Followup is killing me!

28 replies
I am able to get people to respond to my marketing at a pretty good rate. The issue I have is that I am a mess when it comes to following up with them. I need some ideas as to the best ways to follow up with these folks. What are you guys and gals doing to keep up?
#followup #killing
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Ambrose
    You've probably already written your follow up messages and don't realize it.

    Yes, that's right, you already wrote the messages you need to start following up with your website visitors. Before you call me crazy see if the following applies to you:

    * Website has been up 1-2 months or more
    * Your email address is on the website
    * You answer questions from visitors via email

    If so, you're already nearly done writing your (initial) follow up messages...

    1) Open your email program
    2) Click on your sent email folder

    The emails that you've already written communicating with prospects and customers is the exact same type of content you should put in your follow up sequence.

    Daily, I see many people getting hung up trying to over think their follow up sequence. It has to be perfect or they don't want to do it at all.

    You might want to start with the recommended 7 messages right from the gun, I guarantee that if you're not following up now a simple 1, 2, or 3 message follow up will make a world of difference to your bottom line.

    You don't need 7 messages to make a noticeable impact if you're not doing anything now.

    Re purpose the questions and answers you've already written and get them online.

    When I get a bit of writers block a simple copy and paste from the sent email folder gets me going again.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian Seth
    Send some ocasional articles. Tell them what You are up to, tell them about Your blog posts, to go and check them out. Make surveys. Send them free stuff. Send them affiliate stuff. Try to make a combination between personal and business stuff. If You send them just offer after offer probably they will stop responding. Don't take too long between messages. i don't know what niche You are into but usually people receive a ton of emails everyday and if You take too long to send them messages they will probably forget about you. Hope this helps You!!
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  • Profile picture of the author soladollar
    This applies to me too, i have a serious problem following up on prospects... Thanks for the post and the replies, it helps...

    SolaDollar
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  • Profile picture of the author vertical
    My bigger issue is that I get caught up in the details of marketing and not the human skills needed to keep the conversations going. My version of A.D.D.

    What other tips do you guys have?
    Signature

    Hassan Omar
    Custom Website Design & Marketing Solutions
    Managed IT services
    www.verticalpassing.com

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  • Profile picture of the author DavidO
    This is actually a very good question because, while we here so much about getting traffic, making sales, etc, if you can't keep up with the human side of the business you're going to be in trouble.

    This is customer service and you won't grow or last in business if you don't get it right, no matter how great your initial success.

    If you're into design or product creation or something else, the odds are you make customer service the last thing on your list... and so a lot of times it doesn't get done. You need to put the most disagreeable jobs first on your list.

    Keep an email folder with your most common messages. If you want to be more personal just add the person's real name after you've copied and pasted.

    That's how I do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Carl Kelly
    Create a series of pre-programmed auto-responder e-mails. Then the follow up will happen for you, automatically. Not a writer? No problem:

    1) Outsource some e-mail writing, or

    2) Check with Amy Bass who, if I am not mistaken, sells a complete pre-programmed auto-responder series;

    3) Grab a handful of articles from an article directory on your subject and use those to populate your e-mails.

    Follow up can be a tough one for some, but necessary to keep yourself in front of your list. I hope that helps!

    Steve
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    Read this SURPRISING REPORT Before You Buy ANY WSO! Click Here
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  • Profile picture of the author soladollar
    Nice one there Faxinator,

    Are there Other ways
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  • Profile picture of the author Shonee
    Time management is the key to success. Allot a specific time of the day/week and compose content rich emails and then send them. Once you master time management skills and prepare your to do list before and stick to it, you'll see that the follow up process is less hectic and pretty much smooth.


    Originally Posted by vertical View Post

    I am able to get people to respond to my marketing at a pretty good rate. The issue I have is that I am a mess when it comes to following up with them. I need some ideas as to the best ways to follow up with these folks. What are you guys and gals doing to keep up?
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    • Profile picture of the author vertical
      Originally Posted by Shonee View Post

      Time management is the key to success. Allot a specific time of the day/week and compose content rich emails and then send them. Once you master time management skills and prepare your to do list before and stick to it, you'll see that the follow up process is less hectic and pretty much smooth.
      That is so true. Unfortunately it is also a lot easier said than done. How have you been able to force your self to block out the time?
      Signature

      Hassan Omar
      Custom Website Design & Marketing Solutions
      Managed IT services
      www.verticalpassing.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    It's tricky. Most marketers botch follow-up - but not for
    the reason you might think.

    You don't have to be perfect but you do need to be consistent.

    It takes dedication to send out 50-100 relevant emails to a list
    every year.

    You either get down to business and build a system to do it or
    you drop the ball. Many marketers send out 5-7 emails and
    that's it. I send out a LOT more. That's the secret.

    Market with more passion, consistency, and endurance than
    the competition and you will see growth from long-term
    followup.
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  • Profile picture of the author soladollar
    Nice one there Faxinator,

    Are there Other ways
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  • Profile picture of the author trafficwave
    Originally Posted by vertical View Post

    I am able to get people to respond to my marketing at a pretty good rate. The issue I have is that I am a mess when it comes to following up with them. I need some ideas as to the best ways to follow up with these folks. What are you guys and gals doing to keep up?
    In a word: AutoResponders.

    All of my marketing is geared toward getting people to opt in to my free report. When they do this, they are subscribed to my TrafficWave.net AutoResponder.

    In my AutoResponder, I have a series of pre-written messages that I have scheduled to go out to this list over time.

    From time to time, I'll put together a special offer and broadcast it out to my list.

    Works like a charm.
    Signature

    -----------------------------
    Brian Rooney
    TrafficWave.net Email Marketing AutoResponders
    Email Marketing Blog

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    • Profile picture of the author vertical
      Originally Posted by trafficwave View Post

      In a word: AutoResponders.

      All of my marketing is geared toward getting people to opt in to my free report. When they do this, they are subscribed to my TrafficWave.net AutoResponder.

      In my AutoResponder, I have a series of pre-written messages that I have scheduled to go out to this list over time.

      From time to time, I'll put together a special offer and broadcast it out to my list.

      Works like a charm.

      You know, I'm doing that with auto responders. They work as intended. The issue I have is making myself engage human beings consistently after they have responded. You know like making my self speak to them.

      What are you doing beyond the emails?
      Signature

      Hassan Omar
      Custom Website Design & Marketing Solutions
      Managed IT services
      www.verticalpassing.com

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      • Profile picture of the author trafficwave
        Originally Posted by vertical View Post

        You know, I'm doing that with auto responders. They work as intended. The issue I have is making myself engage human beings consistently after they have responded. You know like making my self speak to them.

        What are you doing beyond the emails?
        My emails are pretty thorough, really. Most folks are able to make a purchasing decision based on the information I send them.

        In some cases, a prospect may call to ask a few question. In each case, they are asking questions that are already answered in the emails they received but I think they just want to hear a human to make themselves feel better.

        In the event the phone conversation becomes more detailed and I need to have further conversations, I just set those calls up in my calendar on my Mac and sync it to my iPhone.

        In my cases, the number of calls that go beyond the initial "I just want to see if you're a human" are pretty low.
        Signature

        -----------------------------
        Brian Rooney
        TrafficWave.net Email Marketing AutoResponders
        Email Marketing Blog

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  • Profile picture of the author kellyryan028
    An autoresponder would be your best bet. You can create them ahead of time and schedule them to send out.

    Remember that in these follow up emails the most important thing is to build relationships. You want to build trust and credibility.
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    • Profile picture of the author 4morereferrals
      Funny - as a new ONLINE Marketer, and an old school OFFLINE marketer, I kinda have the exact opposite problem. Good follow up systems, poor lead gen, and online traffic :-) But dats why Im here.

      Pareto Principle - 80% of your revenue will lilely come from only 20% of your customers.

      What are you doing besides email messages to touch those 20% of your top clients?

      Since they are already buyers ... typically thru paypal, you have their mailing address :-)

      If you want to establish a stronger relationship with them - might consider some OFFLINE follow up systems as well.

      Would it be worth a few ... as in $3.50 per top customer [top 20%] - per year to do something to build a better relationship that uses an OFFLINE autoresponder?

      Food for thought.
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      Rank Ascend Network - High PR Links / Guaranteed Rankings Increase
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      • Profile picture of the author vertical
        Again, the issue is "pressing the flesh". The internet model is good for lead generation and followup, however if one does not take the time to un-automate the biz then all that work with auto responders, emails and websites is for naught.

        Have any of you guys and gal read the book, The e-myth? It's a great book about making systems to run your biz. I think that's what we all have to do to ensure that we are successful.

        All that said, what are some good ways to remind, no force yourself to go out and press the flesh? Or actually pickup the phone to talk to people?
        Signature

        Hassan Omar
        Custom Website Design & Marketing Solutions
        Managed IT services
        www.verticalpassing.com

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        • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
          Originally Posted by vertical View Post

          My bigger issue is that I get caught up in the details of marketing and not the human skills needed to keep the conversations going.
          That's an oxymoron. You can't be a marketer if you don't have the human skills required to connect with your market.

          Marketing is all about connecting with your audience and delivering messages that aim to influence...just as a sales person would.

          If you are getting caught up with something that is not related to that, then it isn't marketing per se that is holding you back, it's more likely technical things or advertising. See what I am saying?

          If I were you, I would just have enough emails for 6 months and during that time, let your audience tell you what they want more of less of, and there's your answer.

          KISS.
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        • Profile picture of the author trafficwave
          Originally Posted by vertical View Post

          Again, the issue is "pressing the flesh". The internet model is good for lead generation and followup, however if one does not take the time to un-automate the biz then all that work with auto responders, emails and websites is for naught.

          Have any of you guys and gal read the book, The e-myth? It's a great book about making systems to run your biz. I think that's what we all have to do to ensure that we are successful.

          All that said, what are some good ways to remind, no force yourself to go out and press the flesh? Or actually pickup the phone to talk to people?
          I think that's going to depend on what you are offering and how.

          I have thousands of clients from around the world and I've personally met with less than a dozen of them. Those that I've met with personally just happened to be friends or associates before they became clients so we would end up sitting down over lunch anyway. This works for my business model.

          One of my clients, however, uses autoresponders to offer information on how to use the media to get free advertising. He gives them information on writing press releases, getting on to talk shows, etc...

          He does the standard things like having a subscription form on his web site so they can request the information.

          His autoresponder begins following up with his prospects.

          Each message has an invitation to call him for a free consultation.

          So, in his case, he gets on the phone with his prospects to answer questions, provide some information/advice, etc... and then tries to close the deal over the phone.

          This model is what works well for him.

          Another client collects not only the name and email in his autoresponder but the phone number, as well. He also asks a few qualifying questions. Then he makes a point of going through his subscriber list and personally calling the people that have requested information.

          He sells a higher end item and needs to add that personal touch to each and every contact.

          So his AutoResponder is there to help qualify and then soften up his prospects a bit before he contacts them.

          Still another client uses his AutoResponder to send out a monthly newsletter. He also uses direct mail and has people make direct phone calls to his subscribers to close the sales and try for add-on sales.

          Your AutoResponder is just a tool. It's a very flexible tool.

          Each business will determine how to best use that tool in their own model.
          Signature

          -----------------------------
          Brian Rooney
          TrafficWave.net Email Marketing AutoResponders
          Email Marketing Blog

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  • Profile picture of the author Chiayee
    Some ideas from me...

    - Send them case studies;
    - Alert them potential scams running in your industry;
    - Send them short notes and tips;
    - send them educational video;

    The sky's the limit.
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  • Profile picture of the author TikTok
    I find that the Google Notebook is a useful tool, as you can keep copies of your most common emails, responses, quotations, and other useful information.

    One advantage is that you can access the information from any computer, and can maintain scores of niche-specific, time-sensitive, generic, or customer-targeted introductions, responses, follow-ups, acknowledgements, thank-you's, and anything else relevant to your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    What helps best is a combo:

    1) Have a FAQs pages set up with specific replies. Yes, autoresponders are fine, too, but no matter what you have, some people will simply still have questions - -even if the replies are right there and you point them out 10 times. Just happens - -call it speed-reading, lack of understanding at the time, etc. Just is

    2) Make sure you do manage your time responding, and keep things short and sweet, not unlimited scrolled screens in replies. Let people know they get limited bids / quote / info for free + that you offer paid consulting, as many people try to get all they can for free. Check out the lower portion of mine for help on this, as my form has evolved from others I've found online and like: Moving Ahead Communications - Q / A

    3) Some people ask more they need to about your business. Seriously.
    Take charge of these inquiries by telling them you have a limited amount of time and resources for replying, and re-direct the focus to their projects at hand only, sending them online for your basic info in your About Us page. (If the info isn't there, maybe isn't something they don't need to know, like your own confidential company ROI or other personal info). Let those people know as this type info becomes available, they can bookmark your site & check back to find it.

    And don't be afraid to set limits. I've had people schedule an appointment with me to interview me for stuff - but not tell me that up front, disguising the appointment as a project brief for a bid proposal , and that's not right. If they want an interview, they need to ask.

    And they don't need to know how long you are online, what you do all day, etc. Seriously. Don't be afraid to not reply to these types of questions. They are not appropriate, not professional. That will cut out some of the crackpot emails and calls you'll get, not all though, bummer, but some.

    Know, too, that as your name / content gets out, sometimes you attract some so-called "reporters" that feel they have a right to get into your personal life, etc., but they don't. Again turn the tables around here, and schedule when you will get back with them, if you want, or you will follow up and send them something, etc. No need to drop everything and reply with them at the helm.

    Hope some of that helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author IMChick
    Steps for a successful followup program:

    1. Get an old-fashioned pen and a pad of paper in front of you.
    2. Try to do this in uninterrupted 30 minute to 1 hour blocks.
    3. Think of what you want to say, and just write down the bullets and links, one to a line.
    4. Go back through your sent emails--a lot of it is already there.
    5. Brain storm till you have at least 1 dozen bullets.
    6. Use the 1 dozen to make followup emails--one each
    7. Load them into your autoresponder.
    8. Lather rinse repeat. Remember to get 1 dozen more from the next brain storming session...
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  • If I'm reading your original question correctly, it sounds like you're looking for human follow up - not the automatic autoresponder type. So the whole autoresponser/email/article/newsletter/etc thing aint hitting the mark...

    Am I reading that correctly?

    If so, you have two choices: one's free and the other's gonna cost you...

    One's a better idea.

    Since you admittedly suffer from the A.D.D type thing, sounds like details aren't your strong point. All the autoresponders in the world aren't going to overcome that. If you're making decent money, then it's time to either hire someone part time/full time or invest in a virtual assistant.

    That's the better, gonna cost you way. Let someone else who enjoys and is good at that kinda thing run wild with it.

    As the business owner your responsibility is to grow your business. If you aint' doing it, it ain't getting done.

    If you don't have the dough for that option right now, look for someone to barter resources. For example, I trade pretty nice office space with a business partner who owns a building in exchange for servicing his computer network. It's something I can do w/ my eyes closed, and I save about $500/month in rent. Be creative and I'd almost guarentee you can find someone who'd give you two or three hours a day to do follow up calls for you.

    Another free option, find a business school in your area where students need internships. Some students will gladly trade a few hours in exchange for some real life resume experience and a good job reference - it's priceless for them. Find two or three and you're in business.

    Now, the free but bad idea is to try to discipline yourself that every day from X:00 - X:00 ALL you will do is follow up calls. But - use a phone name. If you call as yourself you'll find folks want to talk to you for hours or try to suck some free advice from you and get offended when you don't want to talk for hours. I know this from first hand experience. Give yourself another name and go from there. Make it quick, "We were just calling to make sure you got your product and answer any questions you may have." "Are you on our email list?" If so, great, if not send them to the squeeze page. If you have another product to offer, make the sale enticing and send them to a sales letter page if they have too many questions.

    Just my humble opinion based on my experiences.

    HIH

    The Crazy Internet Dude
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    • Profile picture of the author vertical
      best damn idea i've seen so far...

      Originally Posted by crazyinternetdude View Post

      Now, the free but bad idea is to try to discipline yourself that every day from X:00 - X:00 ALL you will do is follow up calls. But - use a phone name. If you call as yourself you'll find folks want to talk to you for hours or try to suck some free advice from you and get offended when you don't want to talk for hours. I know this from first hand experience. Give yourself another name and go from there. Make it quick, "We were just calling to make sure you got your product and answer any questions you may have." "Are you on our email list?" If so, great, if not send them to the squeeze page. If you have another product to offer, make the sale enticing and send them to a sales letter page if they have too many questions.

      Just my humble opinion based on my experiences.

      HIH

      The Crazy Internet Dude
      Signature

      Hassan Omar
      Custom Website Design & Marketing Solutions
      Managed IT services
      www.verticalpassing.com

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    • Profile picture of the author IMChick
      Originally Posted by crazyinternetdude View Post



      Now, the free but bad idea is to try to discipline yourself that every day from X:00 - X:00 ALL you will do is follow up calls. But - use a phone name. If you call as yourself you'll find folks want to talk to you for hours or try to suck some free advice from you and get offended when you don't want to talk for hours. I know this from first hand experience. Give yourself another name and go from there. Make it quick, "We were just calling to make sure you got your product and answer any questions you may have." "Are you on our email list?" If so, great, if not send them to the squeeze page. If you have another product to offer, make the sale enticing and send them to a sales letter page if they have too many questions.

      Just my humble opinion based on my experiences.

      HIH

      The Crazy Internet Dude
      Superb idea. Talk about instant market feedback!
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  • Profile picture of the author tkulzer
    2nd post in this thread by "mm365", while great advice, is
    partially rewritten theft from our follow up sequence
    that I personally wrote several years ago. Content of that
    originally created text is below.

    I have no problem with folks spreading around our advice
    regarding email marketing (I'd encourage it), but if you're
    going to pass something off as your own content at least
    write it in **entirely** your own words.

    Copyright theft isn't cool.

    -Tom


    Writing follow up messages is easy if you know the secret...

    If you're anything like me, you've undoubtedly had a bit of writers
    block a time or two in the past.

    Fortunately, creating the messages for your follow up sequence doesn't
    have to be an excruciating experience that keeps you from following
    up. I have good news for you...


    ** You Already Wrote Your Follow Up Messages

    Yes, that's right, you already wrote the messages you need to start
    following up with your website visitors. Before you call me crazy
    see if the following applies to you:

    - Website has been up 1-2 months
    - Your email address is on the website
    - You answer questions from visitors via email

    If so, congratulations! You're already done writing your follow up
    messages.


    ** The Secret

    - Open your email program.
    - Click on your sent email folder.

    The emails that you've already written communicating with prospects
    and customers is the exact same type of content you should put in
    your follow up sequence. The biggest mistake I see on a daily
    basis is people try to over think their follow up sequence. It
    has to be perfect or they don't want to do it at all.

    While studies indicate 7 follow ups show the best conversion, I
    guarantee you that if you're not following up now a simple 1,
    2, or 3 message follow up will make a world of difference to
    your bottom line.

    Re purpose the questions and answers you've already written and
    get them online.

    How do you think I came up with the content you're reading now?
    I certainly won't win awards with my writing, but I do know how
    to help small businesses thru effective follow up. In the past
    8+ years I've seen the same excuses derail the best intentions
    for starting and building an effective follow up list.

    When I get a bit of writers block a simple copy and paste from
    the sent email folder gets me going again.
    Signature

    Tom Kulzer
    CEO & Founder
    AWeber Communications, Inc.

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    • Profile picture of the author ElizabethAdams


      Hello, Hassan ...

      If the question is *telephone* followup, then Dude is exactly right.

      Plus, if you structure it creatively, then your profits should more than
      cover your costs.

      An ad in your local newspaper for someone to handle followup telephone calls
      in their home for $10 an hour will probably bring you over 100 applicants
      for the job.

      If you make a point to interview them all (using a free conference room at
      your local library, for example), then you will know which one would be
      the best candidate for the job.

      Some telephone sales experience can be a plus, but you really don't want
      your assistant to be "selling" ... rather, just inquiring ... just asking a series of
      predetermined questions and recording the answers.

      If the ultimate purpose of this followup is to "close" a sale, then you can
      structure some questions that are designed to find out the degree of interest.

      Even something as simple as ... "On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you describe
      your interest in this product?" ... can work wonders as far as separating the
      prospects who are worth your time from the suspects who probably aren't.

      As far as "keeping in touch" with your subscribers ...

      The premiere method as far as I'm concerned is to invite them with every issue
      of your newletter to ask any questions they'd like to get your answers to
      at a webform you provide for the purpose. Give them a target subject to jog
      their memories as to something they've been wanting to know for a long time,
      and they'll gladly go type it in.

      That way, you'll be assured that what you're writing about is something
      they want to read about !!!

      You can even post your answers to your website or blog and then put a link
      in your followup emails as to where they can go to read your answers to
      everybody's questions. That way, you get extra traffic, too!

      Regards, Elizabeth ...

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