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Kill Your Autoresponder


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8 replies to this topic

#1 DanThies

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Posted 26 July 2003 - 12:16 AM

An "autoresponder series" is a set of email messages delivered over a period of time, often used to deliver a follow-up sales message to website visitors who may have decided not to buy anything. You often see them advertised as a "free email course" etc. The 'conventional wisdom' of internet marketing is that they're essential to make the most out of your site's traffic. But is this really true?

Typically, some sort of freebie or information is offered to get visitors to subscribe to an autoresponder. What has proven far more successful for us, has been to provide access to the freebie (an e-book, or whatever) as an instant-follow up to requests, and then make *personal* contact via email to see if there are any questions I can answer, and maybe ask a couple questions of my own.

I implemented this strategy when I first started selling my "SEO Fast Start" e-book. Folks who emailed with questions or comments ended up buying my book about 75% of the time. Of the other 25%, at least a third were folks I had told *not* to buy the book because it wasn't the best thing for them to work on, they had an affiliate site, etc.

At a certain point, I had to stop doing this because there was just too much email for me to handle, but by then, it wasn't as important. Why? Because by that time, I *knew* every question they were going to ask, I knew every reason why people would or wouldn't buy the product, and I had addressed those on my website. A lot of this was not at all obvious, and even the stuff we knew about was easier to prioritize when we had direct feedback from 1000 or so real customers.

I'd also gathered a bunch of testimonials from satisfied customers who were already in personal contact with me before making a purchase. From an initial conversion rate of a little over 1%, I was able to reach well over 3% in a short time. An autoresponder might add a few tenths of a point, but only if I add a pop-up to the site... and I HATE pop-ups, so that's just not gonna happen.

When launching a new site, a new product, or a new offer, consider whether an autoresponder is really the best way to follow up. Personal follow-up will allow you to close more sales (generating dollars that can be used for advertising, development, pizza, etc.). I estimate that I made about $100 an hour answering inquiries from prospects, and I certainly could have hired someone to keep it going if I'd wanted to. The main benefit, though, is that you will learn what your customers really think, feel, and want.

Personal contact will shock your prospects, because it's so rare. More than one person bought my book after being told that it wouldn't help them, because they were so pleased to get an honest answer from an online marketer. Even if you can't afford to keep it up as you get busier, you have to wonder if you can afford not to do this in the beginning.

#2 meta

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 12:01 PM

Dan,

What good ideas.

In my work as a software sales engineer, I am often told by prospective customers that they will pursue doing business with us because the depth of technical conversations that we have are deeper than those offered by any competitor. It's tough to maintain that level of support for some of the basic products though, so we are always searching for ways to make prospects feel pampered while working with limited resources.

We have found that we can leverage web conferencing technology to reach many people with about the same effort that it would take to make the same presentation to just a few. I used to send out evaluation copies of software, then help the customer install them, then talk them through a run-through of the software (they had to run it themselves in those days). Then web conferencing came in and I could just set up a meeting and demonstrate - less advance preparation needed. Now we do scheduled demonstrations and many people from different organizations can attend at once. The session are recorded, anyone can listen to a recording at any time, so that gives us more value from the investment.

Perhaps others could share ways to create a sense of personal or deep service at reasonable cost?

Meta

#3 Scottie

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 12:07 PM

Welcome Meta! :)

Good to see you here- :)

#4 meta

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 12:28 PM

By the way, I can also say I use an approach like the one that Dan is suggesting and it has been very successful for us.

We provide instant access to software demos, white papers, even registration for some of our live online seminars, and then real people follow up, starting with e-mail. The real person is a sales rep, usually not very technical, but they have people like me [translation: know how to use the product] to help them. The sales people would be working anyway, this is a way to develop good leads for them.

Meta

#5 Jill

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 01:26 PM

Sounds like you're on the right track, Meta! And welcome to the forum. ;)

Jill

#6 DanThies

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 09:15 AM

That's a good approach, Meta. If you can afford to sell it "cold," you can certainly afford to have real people follow up on live leads.

#7 mcanerin

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 04:12 PM

I've had several people ask for my free ranking report who told me they were suprised (one person said "shocked") when they actually got an email from a human being and an analyst blurb that was obviously from someone who went to the site and didn't just push a button.

My conversion rate to paying customers is way higher than I expected from a web freebie. Personal contact counts!

#8 Jill

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 09:01 AM

Split off the livechat topic, as it deserves its own thread.

Can view it here: http://www.highranki...p?showtopic=166

Jill

#9 copywriter

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Posted 04 August 2003 - 04:46 PM

Great ideas!! Welcome, Meta :lol:

Yes, I always get comments on the speed of my replies to emails. The personal touch is a definate plus online.

People have gotten so used to being ignored that you really make an impression when you actually answer someone in a timely manner.

Keep up the good work! :lol:




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