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August 2008

Automated 'snail-mail'

Email marketing, when done ethical and effectively, is a great way to turn qualified leads into prospects into clients. It gives you the ultimate chance to build up trust with your leads and prospects who will - if you do your job correctly - start to recognise your as the 'expert', as the only business that can solve their problems.

A mistake made by many businesses is dropping the conversation once the prospect turns into a client. The only message then received by your valued client are invoices. Strange not? You've put so much effort into converting your prospect into a paying client, written interesting messages to him/her, promised high quality products and/or services, answered all the questions they might have had and took away any remaining doubt. And then, when they hand over their first cheque most businesses just simply ignore them further.
Or if the client is lucky he will receive a monthly general newsletter or leaflet with offers (still better than nothing at all).

It is proven that regular contact between your business and existing clients improves the relationship, extends the time they are your clients and hence extends/improves their life-time value to your business. Email is easy and can be very cost-effective but don't forget the normal, sometimes disrespectful named 'snail-mail'. Receiving a real letter through the letter-box is in the eyes of most of your clients regarded as a great, personalised way to hear from you.

You've got Mail!

And regular contact with your highly valued clients can, like email marketing, be automated very simple. As with automated email marketing your dedicated existing client messages can be a logical sequence of interesting and worthwhile additions (the follow-up messages through AWeber come to mind, where with every message you tell and explain more to your prospect).

Every time we - supply and installation of wooden flooring - finish a particular job the end-date of that job is noted in our CRM-system (customer relationship management, part of our accounting package Mamut Enterprice3). This system allows you to design/create 'templates' you can mail-merge with address details of a selected group of clients. Again, like with AWeber, you create the content once but the CRM-system merges it time after time into a interesting, worthwhile and personalised message from you to your client.
We inform our clients regularly this way: 4 weeks after the wood floor is delivered to remind them of the maintenance care they should give their new floor-covering, 6 months later again etc. Automated, all we have to do is select the group of clients (sometimes just one client) to receive the next message in the predetermined sequence.
We do sell an awful lot of maintenance products and even maintenance services this way: simple add-ons so easily forgotten by many other businesses.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


AWeber trouble shooting - check your leads

If you use AWeber you must be familiar with the Tab: Leads - sub tab Search
(If you are a business -small, medium or large - and are not using AWeber autoresponse email marketing software (aff) yet, you're missing out on the most effective Permission Marketing Tool!)

In this Tab you will find all details of your subscribers: from name, email address (but of course) to the date and place (webpage/blogpost) they became your qualified and targeted prospect. It also shows the important subscription status: verified or unverified.

When a prospect submits his/her details in the webform you placed on your webpage/blogpost the AWeber autoresponder process is triggered and should normally start with sending your new prospect the "Request Confirmation" email. Until your prospect actually clicks on the confirmation link in this email his/her status will stay unverified and none of the automated marketing messages you've written in the AWeber system will find its way to your prospect's inbox.

So, getting your prospect to click that all important link is essential and there are very simple and practical ways to make sure he/she knows this particular and important email is on its way to their inbox (Presentation 1 of the Ultimate Practical AWeber Guide - UPAG for short - will focus heavily on this subject).

In the 'thank you page' your new prospect lands on after having submitted his/her details always insert an email address where your prospect can contact you on in the event his spam-filter has blown your Request Confirmation email into cyberspace. Re-submitting his/her email again on the webform will bring him/her onto the default "An Error Occurred - already-subscribed" webpage which tells your prospect he/she has to wait 12 hours before the original email address is accepted again as 'new subscriber'. Not much help, is it?

Having a contact email address on the 'Thank you page' will give your prospect a better chance. When his/her 'cry for help' arrives you can ask for an alternative email address, advice them to make sure their smap-filter accepts emails from @aweber.com (some spam-filters are so strong they do react on the original sender instead on the From/Reply email address you inserted in your list settings) and when you receive their alternative email address you manually import this into the requested list.
(Tab: Leads - sub tab Add)
A new Request Confirmation email will now be send out to your prospect's alternative email address.

This tactic is especially important when you combine AWeber with Paypal 'buy-button'. Your notification address in the buy-button will be set to your unique AWeber autoresponder address. Meaning, as soon as your client has bought your product the AWeber sends out the all important Request Confirmation email. And as soon as he/she clicks the confirm link two things happen: the 'product' is delivered to your client and you receive a notification - not from Paypal, but from the AWeber system. (Much more on this in Presentation 3 of the UPAG.)
Now, suppose this email gets lost in cyberspace: your client has paid, but no product arrives! And you will not receive the notification from the AWeber system that you have a new client (albeit a waiting in vain client). And on his/her payment notification email from the Paypal system only the autoresponder email address (@aweber.com) is mentioned.

To prevent being accused of a 'cowboy', a fraudster etc make it a habit of checking your leads in AWeber regularly. Any unverified leads in one of your lists that is linked to Paypal should be checked in Paypal first - is the payment actually received. If so, send your new client a reminder to check his email account he used for the payment for your Request Confirmation email. Then you can ask him/her for an alternative email and add that manually in the AWeber system. Preempting complaints is a good practice - even with automated systems.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

 


Using a blog platform to create a webiste

Since Typepad - Six Apart (aff)  introduced pages as new feature to their blog platform I used it frequently to create/design a normal, what I like to call static, website. It is quite simple really to do this, just a matter of changing some of the preferences on the 'weblog'.

My latest project (web design for a fellow trade person) is an example of it too - and still a work in progress, specially on the copy-writing part.
As part of 'the deal' I'm writing a manual on how to add and edit pages in the Typepad program - which made me think of a next project here on 1 plus 1 makes 3: creating a whole manual on:
"How to use Typepad (blog platform) to grow your business"

And one of the lessons I've just finished - hurray for ScreenSteps: lesson written and exported as PDF-file within 25 minutes - "How to turn Typepad into a static website".

I'm now gifting this first lesson/guide to every reader who subscribes to the blog-alerts (= receive email notifications when a new post is published) of the 1 plus 1 makes 3 blog (see top right corner for the webform).

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)