I often suggest to clients that they use the power of business automation found in sequential autoresponders as an effective method of keeping in touch with their contacts. An autoresponder is an automated email response or series of responses that you have previously written and uploaded into an autoresponder service. The autoresponder enables you to reply to customers via email 24/7 without any intervention on your part past the setup stage. For example, you might send an automatic reply to a new newsletter subscriber, to someone who has requested a free giveaway on your site, or to a customer who has just purchased your newest information product.
Where do you find a sequential autoresponder service? Sometimes they're bundled with shopping cart software. Or, you can purchase a stand-alone service in which you can set up autoresponders and send out your email newsletter, as well. The two features that are essential to have in autoresponder software are personalization and tracking ability. For greatest effectiveness, you should be able to personalize your autoresponders both in the subject line as well as in the body of the email. Don't you open email more quickly when you see your name in the subject line or when the body of the email mentions your address or city of residence? This personalization feature permits you to send automated emails that appear to have been written especially for the person receiving the email.
I constantly receive both phone calls and email responses from prospects who are the recipients of these automated emails, which leaves me with no doubt about how important it is to personalize your responses. The second feature, tracking ability, enables you to see how many and which recipients opened your email, how many emails were not delivered, and the ability to see how many recipients clicked on any links found within the email. Once my client has agreed to use sequential autoresponders, the next question usually is, "But what do I say in them?" Fact is, what you tell your clients is limited only by your imagination. However, I generally recommend that online business owners plan a sequence of 7-9 emails that go out over a series of 3 weeks. In this sequence, you need to check in with how the prospect/customer is doing with the call to action that got the prospect on your list, point out other pieces of free information on your website that would be useful to the prospect, recommend their own or affiliate products that would be of interest, and request another call to action of your prospect.
Here's my outline of followup autoresponders that I send out when someone has requested a report from one of my sites: Immediate send: Confirmation of and thank them for their request and remind them how to download the toolkit. 2 Days Later: Ask them what they think about the toolkit, point out some of the info that they might check out immediately, and request a testimonial. 5 Days Later: Offer another gift. I give them the URL of my articles directory and info about how they can syndicate my articles on their website at no charge and the benefits of doing so. 7 Days Later: Ask them to complete a survey. I created a short 30-second survey through SurveyMonkey.
com that I ask them to complete. This helps me better understand what problems my target market has. 9 Days Later: Recommend a product. I change this offering occasionally and either recommend my one of my products or a product for which I'm an affiliate.
16 Days Later: Offer another gift. I tell them about my podcast and blog and why they should subscribe and how to do so. 19 Days Later: Ask me a question. I give them the opportunity to personally ask me a question about online marketing and let them know that I'll respond to it in my blog. 23 Days Later: Make a special offer. I introduce them to my coaching services and offer them a special rate to try out my coaching.
Other offers you could make in your followup autoresponders include inviting them to a discussion forum or a free teleclass, have them subscribe to your ezine, or send them to download or view a free audio recording or video. Creating an effective series of autoresponders helps you begin to develop a relationship with prospective customers, showcase your expertise, and ultimately convert prospects into customers. Copyright (c) 2007 Donna Gunter.
Online Business Resource Queen (TM) and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps self-employed service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To sign up for more FREE tips like these and claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at Get More Clients Online.