There is an old saw in marketing that very few sales are made on the first contact. Research has shown that it takes an average of five to eight contacts with a prospect before a sale is consummated. Smart marketers know this and that is the basis of the online proliferation of auto responders. Automatically, without the need for monitoring or adjusting, such a system will issue follow up messages posted to it, on a schedule that the sender determines. Too frequently, such follow-ups are misused. The intent is to send out a series of letters highlighting different aspects of a product and the problems or needs that can be met by my acquiring it.
Yet I constantly receive a string of messages urging me to buy something, all containing the same information but increasingly strident in quoting deadlines. Do you think that repeating yourself is going to pique my interest or merely wear down my resistance? I need follow up that answers my unasked questions and helps me make up my mind about whether I really want what you're offering and if your product will really meet my needs. And while you're at it, start to build a relationship by giving me new information, new articles, or new tips, not just a recurrent hard sell. Not to receive any follow up at all can be extremely frustrating.
How often have all of us navigated to some site we liked but then forget to bookmark it? When we want to return, we can't find it. As with all "forbidden fruit," the longer it takes us to find it again, the more convinced we become that we absolutely have to find it. We wait patiently for some follow up to our initial query but nothing comes. Eventually, we give up and some inadequate webmaster has lost a profitable customer forever. Often we are offered a free trial of a product, or a service, or a membership if we sign up to continue to receive the benefits at a monthly fee. "Cancel anytime during the first 30 days" we are assured and there will be no charges tacked on to the credit card information we had to provide before receiving our freebie.
Then the contact stops. Obviously the merchant doesn't want to remind us that we are being charged monthly and make it easy for us to cancel our order. Do you think that I don't notice charges on my account? You cleverly try to conceal what the charge is for. I must have fifteen charges a month to "A Marketing," "AA Marketing," "A-1 Marketing," and various similar presentations. If I am paying a fee for "Success Hoopla" or "Traffic Blogs" or whatever, why don't the charges clearly state that? Are you so afraid I'll cancel because I'm really not getting anything out of it? Deal with me honestly in regular, courteous follow ups that allow me to cancel services I no longer need with one small click.
Make it difficult, and I'll figure out how to do it anyway. It's just that the longer it takes, and the more difficult you make it, the more certain I am that I never want to deal with you again no matter how beguiling your next offer may be. While you're doing your follow up, please clean up your lists. I don't have much respect for you if every time you broadcast to your lists, I get 3 or 4 copies of exactly the same e-mail.
You may put out a disclaimer apologizing for if I received more than one communication due to being on separate lists but, hey, that's your problem, not mine. You just told me how you are making a veritable fortune working 2 to 3 hours a day on your computer. How about joining the rest of us working slobs and spending an extra hour of your no-more-valuable-than-mine time in cleaning up your lists and eliminating duplicates? I deserve that much respect for keeping you on that easy street you have discovered and exploited.
Dr. Bola, a psychologist, sometime marketer, and always enthusiastic consumer offers complimentary copies of her book "Seven Super Simple Tips: I Am Your Customer" from which this article is taken. Enjoy!