Email Marketing Information

Autoresponders - Simple Tweaks That will Improve Your Return Rate

Autoresponders are, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most powerful and important tools available to anyone marketing on the internet today. They allow you to automatically send out a sequential series of email messages to prospects who have signed up to receive your information and who you therefore know are interested in what you're offering.

They make it easy to build a relationship and establish interest and trust with your prospective customer or recruit and they minimise the amount time you need to devote to busy work. By the time your prospect has got through your series of messages, if they feel the need to make further contact with you prior to making a decision, you are at least assured that they are sufficiently interested to merit your manual input and the time taken to communicate.

It depends very much on the type of product, service or opportunity that you're marketing but it is generally accepted that somewhere between 5 and 9 "contacts", or messages, are required before a customer is comfortable enough to make a decision. Seven is often quoted as the ideal number but it does vary and this should not be taken as gospel.

I am constantly surprised by the number of marketers, some of them very experienced, who load up their autoresponders with 7 messages, capture the email addresses of interested parties, send them their message series and leave it at that. If that's what you're doing then there are a couple of very simple tweaks you can make to improve your return on the time and money you spend to collect those valuable email addresses.

The first is simplicity itself and requires very little effort on your part - no need to even change your message series. Let's assume that your message series consists of the standard 7 and that this suits the type of product your promoting perfectly well (it probably does). You send out these messages spaced one day apart over the course of a week, messages 1 to 5 are probably largely informative and messages 6 and 7 may well contain a "call to action", possibly with a sense of urgency being introduced - although you may have introduced a call to action earlier in the series depending upon the product type.

Your prospects go through this series of messages and a percentage of them will take your advice and sign up for whatever your promoting. The majority of them won't - that's just statistics I'm afraid.

However, you can increase your sign up rate by something as simple as introducing an eighth and ninth message. Send message 8 a week after they receive the last in the main series of messages and send message 9 about 3 weeks after message 8. Just give them a gentle reminder about your offer and see if they're still interested. Keep the wording generic and don't repeat a hard sell - your original message series should have done all the selling - this is just a reminder.

This is a very simple technique and if it seems obvious to you - congratulations, you clearly know your stuff. Nevertheless, you'd be amazed at how many marketers omit this easy memory jogger. Speaking from personal experience, I get about 20% of my signups this way, either after message 8 or 9. Some prospects were waiting for pay day, some were going to do it after they came back from holiday, some just plain forgot. Whatever reason they may have had for not signing up at the first or second call to action, this technique boosts my return by 20%.

The second simple tweak takes advantage of the ability of most modern autoresponders to send out a "broadcast" to those prospects on your mailing list. This can be considered as a supplementary message and you can use it to either update your prospects on your original offer or introduce them to a new, but related product or opportunity.

This needs to be used with a little more care. I send out an update at least once every 6 months and preferably once every 3 months (it depends upon the nature of the individual list). I make sure these broadcasts only go to people who have been on the list for at least 3 months. My earlier emails will have already highlighted the fact that they would be provided with important updates in future.

There are plenty reasons for you to communicate. If you are promoting a product you can advise of any feature upgrades or special price promotions. If you are promoting an opportunity then you can update them on any new features which might make them think again. One technique which works very well with opportunity seekers is to update them once about any new benefits they should know of and then, if they still don't sign up, follow up 3 months later with details of a slightly different opportunity.

Both of these techniques work and will produce a welcome boost to your signup rate. Certainly you can expect to get a few unsubscribes, but if they're genuinely not interested that's no great loss. There's no point in making the effort of building your list and then not communicating with them - both you and your prospects stand to gain from a little extra communication.

Hamish Hayward
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