configured delays and run in autopilot. An autoresponder is also known as follow up or mail automation.
Each series is linked to a list. When a subscriber enters that list (after subscription or changing his profile) the autoresponder starts a process for that subscriber and sends him all the messages with set delays.
Just an example. You have the list “Lessons to be a smarter online shopper” and you configure your subscription process to add all new subscribers to that list. You then have an autoresponder configured with 5 messages to be delivered in sequence every 7 days which is connected to the said list.
When a reader subscribes he starts to receive your five lessons, one per week. Of course if the subscriber editing his subscription profile, remove himself from the list “Lessons to be a smarter online shopper”, the series of messages will stop.
There’re many situations where you want to start a message series: when a customer buys a specific product, when the reader subscribes using a specific form, when a user register to your site and so on. We’ll se some cases later.
The configuration is divided in few parts. The general options are about the associated list, the autoresponder name and if it is enabled or not. Then there are the messages. Every message is composed of a subject, a message body and a delay. The theme configuration is the skin you give to every message of your series. The statistics panel let you access to some aggregated data about the whole autoresponder (for example how many subscriber are in every step).
The autoresponder can be enabled or disabled. When disables it is actually only suspended and when enabled again the delivery process restarts from the last saved point. Of course, if a subscriber should have received a message when the autoresponder was disabled, that message will be sent as soon as the autoresponder is enabled again.
The autoresponder name is only for internal use, only you will see that title.
The associated list identifies the subscribers which are targeted by this autoresponder. When a subscriber for the first time enters the list, the autoresponder starts the email series for him. Periodically the autoresponder checks if there are new subscribers in the list and process them. So if you’re importing contacts in a list connected to an auoresponders, shortly they will be processed and attached to the message series. This usually happens in an hour.
Only subscribers with confirmed status are processed. If a subscriber looses its confirmed status its autoresponder sequence is definitively blocked. That may change in the future or move to different behaviors.
If a subscriber is removed from the list, the series is definitively blocked for him.
In test mode, the autoresponder engine works like if 5 minutes are 1 hour. That means a delay of 24 hours expired in 2 hours. The test mode is actually for developement it will be removed in the near future.
Messages and steps
An autoresponder is composed of a set of messages, which are even called steps. When a subscriber is linked, it starts on step 1 which means it will receive the first message after the configured delay. A subscriber on step 1 has not yet received the first message, it is just waiting for it.
Messages are just the body part of the whole email, which is enriched with a logo, a footer and different other common parts as provided by the selected theme. The theme is unique for the whole series.
The statistics tab gives an overview of an autoresponder and its subscribers status. The panel lists how many active subscribers are waiting on specific step for that message. It lists how many subscriber exited from the autoresponder (due to removal from the linked list).
Of course subscribers which loose the confirmed status (because the move to bounced, cancelled and so on) exit the autoresponder sequence.
If a subscribers which are still confirmed but no more in the autoresponder associated list blocks the sequence and are considered an abandon.
Each message is treated as a regular newsletter so the opens and clicks are tracked as usual.