Saturday, March 06, 2010


Please see the message from David Bates on Autoresponders

Autoresponders basically send out a timed sequence of messages and, surprise surprise, are commonly used by people to automate their marketing on the internet.  The basic technique is to drive potential customers to your website – offer something like a free report / email course which people can sign-up to, and when they do the autoresponder sends out the messages you want in a timed sequence.  In this context it may take a lot of work to get a really good marketing message together that will lead to sales of whatever service / product you’re offering, but once it’s up and running there’s no further effort required.

In the context of libraries and information literacy there are a range of ways these could be used:

  1. Enabling people to sign-up to an e-course.  This could be a one-off thing, like an introductory video / podcast / whatever, or a sequence of activities over a period of time.
  2. Prompting people to carry out certain activities as part of an ongoing course – you could set-up an autoresponder which you could set off at the beginning of the FILE course for example – or even before the course starts (the pre-course assessment could be the first message in the sequence).  The emails could include things like a reminder of the deadline for the current component + a link to the page on the FILE website relating to the next session. The final emails could be asking people to complete their evaluation, possibly including a link to SurveyMonkey (or whatever) if it’s an online survey.

You’re really only limited by your imagination – but if you do have courses / events / whatever that take place over a fixed period of time, and you’re sending out the same information to a group of people in a timed sequence, this can be one way of reducing the administrative burden considerably.
One of the best known providers of an autoresponder is AWeber (, although there are plenty of others around too.