Autoresponders are one of the most powerful marketing tools your website can have. This article focuses on the best free autoresponder tools currently available, including an overview of what they are and why your website needs one.
So, let’s cut straight to the chase and jump straight in!
An Introduction to Autoresponders
Autoresponders are marketing tools that allow you to create custom automated email workflows. You can use them to automatically send mail messages to both new and existing subscribers.
Most autoresponders can perform a variety of functions. In their simplest form, they can send welcome emails to new subscribers. You can then send follow-up messages – for example, containing a special introductory offer – if the new subscriber doesn’t log onto your site within a preset time.
You can also use the autoresponder to maintain contact with existing subscribers, for example, by sending newsletters, updates on your business, special offers, and the like. Again, you can set up the workflows to send further emails if the subscriber takes no action on the previous one. This is a popular strategy with marketers because it helps increase conversions.
Other common examples of autoresponders are password reset emails, new blog post notifications, abandoned cart emails, birthday or anniversary greetings, etc.
Moreover, autoresponders do not necessarily need to be emails – alternative channels include SMS, social media messaging, push notifications, chatbots, WhatsApp, etc.
How Autoresponders Can Benefit Your Website
An autoresponder tool can benefit your business in many ways. Here are just a few of those benefits:
Nurture New Leads
Say your new website is still under development, and in the meantime you are displaying a ‘Coming Soon’ page. Through that age, visitors can subscribe for updates on when the launch will take place. The autoresponder can send an email thanking new subscribers for their interest. Subsequent messages can update them on the site’s development and notify them when it is officially launched.
Keeping subscribers informed ensures they remain engaged and won’t forget to check back once your site is live.
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Build Relationships with Your Subscribers.
When you use an autoresponder, you can regularly send emails to your subscribers to inform them of your latest products, company news, and other business activities. Moreover, emails wishing them a happy birthday or anniversary, possibly with a unique discount code, are also sure to win them over.
Furthermore, many autoresponders use dynamic content. This means you can send personalized emails to each recipient, thereby offering your subscribers an excellent user experience.
Segmenting subscribers into different groups based on specific demographics allows you to send tailored emails to the select groups automatically. For example, you may want to send a discount coupon in Dollars to your subscribers in the USA, while those in Europe are to receive one in Euros. This is common strategy for improving conversion rates. Alternatively, you may want to send emails regarding a new brand of wrinkle cream to ladies of a certain age group. The possibilities are literally endless.
Automating your email workflows means you won’t waste time preparing and sending email campaigns manually to different demographic groups. Instead, you can devote the time saved to other aspects of your business.
7 Great Free Autoresponder Tools for You to Try
Before trawling the internet to find the right free autoresponder tools for your business, you might want to consider looking at the following ones.
All of these are extremely popular and, therefore, tried and tested. While not all are entirely free, the paid ones have generous free trials, meaning you can test them before deciding if they are worth purchasing.
First in my list of best free autoresponder tools is Mailchimp. This is probably the best-known and most respected email marketing platform currently on the market, and is hugely popular.
The free plan offered by Mailchimp includes some super marketing tools to help promote your business. Sadly, the autoresponder functionality of that version is limited to a single-step automation builder and 2k contacts maximum. At the same time, email sends are restricted to 10k per month and will include Mailchimp ads. That said, it could be ideal for for small businesses or providing a basic introduction to autoresponders and Mailchimp.
If you are willing to invest in one of Mailchimp’s premium plans, you will have access to much better autoresponder functionality, including a customer journey builder, prebuilt templates, and various triggers.
Mailchimp is one of the industry leaders in email marketing and, as such, would be a good, reliable addition to your business.
You may also be interested in this article which compares Mailchimp against Campaign Monitor and SendinBlue
Mailchimp has a free plan which I have already covered.
To get the full suite of autoresponder and other marketing tools, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. Standard starts at $17 per month, while Premium will set you back a whopping $299 per month, but it does include absolutely everything. Obviously, Premium is meant for large businesses with big marketing budgets, while Premium is for smaller enterprises.
For full details of what each plan includes, please check out Mailchimp’s pricing page.
The penultimate best free autoresponder tool in my list is SendinBlue, another complete solution for all your email marketing needs. Amongst other things, it allows you to automate your marketing across several channels, including email, SMS, and chat.
A library of email templates makes autoresponder workflow creation super-fast. Not only are these templates customizable, but dynamic content and segmentation tools mean they can be automatically personalized to each recipient.
Other key features of SendinBlue include A/B testing and advanced analytics to monitor and tweak your campaigns.
Please check out this comparison of SendinBlue with Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor for further reading.
A free SendinBlue plan is available. While it doesn’t include all the paid plans’ features, such as A/B testing and heatmaps, it does include marketing automation for up to 2k contacts, and allows you to send 300 emails daily.
If you want all the bells and whistles, upgrades start from $25 per month for the Lite plan and $65 for Premium. Those prices assume a monthly email volume of 20k.
As an all-in-one marketing platform, Moosend naturally includes email autoresponders in its expansive toolbox.
Thanks to an automation workflow designer, creating autoresponders in Moosend is easy. What’s more, it includes a library of 30+ prebuilt templates for campaigns such as abandoned carts, anniversaries, weather-based upsells, etc. Additionally, various campaign trigger types are on hand, while a ‘loops’ facility allows you to send recurring emails. Plus, you can further refine your campaigns using AND/OR logic.
Overall, Moosend is an excellent option if you are looking for a full suite of marketing tools that include autoresponders.
Unfortunately, Moosend does not offer a free plan per se. However, signing up for a free account does provide free-forever access to all features of its campaign editor for up to 1k unique subscribers.
A free 30-day trial is available so you can try out most of Moosend’s Pro plan features. After that, expect to pay a minimum of $9 per month for up to 500 subscribers.
Like Mailchimp and Moosend, ActiveCampaign is another solution that bundles email marketing, marketing automation, and CRM tools all in one convenient package. It is suitable for B2B, B2C, and eCommerce businesses.
Autoresponder-wise, ActiveCampaign interacts with various channels, including email, social media, text messages, landing pages, chat, etc. Furthermore, tags and custom fields allow you to track your subscriber’s interactions and engagement with your site. Detailed analytics help you understand which of your strategies work and which need attention.
Unfortunately, no free version of ActiveCampaign is available. However, you can try out most features free for fourteen days. That should be sufficient time to decide whether purchasing it would be a good investment for your business.
Several ActiveCampaign plans are available starting from $15 per month for up to 500 contacts. If you pay annually, that price reduces to $9 per month.
Like ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact is another excellent digital marketing tool that only offers a free trial followed by a paid plan. However, it is included in this list of best free autoresponder tools because of its excellent functionality. So, if your business does have a marketing budget, it could be a good option for you.
The autoresponder tools bundled with Constant Contact include targeted welcome emails, drip campaigns to nurture leads, and contact segmentation to ensure the right messages reach the intended audience. Attracting new subscribers is aided by signup forms and list builders that leverage the massive power of social media ads.
Constant Contact integrates with Shopify, Facebook, and Mindbody, further helping to streamline your business.
While Constant Contact is a premium product, a generous free 60-day trial is available to test its capabilities.
When the free trial period expires, you can either walk away or upgrade to a paid plan. However, the only plans that include email automation are Digital Marketing Plus and Sales Accelerator.
Digital Marketing Plus includes all the features to grow your email list, keep your customers engaged, and convert them quickly. That starts from $45 per month, based on the number of contacts you have.
Sales Accelerator is a full-blown CRM (customer relationship management) suite. As such, it has tons more tools over and above those in the cheaper plan. However, at $449 per month, this version is clearly pitched squarely at larger businesses.
Next in my list of best free autoresponder tools is Campaign Monitor. This is a digital marketing solution with a free plan. Unfortunately, that plan has a five subscriber limit which makes it more of a trial.
Autoresponder tools in Campaign Monitor’s arsenal include an intuitive visual journey designer to help build automated email workflows for various scenarios. Furthermore, powerful segmentation allows you to target email campaigns toward specific groups.
Campaign Monitor’s detailed analytics help you keep track of how everything is performing while helping you better understand your audience.
You may also be interested in this comparison of Campaign Monitor vs. Mailchimp vs. SendinBlue.
As already mentioned, Campaign Monitor has a free plan, but as it is limited to just five contacts, it is only useful for trial purposes.
However, the paid plans are competitively priced, starting from $9 per month for Basic, $29 for Unlimited, and $149 for Premier. Basic contains enough functionality for most smaller businesses. It does, however, have more limitations on the number of emails you can send than the other plans.
As with the other autoresponder tools in this list, Campaign Monitor’s plan prices depend on how many contacts you have.
Ending my list of the best free autoresponder tools is MailerLite. Despite ‘lite’ forming part of its name, this solution contains a surprisingly large feature set.
The best thing about MailerLite is a very usable free version is available. Despite costing nothing, it allows you to have up to 1k contacts in your email list and send 12k emails every month.
The developers of MailerLite have strived to make it as intuitive as possible, so the interface is refreshingly simple. From that, you can access all necessary email autoresponder tools, including a drag-and-drop editor and various templates.
Other handy features of MailerLite include signup forms and popups to help capture new subscribers, A/B testing to assess which campaigns work best, eCommerce integration, and ten landing pages.
Premium plans add even more features. Those include enhanced automation with multiple triggers, unlimited templates, dynamic emails, a custom HTML editor, etc.
As mentioned already, a free version of MailerLite is available.
Premium offerings start at $10 per month for the Growing Business plan, while the Advanced plan starts at $21 per month. As always, those prices are linked to the number of subscribers. Discounts for annual payment are available, as is a free 30-day trial.
What’s Your Favorite Free Autoresponder Tool?
Autoresponders are potent tools for automating your email workflows. They allow your business to interact with subscribers at any time of day, even when your office is closed. Moreover, well designed workflows appear seamless and fluid to subscribers, leading them to believe they are communicating with a person, not an automated system.
Are you already using an autoresponder to automate your marketing emails? If so, is it a free one, or have you invested in a premium tool? Which features do you like and dislike about it?
Thanks for reading!