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How To Format Your Autoresponder Messages

Aug 17, 2007
You want to earn money online. Then it is important to show people that you handle your business as a professional. Well formatted autoresponder messages are an absolute must if you want people to feel confident with your business.

If you use the internet regularly, you have received at least a few e-mails that look "out of shape".

This is either the result of multiple forwarding, or poor formatting on the part of the sender. Not many people would try to interpret this kind of mess if it was sent to them by a stranger, even if the information was requested. How can you avoid giving your autoresponder messages that choppy, I-can-not-use-a-computer feel?

First, you should understand why this occurs. Every e-mail program is different, allowing different line lengths for their viewing windows. If your e-mail program allows 75 characters per line, it may look fine on your screen. But when you send it to someone whose program allows only 70 characters per line, those last five characters get moved to the next line and break up your message.
Another potential problem is the font you choose. Fonts like Courier New are fixed-width: every character takes up the same amount of space. But fonts like Times New Roman (the default font for most word processing programs) and Arial have varying width according to the character: an "i" takes up less space than a "w" and so forth. This variance in space creates the same broken effect as the line length problem.

Keep your messages in a fixed-width font (10-point size is best in nearly every case) and make sure each line is 60 to 65 characters long. When you reach the limit, use a hard return to start the next line rather than allowing your word processing program to wrap the text. If you are using Microsoft Word to compose your messages, there is a counter at the bottom of the window that tells you what line and character number you are on as you type (this reads Ln ## Col ##) which you can use to ensure you are staying at 65 or less. You can also create a guide at the top of the page you are working on (you will delete the guide after you finish your message) that will allow you to determine your line length at a glance.

Another way to avoid sending garbled messages is to save them in a universal format. Many people mistakenly believe ASCII works on all computers, but this is not the case. You should save (and copy and paste) your messages in either Plain Text (this is almost always in Courier New font) or Rich Text format (the format every word processing program can open, which allows you to preserve color, bold and italic text). You will find these file formats listed in the Save As dropdown box on your Save window.
About the Author
Kurt Naulaerts and Joey Smith built their knowledge of online marketing by studying at home at The Online University. Almost 1.000 video tutorials cover every corner of internet marketing.
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