Quick Tip:
Auto Responders – a Powerful Tool

Having your own domain name (www.yourbusiness.com) as a freelancer is not an absolute necessity, but it does have some advantages.

For one thing, having a domain name adds to your credibility and gives you access to several business-friendly features … including the "auto-responder."

You're at the receiving end of an auto responder whenever you send an email and get a quick response with a subject line like "Out of Office Reply." The message is usually short, providing just enough information to explain why the person isn't answering your email.

An auto-responder can be used for other purposes, too. It's a great way, for example, to let your business contacts know that you got their email and will get back to them in a short (specified) amount of time.

Auto-responders are easy to set up with your Web-hosting service. The "how" of doing it varies from service to service, so you'll need to check your service's "Help" files.

A word of warning: As powerful as auto-responders can be, they can be misused. As an AWAI-trained copywriter, you know how important it is to make your business communications sound personal. Your auto-responder message is no exception. But you have to be honest about it.

I received an auto-response recently that tried to pretend it was written just to me. It referred to a teleconference I'd "attended" … but I hadn't. It was a dead giveaway. I stopped reading.

Of course, most people receiving your auto-response will be able to tell that the message was automatically generated, no matter how hard you try to make it sound otherwise. So don't try to fool them into thinking it's a personal message. Get your message across with a personal tone. Then follow up as soon as possible with a real personal response.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: May 14, 2007

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