Predictive Autoresponders 101 : The Bright Future Of ECommerce Email Marketing

What Is An Autoresponder?

An autoresponder is a computer program that automatically answers e-mail sent to it. Autoresponders are often used as e-mail marketing tools to immediately provide information to their prospective customers and then follow-up with them at preset time intervals.
 
 The basic forms of autoresponders are automatic response emails that we receive when we send an email to a company. An out of office message, an automatic response to a support request may well be considered as autoresponders.
 
 In today’s email marketing environment, autoresponders mainly act as ‘if this, then that’ kind of tools. Whenever a user triggers an action, an autoresponder responds to this action. An E-Commerce executive is able to define a set of rules for each and every autoresponder to be sent out.
 
 The best thing about an autoresponder is its ability to adopt to an individual. You are the person who create the action that triggers an autoresponder and you receive a personal message as a result of your action. Some autoresponders also include a personalized content (other than the recipient’s name) and that increases the chances of conversion. If the message is intended towards a shopper, then the autoresponder may include a personalized discount, a set of product recommendations or an invitation to an event.
 
 3 different business rules shall be defined before sending out an autoresponder;
 
- When to send: Which action is going to trigger this message
- What to send: Which content shall be included in this message
- Who to send: Who is going to receive this message
- Which form to send: Will this be an e-mail, a twitter message, a push message, a pop-up etc.

What Is A Predictive Autoresponder?

A predictive autoresponder for E-Commerce is a special type of an autoresponder which not only includes a content but predicts the content which is more likely to convert. A predictive responder needs to typically address;
 
- Who is the receiver: Name, e-mail address, phone number etc.
- What is his/her taste profile: The products viewed, the purchases made, the items favorited etc.
- What is he/she searching for at that particular moment: The exact category, color, specs, price range that the user is looking for
- What is the user’s previous interaction with the company: Call center conversations, support requests, returned items etc.
- What value has this user delivered before: Is this a repeat purchaser; what is the customer lifetime value, has the user responded to similar messages before
 
 The algorithm empowering a predictive autoresponder processes a set of historical and real-time user data and applies business rules to produce a message that is likely to convert. This autoresponder message could be an email, an SMS, a mobile notification or a pop-up on an E-Commerce website.

What Are The Benefits Of A Predictive Autoresponder?

In email marketing, a lot of E-Commerce executives have long been trying to find a way to personalize their messages. The subject line, the content, the context, the timing are all optimized to deliver better open rates and click-through rates. A predictive autoresponder equips the email marketer via automation of all these processes and taking much of the burden out of her shoulders. What remains is the strategic part; monitoring the process, A/B testing, reviewing the results and optimising the process.
 
 A predictive autoresponder is likely to deliver at least 6X higher transaction rates than the standard ones as these messages are personalized with the help of predictive algorithms.

How To Select A Vendor For Developing Your Predictive Autoresponders?

The vendor selection in marketing technology and email automation space has always been though however a few tips may be helpful;
 
- Prediction competencies: Developing a predictive technology is hard and takes years. While talking to a vendor, make sure that the company has a proven track record of success.
- Easy-to-use interface: For setting business rules, you will need a customer interface. You’ll need to play with some features, daily. Look for vendors that are able to provide sleek interfaces.
- Reporting capabilities: In terms of making optimization, you need to keep track of the performance of your predictive autoresponders. The vendor has to be able to report the performance in an accurate and transparent way.
- Easy implementation: The implementation needs to be effortless for your IT guys. Look for vendors that have a sound integration practice and a state-of-the-art platform.
 
 One important fact to consider is that; a predictive autoresponder software is not the same as an email marketing software. An email marketing software delivers huge volume of E-Commerce emails in a timely, spam-free manner but the predictive autoresponder software is the one that builds the ‘personalization’ layer on top the email delivery function. So from this angle, both are required tools that should be present in an E-Commerce email marketer’s marketing technology stack.

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