Manage In Spanish A Beginner’s Guide To The Autoresponder

It’s generally true that the lifeblood of any online business is your email list. Therefore building an email list is something you need to be doing from the outset. List building can be a very simple process, if you have a few tools in place before you get started. One of the most important tools you are going to need is an autoresponder. Without an autoresponder building your list is going to be much harder if not impossible.Fortunately, there are a few different autoresponders out there and they are generally easy and inexpensive to obtain, Some are even free. And most are extremely simple to use. You won’t need to outlay too much money to get started, nor will you need any specialised skills.What Is An Autoresponder?Autoresponders are messages set by you to go out automatically to your email list. They help you by automatically sending out emails and newsletters to recipients who have signed up to your list.You can schedule each individual set of messages, (known as a campaign) to go out to your list in a sequence set out by you. You can decide what messages are sent by which campaign and even control the rate at which they are sent. For example you may want to send emails out to a new subscriber on days 1,2,3,4,5 then slow down the rate of emails to say day 7,10,14 etc. Autoresponders are invaluable because they enable you to write your messages in advance and they keep track of who they have sent them to and when.They also give you a breakdown of how many of your recipients opened the messages, clicked on links etc.The best autoresponders also give you the ability to create and manage newsletters, even providing you with hundreds of templates.As you can see, an autoresponder service is really an essential part of your list building arsenal. Without it, you would find it almost impossible to collect and manage email addresses. It would also be a nightmare trying to keep track of what messages you have sent to each individual address.There are two types of autoresponder services…Self-Hosted AutorespondersSelf-hosted Autoresponders won’t normally cost you a monthly fee. They will usually have an upfront charge for the autoresponder itself. However, what you save initially may cost you later down the line because of problems that can arise when using this method.


First, with self-hosted autoresponders, you have a very real chance of all your messages getting delivered to your recipients spam folder. This is because a self-hosted autoresponder does not usually contain the ability to stop messages being filtered as spam.Second, you will have to deal with any spam complaints you get by yourself. When you use a hosted service, they will usually handle any spam complaints you may get on your behalf. Also with a hosted service, you have the option to use double-opt. This ensures you will have extra protection in the event of any spam complaints.Third, hosted services usually provide you with the ability to back up your lists should anything go wrong. With a self-hosted autoresponder this will be solely down to you to attend to. Add to that any maintenance you may need to carry out and all of a sudden the money you are saving may not seem such good value after all.Hosted Autoresponder ServicesHosted autoresponder services are much less of a headache to use. Not only are they generally white-listed with most of the major ISP’s, but they also ensure you are protected in the event of any spam complaints you may get. They also have lots of extra useful features that you would not get with a self-hosted autoresponder.There are numerous hosted services for you to choose from and each comes with their own pros and cons. If you have never used an autoresponder service before, it can be very difficult to decide which one is best suited to your own personal needs.With this in mind, I’m going to give you a brief summery of the five most popular autoresponder services available today. You can then better decide which is the right one for you. Remember, once chosen you will usually have to stay with the same service for as long as you are running your business. If you decide six months down the line that you want to change your autoresponder, you will have the unenviable and somewhat complicated task of transferring your list to your new service.Transferring your list to a new service can be a very time consuming and awkward job. Your new autoresponder service may even require you to ask all of your list to reconfirm their subscription. Best case scenario, this could take a long time, worst case you could lose a large chunk of your email list in the process.Obviously, if you have spent the past six months building your list, this would be a major setback. So as you can see, it is important to choose the right autoresponder service from the start.Popular Hosted ServicesAweber.comAweber has been the most popular autoresponder service for a very long time now. The reason is they are a very reliable service, with some great features and a price plan that will grow with your list. Therefor its not too expensive at the outset, in fact at the time of writing it’s free for 30 days then just $19 a month. As your list grows your monthly fee will increase. Aweber is also fairly easy to use and with access to over 700 templates and 6000 stock photos it is well worth considering. It also has a great has a great customer support system.GetResponse.comGetResponse is second only to Aweber in terms of popularity. They also boast some great features including a fairly substantial image library as well as over 500 templates. As with Aweber, Getresponse is simple to use and also has plans that will grow with your business. Starting at $10 a month they are cheaper than Aweber, and also offer the option of getting an 18% discount if you pay for 12 months in advance. Again at the time of writing they are offering a 30 day free trial.iContact.comJust like Aweber and Getresponse, iContact is offering a 30 day free trial. With packages starting at $14 a month they are competitively priced and with a 15% discount if you pay annually are well worth a look. They provide a very reliable service and although not as user friendly as Aweber and Getresponse their autoresponders are still very good. Add to this the fact that you can manage a list of up to 15,000 subscribers they offer a very enticing autoresponder service. Another great point to take into account is the ability to import your existing list and add contacts manually.


ConstantContact.comConstant Contact also offers a free trial period, but unlike the others this is a 60 day trial. Like Aweber and Getresponse they offer a service that grows with your list, with packages starting at $20 a month. They also offer a good size image library, templates and a phone app. They are a little let down by the lack of features compared to Aweber and Getrsponse. But with a really good support network they certainly offer a a service worth considering.MailChimp.comFinally we have Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp is somewhat different to the other autoresponder services, because they offer a free service aimed at startups. If your list remains below 2000 you will not have to pay anything. After 2000 names on your list then you can go onto the paid plan which starts at $10 a month. However, with the free version you are limited to the features you have access to so you may want to start on the paid plan earlier in order to access the extra features.Bottom LineThe autoresponders I have listed all have really good integration features and work really well with WordPress. As WordPress is used to build around 28% of all the websites on the internet, being able to integrate into this platform is an important feature.Although I have listed what are probably the five most popular autoresponder services out there, that’s not to say you should disregard the others. By all means have a look at a few of these and decide for yourself. We all have different wants and needs and maybe you will find a service more suited to what you require.Have you started using an autoresponder service yet? If so which one and how are you finding it? Do you use a self-hosted autoresponder? what problems have you faced and how have you overcome these?

Artificial Intelligence and Our Humanity

We hear and read about it everywhere these days.

You hear people saying, “The future is now.”

“We have to give way to technology.”

“We’ll be better off and live better lives (maybe not even work) if we let AI do it.”

Yes, technology is here, and we are living at the dawn of the age of AI, and it’s a topic that we’ve seen and heard a lot more about this year.

I wonder what the opportunities will be for the average person. You know, the person who is not the founder of Facebook, Google or Amazon, which have placed such high barriers to entry that it will be rare for companies to break into that stratospheric league.

What’s Going to Happen with Humans?

Do you wonder what’s going to happen to the average person? AI are taking over customer service, writing, design, sales, law, and medicine. As a businessman and social entrepreneur, the reality is that if you’re looking at things in a purely bottom-line manner, using AI could make a whole lot of sense. They never get sick. They work 27/7/365. They never stop and can indeed produce more than any human can–in a lifetime. From a pure dollars and cents perspective, AI can make a lot of sense.

But then you have to wonder about the broader implications of AI, and I sense that society has not even started to get its head around the implications. If you pay even a little attention to the news, then you know that a few months ago Facebook engineers shut down and pulled the plug on AI that decided on its own to go ahead and develop a new language. It was more efficient for them to get the work done, but humans did not understand. It seems that the language was basic, but what happens if the AI had not been shut down? Would they have developed a highly sophisticated way to communicate and operate that completely excised human?

I agree that technology can be beneficial to society. I think most people would agree that we’d prefer to send a bot into a dangerous situation, say war, rather than ask our men and women to put their lives on the line. I think there’s something to be said for the rapidly expanding role of robotics in medicine. For example, the fact that we’ve started to print human organs with 3D is a significant advancement, and we have to hope that many lives will be saved.

The Deeper Issues Related to AI

My concern as I dig deeper into the issue of AI is what the implications are for the human race, and yes, that even includes how we in the philanthropic sector connect with each other and with the world we serve. As I noted in the previous article I wrote, the Partnership on AI, which is a collaborative effort between mega-companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and leading non-profits such as UNICEF and Human Rights are trying to lead the conversation about the implications of AI in all of our lives.

If you tune in even a little bit into the conversation about AI, you know that we have to deal with many issues, including some of the following:

Safety: We don’t want to be in a situation where AI is created, and it is not obligated to protect human life.
Transparency: We had the recent situation with Facebook where they shut down AI, but who rules (government or business) when someone says “Houston, we have a problem”?
Labor and the Economy: Whose responsibility is it to train people as AI develops and what will their work functions be in light of a much more powerful AI partner? Will people even have jobs?
Society: For communities around the world, which certainly includes nonprofit and philanthropic work, what will be the impact of AI on philanthropy, education, charitable work, science, private/public partnerships, etc.

The reality seems to be apparently developing that there are few areas–if any–that AI will not touch.

Humanity’s Competitive Advantage

When I read about issues related to AI, I think of one thing–humanity. I believe we all have to get into the conversation now about the implications of AI. I’m someone who likes and values people precisely because we are imperfect. There is a lot of prose and poetry in the human condition. AI cannot love, demonstrate courage, hope, dream, feel fear, etc.

In my mind, those qualities are what makes humans so much better than AI. Our values are our competitive advantage in comparison to AI. There is something intrinsic within people (some call it a soul or spirit, others connect the scientific dots of all the elements that make up our brains, hearts, and bodies) that makes us unique, and yes, even exceptional.

We have a serious conversation that has to take place about AI, but it involves all humans, and we have to pay attention before we have a situation we did not bargain for in the age of technology.

The Path for Humanity as it Greets AI

In many ways, I hope that AI begins to break down the things that divide us and that we discover that as humans, we are all the same. We are. Take away the issues of money, race, religion, gender and everything else; we all bleed red.

We all hurt.

We all hope.

We all dream.

The way I see it, the time is now for humanity. It can be our finest hours at the dawn of a new age–provided we all get out of our own way and engage in a global dialogue about humanity in the age of AI.