Potential clients must become aware of their own needs or desires, then educate themselves before committing to a purchase. That takes time, as well as information.
Yet many businesses miss the opportunity to communicate with their potential clients (and existing clients) on a ongoing basis, apparently hoping that they will be favorably remembered. Often, nothing happens. Out of sight, out of mind.
With so many forces at work, what's a business owner to do?
For a start, contact and educate your clients regularly — over weeks, months, years — to overcome skepticism, instill confidence, provide the right information, separate truth from hype, demonstrate value, and bolster fading memories.
As a business owner, what's the best way to reach this prized level of awareness? Simply this:
What? Is it that simple? Yes, it's that simple. Just think back on your own experience. How many businesses that you've dealt with bothered to make that effort? Very, very few. Make your business the one that does — use a broadcast email and autoresponder service to meet your visitor's deep need for information. For roughly $30 a month, you can send unlimited communications to 2,500 subscribers. That's an incredible deal.
As the name suggests, an autoresponder is a computer program that responds via email, delivering a personalized message in seconds, automatically. When "triggered" by a special incoming email address or fill-in-the-blanks web form, it will send one or many follow-up messages to your prospective client, without any additional effort on your part.
The best autoresponder services . . .
Campaign Monitor (contact us if you want to try Campaign Monitor under our master account)
Use your autoresponder for newsletters, reminders, buying guides, special offers, coupons, white papers, and multi-part educational sessions.
Customers always request and then confirm they want to be on your autoresponder list, so there should never be any problem with the perception of spam — and they can opt-out at any time.
Rather than guessing, follow best practices and let your readers choose how often they want to hear from you. It will normally be every 2-4 weeks, but it could be shorter or longer, from daily to quarterly.
In addition to programmed messages, your autoresponder will also broadcast non-scheduled mailings for special events, announcements, news, etc.
Autoresponders perform three major tasks:
But what if you don't have much of a mailing list, or even a web site set up for marketing. . . how do you start the ball rolling? Use other marketing tools to prime the pump: integrate your autoresponder address into your radio and TV spots, postcards, print media ads, mailed newsletters, hand-outs, social networking sites, online forums, etc. This gives you an opportunity to:
Let's look at the humble postcard, one of the least costly and most effective tools. Instead of just printing your normal business email address on the postcard, include your autoresponder address on the postcard. Something like this . . .
A simple address like this one encourages circulation. It's easily mailed from person to person.
Offer some type of information or benefit that's truly helpful and relevant to your client as an enticement for them to sign-up.
Notice that all of these rewards or inducements are high-value information products that cost almost nothing to distribute.
Since you can create as many autoresponder addresses as you want, there's an opportunity to code the addresses to track how well your media is performing . . .
email@example.com (tv ad)
firstname.lastname@example.org (print ad)
The autoresponder messages are identical, but because you're using a unique address, you'll know exactly which media, design, headline, or message works best (the autoresponder software will tell you).
In any case, the postcard recipient simply sends a blank email to the autoresponder address and the process begins (they can also sign-up on your site). It's a great way to deliver multi-part messages over time. By the way, if you go the multi-part message route, provide a way for impatient readers to download the whole series at once.
If it makes sense, make an offer and include a buy button in the message, taking the reader straight to your shopping cart.
That's right, while your toes are exploring the warm sand of a tropical beach, your trusty autoresponder will continue to educate your clients and make sales around the clock.