Best introduction to this broad area is in Section IV - Your Sales Funnel. It's part of "Collecting up your eggs into baskets." (pages 182, 183)
And the rest of the book just talks like that is all you need to know about it.
Well, it is pretty simple. But, as usual, those who market themselves as "experts" have made it pretty over-hyped and complex.
Now the term "auto-responder" is short for "sequential automatic email response mailer." It sends out emails in a sequence automatically in response to someone mailing it. The incoming mail to it is usually by a form-based script running on your own web page.
The reason people talk so much about having and growing your email lists is that people still prefer email over the Internet. More people use email than use the Internet. Yes, it's true.
So marketers hit on this way to get people to use search engines to find your site and then give away (or otherwise entice) you to exchange your email address for something valuable.
People find your site, opt-in to your email series, and then get some emails from you on a regular or irregular basis which continue to be valuable (or not) and thanks to our incredible "friends" in Washington with their CAN-SPAM act (which doesn't, of course), we now have to double-opt-in and have a little link where anyone can and must be opt-ed out on their choice.
Penalties for violating this can get you immediately kicked off your server with no recourse.
Needless to say, I suggest getting a service to do this - which has their own polished scripts to handle compliance. Too much at risk otherwise.
Now, while all auto-responder services have their own affiliate programs, I am only recommending one to you today: SimplyCast.
Reason being is that it is both a free service to start with and as you grow your business you can then expand into their paid service. Plus, it gives a healthy first payment for affiliate sales (70%) and also continuing payments (30%).
Yes, that's a nice one.
Unfortunately, their marketing seems over-thought. Difficult to simply find text links. Here's a link to their free and nifty little handbook.
This link is supposed to help you sign up as an affiliate. However, it doesn't work for me. (I've got a request into their support, so I'll leave it here for now until I can come back and fix it.)
But the simple link so you can sign up does.
Now, today is a day of downloads. Fortunately, there are a handful of "special reports" which cover auto-responders and building email lists. I have compiled these into a single PDF for you.
And they will simply tell you more than you need to know about autoresponders.
With that, I'll let you go for today.