I get a lot of queries and client registrations to my business that don’t lead to sales. Converting potential clients to paying clients is a very important process since a potential client has clearly demonstrated some interests in your services or products, they just need to be convinced. A good sales process, one that you test over time and tweak until you get the best results, is vital for success.
I used to handle this manually. I’d get some emails from clients, respond by answering their questions quickly and try and sell my services. If they didn’t bite immediately I put them into a folder called potential clients. A week or two later I would go to this folder and email all these potential clients again and try and make a sale. If they responded with a definite “no thanks” and I determined it’s not worth fighting for their business anymore I moved the email to a concluded folder for archive purposes. If they still seemed interested I moved them to another folder which in another week or two I would try again. Often though I’d get no response at all but I’d keep trying. Obviously this is a horribly manual process that took a lot of time and energy.
I improved this process firstly by creating email templates by simply using email signatures in outlook express. I would insert an appropriate sales signature to respond to a client depending on which point in my potential customer sales process they were at. In fact I still use this process to handle common queries and I find it reduces my email processing time quite significantly.
However I still got quite tired of handling ongoing sales in such a manual manner. I knew autoresponders, which are automatic response emails that are sent when a person emails you or submits a form, were a potential solution to this problem. In essence I was acting like an autoresponder myself so there had to be a way to systematize this process.
I knew my host server could handle autoresponders but it wasn’t a robust system and only allowed for a response to come if someone sent an email to a specific address. Since I handle all queries, not just sales queries, through my admin email account it wouldn’t make sense for *every* email sent to this account to get the same autoresponse. I needed to find a more powerful solution.
I searched the net and found various options, some free, some with subscriptions and some scripts you can buy and install on your server. However a friend of mine showed me an all in one solution called MarketersChoice that contains a great autoresponder system, but a lot more too.
MarketerChoice is so much more than just an autoresponder system. It has a client management system, shopping cart, digital download manager, affiliates system and more. I got so excited when I first read about all the features available at MarketersChoice and all these new business ideas popped into my head as a result. After I calmed down I thought about what I actually needed at the time and luckily they allow you to purchase a package based on your current requirements. Each module integrates with your current system quite easily and you can purchase subscriptions to new modules at any time. I’ll talk about the other features at another time and focus on the autoresponder module for now.
I went to the MarketersChoice website and read all I could about the systems. I don’t make a decision to invest a few hundred dollars a year in software unless I know it’s going to do exactly what I want it to do. The autoresponder module lets you apply unlimited automatic response emails and move users from one list to another automatically. You can even use an autoresponder to send out broadcast emails so that unique messages are sent out during certain intervals. Or you can simply log in and send out a mass email to all clients of a certain type. Let me explain by describing how I currently use the system.
I have a simple client registration form that collects basic data such as email address, names and phone numbers. I created the form myself but the MarketersChoice system can generate the html for you to use on your website. When a person submits to this form they are firstly opted in, which means they are sent an email to confirm they want to register. This is an important step because it makes sure you don’t get accused of sending spam. Only those people that want to be are included on your lists because they chose to be there.
These clients are considered “potential clients”. They haven’t made a purchase but have read enough of the website to show interest. If they don’t make a purchase they are sent an email in two weeks automatically by the system asking why and inviting them to try the service. If again in another two weeks they still haven’t responded they are sent another email. If during this time they do decide to make a purchase they are removed from the “potential clients” autoresponder to the “paying clients” autoresponder so they won’t be sent any inappropriate emails. This allows the ongoing sales “chase” to be handled automatically and I no longer have to manage my clients in folders in outlook express because they all go into a very secure and customisable online client database at MarketersChoice.
You can stipulate how many emails are sent to an autoresponder list, the time duration between messages and customize each message in the timeline. It’s an amazingly powerful system. You can use this to subscribe people to an eCourse that sends out a new course email every two weeks. You can use the system to manage paying clients to send out a request for feedback after a certain period of time being on the paying client list. You can set emails to offer discounts or free samples to try and convert potential clients or reward long term loyal clients. If you want more information I suggest you read the FAQs at the MarketersChoice site.
These are just a small sample of the possibilities available with just the autoresponder module. I should warn you though that there is a learning curve with the software and you will need to devote some time to set it up properly. Once you get the hang of it though it just sits there and helps you to convert clients. What more could you ask for!
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