How to Structure Your Follow-Up Sequence for Maximum Profit
Before I do this, let me describe how autoresponders work. Think of autoresponders as the equivalent of fax-on-demand, but for email instead of fax. You simply set up a message and then whenever someone sends an email to your autoresponder email address they will immediately receive this as a response.
Autoresponders can also be triggered from a form on your web site, where the visitor will enter his email address (and his name too if requested) and receive the autoresponse straight away.
Many autoresponders on the market today are "sequential autoresponders", and save contact information in a database so it can send further messages to your prospects at intervals you specify (such as two days, five days and seven days later).
Here is an example of a message sent by a modern autoresponder:
Dear John Doe,
Thank you for requesting more information
on our products earlier.
I have attached to this email a document containing our
price listings for August's catalogue of products. Please
read through it in your own time John.
I will get back to you the same time on Wednesday with our
special offers. Feel free to send me an email or call me
on 000-000-0000 if you would to discuss your needs.
Here is a typical sequence for following up prospects who have requested more info:
1st Message Sent Immediately
2nd Message Sent 2 Days Later
3rd Message Sent 5 Days Later
4th Message Sent 8 Days Later
5th Message Sent 12 Days Later
6th Message Sent 16 Days Later
7th Message Sent 20 Days Later
When setting up your own follow-up sequence, remember that there are golden rules and that the only factors that affect your sequence is your product and your market.
Imagine you target Internet business owners. You may send your messages to these prospects within a shorter time frame than you would if you were targeting a more generalized market (who aren't so likely to check their email on a daily basis).
How about if you were selling a report on how to create response-generating mini-sites for $19.97? Would your follow-up sequence need to spend as much time selling your product as it would if you sold copywriting services to large web business developers, for example, who want to boost the response of their web sites.
Autoresponse: Thank Prospect for Requesting Information
The aim of this autoresponse is to thank your prospect for requesting information and introduce your web site or product to them. It is important in this message you outline the major benefits of your product and tell them what's in it for them.
Remember at all times, that your prospects wants to know what your product can do for them, so don't spend the majority of your message introducing your company, instead focus on what you and your product can do for them.
Follow-Up #1: Introduce a Deadline or Time-Limited Offer
After a day or two, your prospect can easily forget about you and your products. So your aim here is to not just remind them of your offer but also to make them feel, "Hmm, I better get this before it's too late".
This can be achieved by using a form of scarcity, such as offering a special discount for a limited time only. Perhaps there are only a 17 seats left at a seminar you are promoting, or maybe there are only 200 copies of your book printed. Again, within this message remind them what your product will do for them.
Follow-Up #2: Reinforce Benefits to Persuade Prospects
In most situations this message will be sent 3-5 days after the original request, so you want to elaborate on your previous offer by reinforcing the many benefits of your product. The entire email will stress the benefits they get from buying your product or doing business with you.
Benefits are what make your prospects desire your product. No-one ever purchases a product because of what it does (a feature), they do so for what it can do for them (a benefit). You can also incorporate benefits into bulleted lists.
Follow-Up #3: Pile On the Bonuses to Get Them Excited
Spend this message getting your prospects excited about what they'll get when they purchase from you. Even if this means they buy your product just for the bonuses, that shouldn't bother you.
You may also want to remind them that these bonuses can only be guaranteed for a certain number of days. Again, using scarcity in this way will make them want to act fast if they wish to get the bonuses.
Follow-Up #4: Build Value by Comparing Your Product
A common rule of thumb is that while your prospects will base their decisions on emotions, they will justify it with logic. What this means, is that even though they might like your product, they may not want to buy it purely on impulse.
An easy way to convince your prospect your product is great value is to compare apples to oranges. Let's say you were selling the report on how to create response-generating web sites. You can compare purchasing your report to paying an experienced (and rather costly) web designer to design one web site for you. By doing so, you immediately prove the value of your product.
Follow-Up #5: Boost Desire with Glowing Testimonials
It's a known fact that your prospects will trust you far more if you give examples of what other people have said about your company and product. Your prospects might think you could lie to them because it's your own product, but they won't think the other person is lying, because he or she has nothing to gain by doing so.
If you don't have any testimonials for your product, ask your customers! Be straight and tell your customers that you need some honest comments and reviews of your product. There's nothing more to it.
Also consider adding a link to the customer's web site or email address to add the final bond of trust that will secure your credibility and convince your prospects that you're "the real thing".
Follow-Up #6: Demand Action and Remind of Deadline
This final step of your sequence is what makes or breaks the sale. Since nobody likes to make a decision, especially when money is involved, you must help them by making it crystal clear what you're offering and how it'll benefit the prospect.
Once you've reminded them of what they'll miss out on if they don't take action, make it absolutely clear what to do next, even if it's just a "Click here to order over our secure server before its too late" line of copy.
Remember that even when the follow-up sequence is complete your prospects are still very valuable to you, whether they purchase your product or not, and should be contacted (using your autoresponder's "broadcast" feature) on a regular basis to let them know of web site updates, new products, etc.