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Creating Top-of-Mind Awareness with Autoresponders

Communicating with your clients on a regular basis is critical. Your goal is to reach top-of-mind awareness — when a potential client thinks about a product or service, they should think about YOUR business.

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.

Why do potential clients disappear?

  • Can you blame them for being a little skeptical? They don't know who to trust.
  • They're cautious, not wanting to make a commitment until all the facts are known.
  • They're busy. Decisions get delayed until an obvious solution is at hand.
  • They're confused. Too many choices or too little actionable information creates a "paradox of choice", and decision paralysis.
  • They're burned out from the 24/7 assault of advertising and hype.
  • They're value oriented. They want to make sure they're getting the most for their hard-earned money.
  • They're forgetful. "What was the name of that dentist?"

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:

At the very beginning of the process, when your prospective client is just becoming aware of their needs and desires, you should be providing information, helping to guide their future actions.

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.

What's an Autoresponder?

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 . . .

aweber

Aweber

campaignmonitor

Campaign Monitor (contact us if you want to try Campaign Monitor under our master account)

getresponse

Get Response

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:

  • Send out a series of messages automatically
  • Automatically confirm that a inbound message has been received
  • Broadcast to your list

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:

  • Build your list
  • Track the effectiveness of your campaign

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 . . .

freeguide@domain.com

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.

  • If you're an architect, offer a guide to business owners on how to build their own office building.
  • If your run a home improvement store, offer a how-to course on saving energy around the house.
  • If you make guitars, talk about what goes into a great guitar and show how yours achieve their smile-inducing tonality.
  • If you own a health spa, review the benefits of all the services you offer, and how they will make your clients feel great.
  • If you're a dentist, don't send me a lame birthday card, tell me how to keep my teeth and gums healthy.
  • If you're a auto repair shop, how about a coupon for a discounted oil change and some advice on how to maintain my car?

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 . . .

freeguide1@autoresponder.com (postcard)
freeguide2@autoresponder.com (tv ad)
freeguide3@autoresponder.com (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.

Key Benefits of Autoresponders

  • The name and e-mail address of each subscriber is automatically added to a database, saving you endless hours of data entry while building a valuable asset.
  • Personalized follow-up messages are automatically sent to each of your subscribers at regular, predetermined intervals, building trust and rapport between you and your subscribers.
  • You spend more time with your family and away from your business, since the autoresponder is doing work that you would have to either do yourself or delegate to staff.
  • The autoresponder converts subscribers into clients without intervention from you!
  • If you try to send large quantities of mail from your own server, you're likely to run into delivery problems. Commercial autoresponder services maximize delivery rates (usually 99%+) and comply with regulatory guidelines.

 

 

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