Relationships With Autoresponders
How do you build and maintain a good relationship with your
Practice relationship basics - remember that relationships depend on
communication, and that communication is a two way street. And don't
imagine that a constant bombardment of ads is constructive of a
relationship. It only says to that customer that all that matters to
you is whether he buys.
You may be saying, "My customers are automatically put on my ezine
mailing list so they hear from me regularly. I don't have time to do
more than that." My answer is, the ezine is a great start. Now use
my favorite tool - the autoresponder - to its full, time saving
advantage to personalize the relationship. I have put together some
steps that I think will build these relationships more quickly than
Personalize your communications
1. Personalize your
Make sure you use the personalization feature in your ezine list
manager and your autoresponder to full advantage. You know, [firstname],
how you like to see and hear your own name. Whether you realized
it or not, it's your favorite word! But don't overdo it. Just as
you don't begin every sentence in a verbal conversation with the
other person's name, use the name sparingly in your emails. Make
it flow naturally by placing it in sentences that are more
personal in nature (note the sentence above where I used your
name, for example).
2. Generate feedback
Look for ways to generate feedback from your ezine subscribers. As
you noted above, I have started features soliciting your feedback
in form of your personal biographical background and information
about your website. Anytime you can get your subscribers to share
something important to them, they have come another rung on the
relationship ladder. It should go without saying that you need to
share yourself to encourage feedback. Communicate simply as you
would if you were talking to a friend - you will find that your
subscribers will come to consider you their friend! Don't be
afraid to take a stand on issues, again, just as you would with a
friend. It is difficult for your subscribers to develop a
friendship if no personality emerges from your emails. If you are
by nature a more private person (as I am), you may need to work at
being more open in your communications. Have a friend or spouse
read some of your emails to give you honest feedback as to how
your personality is communicated. Obviously the latitude you have
in expressing yourself is enormous. I receive several ezines whose
authors always start out by writing about their children's braces
or their dog's cancer. While that isn't my style, if you have a
let-it-all-hang-out personality, then go right ahead. It
communicates who you are. The personality you project won't be the
favorite of all your readers anyway, but that's not the point.
Use a spell checker and have someone else proof your emails if
grammar and sentence construction give you problems. You have a
message to communicate to your subscribers - bad grammar or
incomplete sentences obscures that message. Even worse, it says
that you didn't consider the message (and its recipient) important
enough to get it right. Don't expect significant feedback if you
don't respect your subscribers enough to pay attention to details.
Autoresponders also allow you to easily get feedback on site
issues such as HTML/plain text, or whether to publish on Tuesday
or Saturday. Simply set up separate autoresponder addresses for
each reply, or one address with different subject lines.
3. Exceed expectations
Assuming you are already doing the basics such as delivering a
good product that does all it claims, and promptly following up on
support issues, nothing builds good relationships and customer
loyalty better than doing little things that are pleasant
For example, your customers deserve first rate support and you
should by all means deliver it. But why not anticipate as many of
their questions and potential problems as possible by including a
FAQ/support email in your autoresponder instant message that
immediately follows up your sale? It will not only save you tons
of support time and effort, it will deliver the message that you
want your customers to have answers at hand before there are
Use another of your follow up messages to offer your customer
another product that is a natural follow-up to the one you just
sold him. It is not only smart marketing; it says you know what he
is likely to need and are not just pitching whatever else you have
Another message could ask for a testimonial in exchange for some
item of value. This tells your customer you value his feedback and
are willing to pay for it.
Here's the biggest relationship-builder. Before you put your
product on the market, think in advance what other less costly but
closely related products your customer is sure to find useful.
Offer these products as bonuses through your autoresponder
follow-up series. By doing so, you will immediately set yourself
apart from 95% of your competitors. Nothing I know of matches the
pleasant surprise of receiving unannounced bonuses that are
immediately useful and valuable. It speaks volumes about your
thoughtfulness and the value you place on your customer and his
needs. Even if you have to pay to get these follow-on bonuses, it
will be more than worth it in the long term. One is great; if you
can manage it two or three would be even better. Ideally you could
continue to provide articles or tips on a continuing basis that
relate to that customer and his needs. Autoresponders make it
This is just a sampling of the kinds of relationship-building jobs
you can set up your autoresponder to do. Does this kind of
approach call for considerable planning before the sale? You bet!
While your average customer may not appreciate the fact that you
spent the extra time to set up the post-sale autoresponder
sequence, he will get the overall message that you care about him
as a customer and have gone out of your way to see that his needs
are met. As you build a relationship of trust and respect by
applying methods such as these, that position you hold in your
customer's subconscious relative to your competitors will move
higher and higher. While this is an invisible, intangible thing,
it will translate into future sales and a growing customer base.
Combined with a continuing flow of good products, this is a recipe
for online success. It's time to crank up the autoresponder and
start putting in the ingredients!
tutorials in this series:
Autoresponders - Where do they come from?
autoresponders - Should I use one?
How to use autoresponders - What can they do for me?
Autoresponder follow-up messages - How to write them
to use autoresponders - Right and wrong times
Structuring an autoresponder series - How to!
Spam problems? - Stop it with autoresponders!
Would you like
to expand your knowledge on the
areas discussed above?