What’s the difference between autoresponders and marketing automation?

Autoresponders are messages set to go out automatically in a sequence, one after the other, at regular intervals. They react to contacts subscribing, or being added to your list by import or manually. You can also add contacts to autoresponder cycles by copying or moving them in Automation. They don’t have any other triggers or settings.

Marketing automation is a suite of tools used to automate your entire promotional process. Automation allows you to do everything autoresponders do, plus it helps you to track and make decisions based on the goal of your workflow. With it, you can send automated messages that react to:

When is it better to use autoresponders instead of marketing automation?

Autoresponders are a good tool when you want to send out a continuous series of messages. For example, you have an online course and you send out a different lesson each week to everyone who subscribes.

If you want a more complex sending process that allows you to react to your contacts’ actions, then the Automation feature is the better choice. For example, say you sent out a newsletter with a discount link. You can use Automation to send a different message to those who clicked the link, and a different message to those who didn’t. It’s also helpful when you want to automatically segment your contacts based on their activity (like move them to a different list, delete them if they don’t open messages from you, etc.).

Please note that creating an automation workflow based on your autoresponder messages doesn’t switch the autoresponders off. Automation and autoresponders work independently from one another.

For more information on the difference between autoresponders and automation, please see our blog post.