We recently looked at how to build your lead bank. Now, we’re going to explore the next step: nurturing those leads and moving them down the sales funnel. That’s where autoresponders — or, more accurately, emails sent out through autoresponder software — come in.
Autoresponders (also known as drip or lead nurturing emails) can be a crucial part of any marketing strategy. They automatically do the work of staying in touch with a prospect and supplement your sales team’s follow-up efforts.
These emails are sent to subscribers automatically when triggered by certain events. For example, a welcome email for new subscribers sent immediately after they sign up or a membership renewal reminder sent annually, or a thank you note after they download your lead-generation offer.
The job of the autoresponder is to bring the potential client back to the sales message. It’s designed to deliver messages that build relationships on a timely basis, give the prospect the content she seeks or the material she opted in for, and nudge her back to the main sales message so she can give you another chance to convince her to buy your product/service/solution.
Remember, research shows it takes seven to ten communication encounters before somebody starts to get notice you. And every time you send them an email, they click it open and they start to develop a habit of doing so.
How to use an autoresponder series
Each autoresponder campaign is unique, and they should all be built for your specifications. But in general, there are two types:
- the emails you send to someone who has already bought from you.
- the emails you send to a prospect who downloaded your offer or signed up on your website.
Since we’ve been talking about prospects, that’s who we are going to focus on here.
So, let’s say your prospect has downloaded your white paper. You required them to enter their name and email address before they could access it, right? Great.
The first thing you will do is give them access to the paper through a portal that leads to another landing page…or you will send them an autoresponder that has a link to the special offer embedded in it — and reinforces your sales message one more time.
But you’re a savvy businessman (or businesswoman), so you know you don’t want to let them go at that. So, you craft (or have someone craft for you) a series of emails that will be sent out automatically at specific intervals.
How to craft an email people actually want to read
What should those emails sound like?
First of all, they shouldn’t be sales-y. Remember, the main job of an autoresponder is to build a relationship between you and the prospect. The goal — the only goal — is to get the reader to click on the link embedded in the email so that they go to a landing page or your website, where they can be shown again how great you are or how your product solves their problem.
The best way to do that is by keeping the tone casual, like two guys on barstools next to each other talking. Be personable and transparent and use everyday language, terms and slang – no business speak here. You’re trying to connect on a personal level, so stay casual. (Note: Be careful to strike the right tone; don’t try to be their best bud right off the bat. That will turn them off and cause them to put up barriers to your message).
But — and I can’t emphasize this enough — the prospect doesn’t want to hear about how wonderful you are or about your product seven to ten times. Remember, you’re the guy (or gal) on the barstool next to them just shooting the breeze. If you’re talking about a Kirby vacuum, they’re going to tune out fast.
Instead, talk about something interesting. And you do that by developing a theme for each email. Maybe something from pop culture, or a favorite movie, something that you can tie to the offer.
For example, maybe you start by talking about all the junk mail you get, and the magazines that you subscribe to because it’s fun to get something useful in the mail, only you never read them so they’re piled up on your corner table like a Tower of Pisa. Then, you connect that with getting something in the mail that you want and will definitely use, like a package from the Beer of the Month Club. Oh, and by the way, we’re offering free shipping if you sign up now. Click here to learn more (Want to see what such an email would look like? Click here to see an autoresponder email about Beer of the Month Club).
Gently bring in your solution
THEN gently transition to your product. Talk about how the story connects with the pain they have that you can help them with. Then tell them about the benefits of your solution. Keep it short and fast — bullet points work well — and use “power words” (such as “fast” and “easy” and “free”).
Throughout, offer them links to your free/limited/special offer or discounted class or whatever. But stick to one offer/discount per email. Just hit them with that same one over and over, building up the temptation to click on it.
Next, put your name on it, so they know who you are, can remember you and can connect you to the story you told – and how that story connected to their pain. (“Man, this guy really gets me, and he tells fun stories, too.”)
Finally, close with an afterthought — a P.S. that introduces another special offer/bonus feature that you hadn’t mentioned before.
Then, next time, tell them another story built around another interesting theme that focuses on a different offer/discount/bonus/feature.
As they say — lather, rinse, and repeat. Soon you’ll find some of those prospects turning into brand new customers.
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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124961070@N02/14561581102