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A Forgotten Secret Marketing Tool

By Terry Williams

I have been marketing online for a couple of years and it never ceases to amaze me that this one marketing tool is seldom used and remains to be an effective Secret Marketing Tool. What am I referring to you ask? Well let me tell you! I have received hundreds of responses to my marketing efforts and many reply with the same comments in regards to follow up. Yes FOLLOW UP! This is the Secret Marketing Tool that many businesses forget and don't use it to their potential.

Follow Up Marketing takes on two separate entities. First there is follow up with your existing customers and second, there is follow up with your potential customers. Many online marketers out there do not use these two tools to their benefit and it probably costs them thousands of dollars every year in sales and profits. So lets take a look at these two methods of marketing and find out how to use them to your benefit in your marketing efforts. Follow Up With Existing Customers

There have been quite a few studies completed on this topic and the underlying message they reveal is that many businesses do not follow up with their existing customers. Take a moment with a piece of paper and pencil and figure out your advertising and marketing costs. Make a list of where you advertise your product or service. Most of you will have on your list, newsgroups, online classified sites (both free & paid), newsletters, web sites, banner advertisements and also regular newspaper classified advertising.

Now just take one of these advertising mediums. For example, newsgroups, since thousands currently advertise on them and they are free. Well not necessarily! Even though it doesn't cost you to place the ad, there are other costs you must consider. There is your Internet Access, your time to write the advertisement and sales letters and your time to access the newsgroup and place the advertisement. So lets say, for example, that it costs $19.95 for Internet Access and 10 hours to write your advertisement and sales letters and 1 hour to access and place your advertisement on the newsgroup. Bill your time at $20/hr. That totals $239.95. That's quite a bit of money right!

Now lets say you make some sales and created $500 in profits from those sales only considering the cost to produce and ship your product. Now take out the advertising and marketing costs of $239.95 and you made $260.05 in profits for those customers. Not bad for one day! But don't forget about the $239.95 as it cost you that amount to get those customers. The point here is that it costs every business quite a bit of money to create a sale and a customer.

Now you just added a new product to your product line and begin to advertise it just as your other product. Those costs we just discussed might be a bit lower as you don't have to spend as much time on preparing advertisements and sales materials since your getting better at advertising and marketing. But your response might be lower, because it is a new product, increasing the costs of advertising and marketing the new product.

Why not lower your costs and have a better than average chance to produce more sales? How you ask, by FOLLOWING UP with your current customers. Don't you like to shop at the same places? Yes we all do because if we are treated right and received a good product or service, then we will come back and buy again and again and again. However, many online businesses seem to forget to send out a mailing to their own customers! These are people who determined that your initial product and company were better than your competition and bought from YOU! So ask them to buy again! You can make special offers to existing customers or whatever marketing offer you want, but DO NOT FORGET THEM. You increase your chances of repeat sales which will lower your advertising costs and create more profits!

Simple, effective and powerful, following up with your customers WILL produce results.

Follow Up With Potential Customers

Now the second piece of the secret, following up with prospects. This is where I get quite a bit better closure ratio than I do from my initial offer. I receive responses every day telling me that they became my customers mainly because they received some follow up. My customers go on to tell me that they look at many different offers and many businesses just email the information and they never hear from them again, while I take the time to follow up a number of times. Many potential customers like this type of carefully planned, understanding marketing technique. It shows that you are concerned about your business and want to create happy customers instead of looking for the quick buck.

You need to take some time and make some initial decisions in developing your follow up process as you don't want to make your prospects feel as if they are being harassed or pushed into making a decision. So let me give you a few tips to go about following up with potential customers that I have found very effective.

1. Determine the number of times you want to follow up with each prospect. Base your decision on your pricing and degree of difficulty in explaining your product or service. A general rule of thumb is the higher the price and complexity of your product or service the more times you will need to follow up.

2. Determine how often you want to follow up. The same rules above apply here. You want your prospect not to forget about you but you also want them to have some time to consider your offer.

3. Set up a follow up tracking system. Make a system of exactly how you are going to set up your follow up system and how to keep track of what your are doing and where you are at with each prospect.

4. Develop your follow up letters. Take some time and carefully write these letters. You want to pass along to your prospects that you are only trying to ensure they fully understand your product and offer so they can make an informed buying decision. Don't use hype, just provide facts and possibly add bonuses or special offers. Remind them they were interested in your product or service and requested information in the beginning of your letter and make your subject in the email something that refreshes their memory of your product or service. This will make sure they don't think you are sending them unsolicited emails.

5. Your last follow up letter. In this letter make sure you thank them for considering your product or service and let them know it will be the last letter they receive from you and take them out of your follow up files. If they want you to continue they will let you know.

6. Always honor the prospects request. If they ask for more information then by all means provide it and if they ask to be removed then make sure you do just that. If you don't, you will have just created some very bad press and they will let their friends know about it. Remember a happy customers tells 3 and a mad customer tells 10 and on the Internet you might even multiply that by thousands.

So there you have it a simple and effective marketing technique that is easily implemented and can produce incredible results. Don't let this become "A Forgotten Secret Marketing Tool".


Terry Williams, President of Terry Williams & Associates, a Glendale, Arizona based web site design and marketing firm that specializes in home based and small businesses is also the author of "Discover Online Marketing Success: Electronic Marketing Success Secrets" which provides many other profit making tools and techniques. To receive more details send a blank email to: discover@intersuccess.com Terry also publishes a Free Bi-Monthly Newsletter "Internet Marketing Issues". To get your free subscription visit: http://www.intersuccess.com/imi/subscribe.htm

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Tags: Sales and Marketing



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