Considering my absolute penchant for finding new and creative ways to avoid doing ‘work’ (just ask my wife) I am shocked that I haven’t touched on the subject of using an auto-responder e-mail program for your clients.
Yes, yes…I know! I can hear the jeering now.
We’ve all received the messages from an auto-responder and we roll our eyes. Rightfully so!
But remember to take a step back and understand you are an internet marketer. You are exposed to a lot more opt-ins, up-sales, down-sales, and every other trick in the marketer’s playbook. You know what is happening and you are way more aware of it then the typical consumer of your client’s business.
In our world of internet marketers the auto-responders are such an overused tool that they aren’t just used for e-mailing you the content from information/access opt-ins anymore.
If you’ve spent any time on Twitter and have followed anyone in the digital marketing space that considers themselves an ‘expert’ or ‘guru’ then you know exactly what I mean.
OHHHH….but Stuart…I love the ‘token of appreciation,’ and the ‘free e-book’ and the ‘social media secrets’ that I get with EVERY SINGLE PERSON I FOLLOW!!! (If you don’t read the sarcasm dripping from this you can consider yourself lucky that your Twitter inbox isn’t filled with auto-responded messages).
The trouble here isn’t that people are trying to offer something of value for a follow, rather the issue is that it is so obvious to us all that there is no personal touch involved anymore. While this is an annoying part of our industry this has not transcended into local business.
There is a huge opportunity to leverage the power of auto-responders for your clients and still keep a personal touch.
The truth of it is that if we all communicated through pre-programmed messages there would be no one LISTENING…and if it feels like no one is listening then what is the point of any further communication? (Hint- There is none)
So when you are setting up auto-responders for your business or your clients make sure to take that into consideration.
The secret to success with the auto-responder is being smart about the fact that people don’t want to receive something they don’t feel is personalized.
At the very least they should be made to feel that the message has a real person at the end who will actually respond should you have a question. Think personal touches in your emails not corporate jibber-jabber.
To run an effective auto-responder campaign (whether that be for selling your services, for a funnel, or for a client assignment) you need to first ensure that you build in that personal touch and voice.
This personalization can be tough as your aim truly is to have as little human contact as possible and to automate the entire process while creating the illusion for your clients & prospects that they are getting to (know like and trust them through the communication).
We’ve come up with four simple steps to ensure that we pass the initial smell test for consumers (remember that this process requires you to have someone interact with your offering, content etc. I’ll leave that part of things for another blog).
Step 1 – Avoid ‘Instant Messaging’
I know we all live in a world where we like everything immediately but there is NOTHING more obvious than receiving an e-mail or message within seconds of an opt-in, follow, purchase etc.
Keeping that in mind, for those ‘instant responses’ you are going to want to make it blatantly obvious that this is an automated response BUT that you will contact them shortly with the information they wanted.
This achieves two important goals.
- It sets-up the person on the other end to think they are going to receive something more personalized
- It begins conditioning them to open your messages (which will come in handy down the road)
Step 2 – Make a statement or ask a question in your note that gives the appearance that someone is on the other end of the message.
- I wanted to follow up on my last e-mail and provide you with some further information…
- I thought I would send you a note to see how you were doing with…
- How are you doing with…?
- Please let me know if there is anything I can do…
You will note that these statements are specifically aimed at putting a veil over the purely robotic responses being sent out by the masses as they position the message to receive a response. We always send from an email address that will be monitored by our client or their staff. So that when people respond they get a live person interacting.
Step 3 – Put a system in place to ensure that you can actually address someone if they have a question. (Stress this with your clients, nothing worse than getting a lead to engage and then having them drop the ball).
If you position your emails properly to engage your clients audience through calls to action (like questions, offer to set up a call, etc) within the body of the auto-reponder email, and close with something like: Feel free to hit replay and let me know if you have any questions. This allows your auto-reponder to walk cold traffic into a warm lead.
Not only will this help to further solidify the opening of any other e-mails in your auto-responder system but direct contact is always the best way to sell your product and often times you can close the deal right away.
In order to ensure that your client can filter through all the leads the auto-responder is creating for them you may want to simply provide a separate e-mail address for direct responses. This will allow your client to flag it as a warm lead generated from their auto-responder and allow you to track the incoming messages it generated.
Step 4 – Always try to add value
In each message you craft for your client with the auto-responder you should try to add value for their consumer.
That value can come in the form of free information that is useful to them, a tool to help them with an issue or even a carefully crafted statement that makes them aware that you truly know and understand their pain points.
Adding value of any kind and no matter how small will ensure that your messages are compelling enough for the reader to make it through to the end of your clients note.
Overall, while severely overused in the internet marketing niche the auto-responder tools still have an immense amount of value for saving time and engaging people especially for your clients who operate outside of our internet marketing world.
Go ahead and give it a shot. You’ll be surprised at how good the results can be.
Of course this wouldn’t be an SEO Cheat Guides post without some help, so here is our guide for setting up a list and auto-responder in Mail Chimp.