There are no two ways about it. E-mail is still the primary way business owners are communicating with their
customers and subscribers. E-mail is used to answer questions follow up with potential customers confirm purchases provide information of interest and maintain relationships. It’s a vital source of income for any successful Internet business.
Now I?m sure you already understand this, but let me ask you a serious question: Are you managing your e-mail as efficiently as you could be?
Only 38% of online businesses are reported to be living up to customer’s expectations, responding to their inquiries within 6 hours or less:
- 62% are taking longer than 6 hours to respond
- 33% are taking 3 days (or longer!) to respond
- And a shocking 24% of businesses have thrown up their hands and given up responding to customer inquiries entirely!
And all of these disturbing statistics point to the simple fact that, despite all of the technology available, nearly three quarters of web site owners have no idea how to manage their e-mail. After all, why else would you so severely neglect the critical and extremely valuable relationship with your customers and subscribers?
I’ve seen it happen to some really intelligent business owners. You start out with the best of intentions. You grow your web site traffic you run a few successful promotions and suddenly you go from personally answering a handful of e-mails each day to drowning under hundreds of customer inquiries, questions, and requests
Managing your e-mail suddenly becomes a full-time job!
If you plan to grow your business, you can’t afford to be spending your days chained to your computer, replying to e-mail after e-mail individually. Especially if you want to grow quickly! Even if you’re using canned messages (i.e. per-written e-mails that can just be cut & paste), looking after your e-mail one by one can fast become overwhelming.
And this is where a lot of new e-business owners find themselves stuck. You may be there yourself right
now. You’re tired of wasting your days replying to the same e-mails over and over again but automation is even more intimidating. Replying to hundreds of e-mails each day probably seems a lot less daunting than finally buckling down and getting automated.
I know where you’re coming from The mysterious scripts and software that seem to magically automate the
average e-commerce web site can be a bit intimidating for a new e-business owner.
You know that, somehow, automation should give you the power to
- Anticipate and instantly respond to the needs of your customers by answering common questions on the spot.
- Give potential customers the exact information they need, exactly when they need it when they’re still a hot prospect so they can make that important buying decision.
- Capture the e-mail addresses of visitors to your web site so that you can market to them again and again for free!
- Increase the perceived value of your web site by offering free reports or articles that can be e-mailed to prospects the minute they request them!
- Dramatically reduce the time you waste on daily chores so you can start growing your business instead of getting trapped running it!
- Start capitalizing on the lifetime value of your existing customers automatically increasing your sales without increasing your workload!
and much more.
You see other e-businesses doing it all around you taking advantage of this mysterious “automation,” freeing up their time to increase their profits even more. But how the heck is everyone doing it? Is it “I Dream of Jeannie” wizardry? Cross your arms, wiggle your nose, and voila instant automation?
Almost Like anything, you can make the automation of your web site as simple or as complicated as you want. Large e-commerce sites hire programmers with education and experience to put together intuitive automation systems that make learning to translate Greek to Latin seem easy. Fortunately, the average web site owner just starting out doesn’t need anything nearly this complicated (or confusing!).
Did you know that all of the automation I’ve mentioned so far in this article can be accomplished with one
simple tool called “autoresponders”?
Automate Your Customer Service And Dramatically Increase The Sales You Close With This One Simple
Now don’t panic!
Autoresponders are not difficult to use So take a deep breath and let’s get past any techno-phobia that might be preventing you from making your life a lot easier and your business a lot more profitable!
An autoresponder is basically an e-mail tool that is designed to automatically respond to any incoming messages to a particular e-mail address that you set up. Confused? Then let me give you an example that will clearly illustrate exactly how this works
A visitor arrives at your web site and reads your sales copy. They are interested in your product, but they have a question that needs to be answered before they will consider making a purchase. So they e-mail you at firstname.lastname@example.org (an e-mail address you’ve set up for just this purpose).
Your experience answering customer questions has shown you that there are 10 or 12 questions people ask over and over again. So rather than answering each person individually, you put together a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) e-mail. You spend an hour or so writing it, making sure that its thorough and that it ultimately directs the reader back to your web site to close the sale.
You then set up this FAQ e-mail in an autoresponder, so when the visitor e-mails their question to email@example.com, they are automatically sent your FAQ e-mail. It?s neat, clean, and simple.
The e-mail your visitor receives might read something like this:
|Subject: Answer to your question;
Thank you for your inquiry. Our experience has shown us that most people ask one of the following ten questions, so we have sent you this informative e-mail because we know that your time is valuable and we want to make sure that your question is answered as quickly as possible.
If you find that your question is not answered below, then please do not hesitate to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org We will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.
Your name here.
*** And answers to your 10
Within 5 minutes of sending their e-mail to email@example.com, the visitor receives your e-mail via your autoresponder. They read through your FAQ e-mail and find the answer to their question.
The visitor is impressed because?
- You anticipated their needs
- You replied instantly
- You answered their questions
- You made it easy for them to e-mail you any further questions
and this means that you look extremely professional. This instant reply also lends your business a measure of credibility because you have made it clear that your customers are your first priority and that you take your business very seriously.
Do you think this visitor will go back to your web site to make their purchase? Chances are very good that they
will. In fact, the probability that you will close this sale is much higher than if you had forced this person to wait a week for a reply. Or had not answered at all.
How much time did this take you? None. You wrote the e-mail and then used the autoresponder to automate your customer service. You now provide fast, high-quality customer service, decrease your workload, and only respond to customers who have unique questions or situations that need your personal touch. It’ll take
you just minutes each day to respond to customer inquiries instead of the hours it did before you got automated!
Let me give you another example
If you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, then you already know that a critical step in closing sales involves establishing your credibility. And establishing your credibility, in many cases, requires repeated contact with potential customers.
A good way to initiate a “second contact” with a potential customer is by using autoresponders.
A visitor arrives at your web site and starts looking around. They notice that you offer a free article titled “The Best Ways To Save Time And Money.” They click on firstname.lastname@example.org and are prompted to send a blank e-mail to this e-mail address.
The visitor is quite content to take 30 seconds to do this because they want this valuable information.
So they send a blank e-mail to email@example.com to request the article from your autoresponder. they
spend a few more minutes looking around your web site,and then they leave. They have a clear interest in your product or service (they requested your article on the subject, right?), but they are just not ready to buy yet.
Now this is the really powerful part. The visitor checks their e-mail half an hour after they have left your web site perhaps even the next day and discovers your free article waiting in their Inbox. They read it because they requested it and therefore already know it contains information that is of interest to them.
So this is your second chance to:
- Prove your expertise,
- Establish your credibility,
- Develop a relationship with them by providing valuable information they can use, and
- Direct them back to your web site to close the sale!
Pretty powerful, right?
Now imagine how you could increase your sales even more by sending this potential customer a follow-up e-mail using the e-mail address they gave you when they requested the article and asking them if there is anything else you could help them with? Or even by sending them a special offer as a “thank you” for reading
The possibilities are endless really. You could offer autoresponders like
- firstname.lastname@example.org for people who would prefer to receive your sales information in an easy-to-print e-mail they can read offline. (Not everyone has free Internet access, so this saves them money!)
- email@example.com to send interested potential customers copies of articles that initiate that important “second contact” and remind them about your business, your products, and your web site. Once you have their e-mail address (which they obviously have to give you in order to receive the article via e-mail), you can contact them again to follow up very easily!
- firstname.lastname@example.org to answer potential customer?s questions on the spot, while they’re still a hot prospect, and dramatically increase the sales you are closing.
- email@example.com for customers who have purchased your product, service, software, etc but need a bit of extra help using it. This simple e-mail could answer commonly asked technical questions automatically!
- firstname.lastname@example.org to give visitors to your site valuable information about your particular industry and increase the chances that they’ll return to your web site again and again as valuable resource.
- email@example.com if you do not have time to reply to a customers inquiry for a day or two, you can at least send them an e-mail via autoresponder to let them know you have received their message and will be getting back to them in 48 hours. An instant, professional reply like this ensures your customer is not sitting at their computer for hours, impatiently waiting for your answer.
You could even set up an autoresponder like firstname.lastname@example.org that confirms you’ve received a customer’s order or subscription to your newsletter automatically!
By sending each new customer a confirmation of their order, you will put their minds at ease. They will know that you are a legitimate business who is going to follow through on your promises, not some scam artist who has just stolen their credit card information. This is also a good way to remind your customers when they can expect their purchase to be delivered, what the charge to their credit card was, and any product tracking information they might need.
Just think about how much time this will save you!
Are you excited?
We?re back at square one, aren’t we? You want the autoresponders and the powerful automation they can bring your e-business you have a general understanding of how they work but how the heck do you add them to your web site?
Good question. You have 4 choices:
- Your Web Host: If you are willing to commit to a long-term contract (i.e. one year or more), you can sometimes get a couple of autoresponders for free from your web host. If you only need 1 or 2 autoresponders, this might be a good option; however, the reality is, if you?re running a successful business, you’re going to need more. Plus, you don’t really want to depend on your web host for this service. If they go out of business or go down, you can lose your entire autoresponder system.
- Autoresponders With Rotating Ads: You can get “free” autoresponders if you are willing to let other companies advertise in your message. However, I don’t really recommend this. You can’t control the ads that appear in your e-mails, these ads can really distract your reader from your sales message, and you appear “unprofessional” because it’s obvious you’re using a “free” service. So you’re basically giving someone else free advertising, with few benefits to you. Free isn’t always as good as it might sound.
- Paid Autoresponder Services: You could also use a paid autoresponder service. This can give you flexibility in deciding exactly what autoresponder plan is right for you without being forced to include advertisements in your message. You will also have greater flexibility to customize your autoresponders than if you were to use a free autoresponder service.The only real drawback is that they can get quite costly. Paid autoresponder services can cost as much as $20 per month per autoresponder, while others will charge you a fee each time someone requests your information. If you decide to go this route, be sure that you really shop around because the cost can get out of control very quickly if you are not careful.
- Free Unlimited Autoresponders with Mailloop: You already know that the Mailloop software is absolutely chock-full of killer features that make tedious e-mail tasks a breeze. But on top of it’s e-mail and newsletter automation features, it can also be used to send out an unlimited number of autoresponders directly from your home computer. If you can install software, you can use these autoresponders. It’s that easy. You’re 100% in control and they’re totally customizable.I won’t overdo it here; I know that you’ve already heard a lot about this software. Just know that it can save you tons of cash and stress in the long run, and you don’t have to be concerned about limiting your autoresponders because of a tight budget!
Ideally, your goal should be to get automated and then grow, but some of you may already be drowning in e-mail. If that’s you, do not keep putting this off! E-mail automation is going to be critical to the success of your e-business.
If you are automated and using autoresponders to manage daily chores, then you are going to have time to focus on promotions and growing. If you are drowning in e-mail, you are going to severely handicap your sales and income because you will be too focused on trying to just stay afloat.
Autoresponders are easy to set up and they offer a wide variety of opportunities to automate different aspects of your business. From customer service… to order confirmations… to following up with potential customers… its an easy way to give customers the instant service they are demanding, while increasing your sales and actually freeing yourself from tedious routine chores.
Its not a technique to be taken lightly…