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The autoresponder has been used for years as a way of both engaging the potential customer and keeping them “in the loop.” The concept behind the auto responder, that the prospect will be sent a series of pre-written content pieces, each of which further expands upon a central theme, was revolutionary in its time. But, recent changes in the way consumers interact with companies over the Internet may have spelled the end for the autoresponder series concept as we know it.

Just years ago a simple formula was employed by tens of thousands of businesses on the Internet, meant to introduce a prospect into the company’s “world.” First, the prospect encountered an advertisement from the company, which directed him or her to the company’s landing page. This page was written in order to motivate the potential customer into providing their name, email, and perhaps telephone number, in exchange for emailed content. Usually this content was delivered as either a free report or as an autoresponder series.

Chances are many of the readers of this article have several installments of one or more autoresponder series currently sitting in their inbox. This subtle fact not only points to the ubiquity of autoresponder series, but also to what may be their ultimate downfall. People simply do not want to continuously receive more and more emails about a given topic, even when said topic is of interest to them. Most of us have a hard enough time keeping our inboxes clean of all the junk that continuously flows in, and autoresponder series simply make such a task all the more difficult.

If the death of the autoresponder series is truly upon us, what will take its place? There are several contenders. One likelihood is that apps will be used to do the job that the series were previously employed to do. For example, it is easy to imagine that, after installing a particular app, you would be delivered valuable content periodically directly to the app, much like an autoresponder but minus the email component. By using an app, the customer could keep all of their information from a particular source grouped in one convenient place.

Another potential replacement for the autoresponder series would involve social media. Though Facebook and Twitter are not necessarily geared towards delivering bite sized chunks of content over time, enterprising application developers could potentially create a solution. Or, a company could simply broadcast, on its fan or groups page, the uploading of the latest installment of a given series, and provide a link to the relevant page of its website.

Overall, the move away from autoresponders is a move toward giving the potential customer more control over the information they consume and how they interact with it. Companies that embrace this change can ensure that consumers actually read and interact with content at a deeper level by giving them an unobtrusive way of accessing it. Though there is no way to know what will eventually replace the autoresponder, it is all but certain that the concept, in its current manifestation, is dead.

About Tabitha Jean Naylor

Tabitha Jean Naylor is the founder of Successful Startup 101, a digital magazine that provides answers to the most pertinent questions facing business owners today, and the proud owner of TabithaNaylor.com, a marketing firm that delivers “big agency” quality at rates that are affordable for startups and small businesses. Her intimate knowledge of how sales and marketing go hand in hand has resulted in a variety of successful campaigns for startups through NASDAQ-traded companies. Connect with her on Twitter @SuccessStartup and @TabithaNaylor.

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