An autoresponder sends an email message in response to someone sending you an email (an “auto response”). You may have seen these when someone is out of the office or gone on vacation. You send someone an email and you get an immediate response saying the person is out of the office and maybe some instructions on what to do next. Most web hosts offer you a small number of autoresponder emails, but that is not very helpful if you want to send your customers an email course because they don’t keep a list of people who’ve gotten the emails.
You can also use an autoresponder when someone signs up for your newsletter. The autoresponder will automatically deliver your free download. You can also use it to invite them to make a purchase. With an autoresponder, you set it up once and forget about it.
For an email course you will need a what is called a Sequential Autoresponder – a timed series of email messages. Because there’s no limit to the amount of emails you can put into a sequential autoresponder, this is best when you want to send a series of emails where person A signs up today and immediately gets email #1, then he gets email #2 so many days later, and so on. Person B signs up next week and he also gets email #1 immediately with email #2 coming on the same schedule.
An autoresponder is different from an newsletter. With an newsletter, person A signs up today and gets this month’s issue. Person B signs up next week and he doesn’t get anything until the next issue is sent – like a magazine subscription. Person A and person B get the same issue at the same time. A newsletter would be called a Broadcast because it is not sent automatically after a trigger. You have to schedule it to be sent. There is no automated feature.
I hope that helps you to better understand your options to emailing your list. Read more about how to set up your list here.