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How Autoresponders Can Boost Your Affiliate Marketing Business
Your site is up and running.
Your landing page is finally just as you want it.
So what's one of the next big steps in your affiliate marketing business?
Well, if you're serious about having a business rather than a paying hobby, you need to make sure you have your autoresponder emails sorted out.
In this post, we're going to look at what you need to consider with autoresponders, and how to go about creating them .
Simply put, an autoresponder is an email that is sent out automatically when it is generated by your site visitor's action. You can set up multiple autoresponders, each with a valuable message.
A very powerful tool for any online business, autoresponders can be used to ease your tasks, and follow up automatically with your prospects, customers, members, subscribers, etc. Autoresponders let you maintain contact with your clients, attract new clients, and deliver important information to them through presetting a sequence of email messages at scheduled times.
They also collect email addresses, and automatically respond to the person signing up for your offer in the manner you set up. You can use these automatic responses as a way to dramatically increase your sales and customer retention.
As your business starts to grow, you'll find that your autoresponder service will become the lifeblood of your business. In fact, you won't function effectively without one.
While you might be able to manage sending emails to customers when your business is very small, imagine once you start building a list trying to send out messages to every subscriber.
This one-to-one marketing tool enables you to send email notices to each of your customers with one mailing, yet still personalize each email message for each recipient. A huge advantage of autoresponders is the time you save, because you can set things up to respond to any message with an automatic response.
Setting up a series of emails means that your customers keep receiving both the communications and feedback they need from you, without you having to keep repeating repetitive or regular "touch points" of communication or promotion on a one-to-one basis.
Your autoresponder keeps your name and product or service in the mind of your prospective customer or existing customer. You can redirect your contacts to someone who can meet their needs, or let them know when you'll be back. This means that prospects and customers will excuse your absences, and you can go off and do a whole heap of other things needing your attention!
An autoresponder service can help you multitask in a whole new way.
Using a series of autoresponder messages is the best way to build your own list of customers from people who have willingly given you their name and email address.
You can use an autoresponder as an automated way to send a message or series of messages to someone who subscribes to your newsletter. For example, imagine that you've created a 6 part series on container gardening tips that promotes your own ebook on container gardening. You can set up an autoresponder email around this offer. In fact, you should have any newsletter or offer put through its paces with an autoresponder sequence so that you cover the whole buying cycle.
And the best part is, once you've set everything up - you're done! An autoresponder sequence will keep on selling for you without needing any more attention, and you can get on with your other tasks.
Let's look at why this is so important to get right. As I've pointed out previously, most people will not buy from you the first time they visit your site. That's why we need go through the process of offering real value in exchange for a prospect's email address. Doing so enables you to build up trust in you over a period of time, and develop a relationship with them.
Your autoresponder emails to people are key to your success with forming relationships. You can spend a lot of time on both your site and your landing page, but if you don't deliver with your ongoing communications with prospects and steadily build the relationship, you're working with one arm tied behind your back.
It's like meeting someone on a first date, doing your best to make a good impression on them, and then not bothering to show up for any subsequent meetings.
There's a lot of truth in that internet marketing mantra, "The money's in your list!" However, a list will be profitable for you only if you know how to work it properly. Remember, "The money's in your CONNECTION with your list."
So let's look at what needs to happen to make sure autoresponders work for you!
1. Make Sure People Sign Up For The Right Reason
While the goal is to get people to sign up for whatever your offer is, you defeat the purpose of this exercise if you over-promise. There's no point in getting someone to subscribe if the communications they receive are not what they expect or want. You'll be building a list all right - of people who want to "unsubscribe"!
If you don't deliver, don't expect people to hang around. Your aim with setting up your communications with your subscribers via autoresponders is to over-deliver, to get people to subscribe, and then to make sure that you KEEP them subscribed.
You can do this in a number of ways. For example, you can offer:
- a trial or free version of software
- a valuable free report
- an info-packed newsletter
- a free screen saver
- a chapter from an ebook
- a hefty discount
These days, people are bombarded with attempts to get their email address. This means you need to make your offer as tempting as possible so that it becomes a no-brainer to sign up with you.
2. Give Your Subscriber Value For Their Email Address
The best way to think about how to go about your autoresponder series is to think of these comnmunications as the way in which you are building your relationship with your subscriber. This means that you carefully plan:
1) what you send them
2) in what sequence
3) and how often you send a communication
If you send only emails that give no real value, and simply push promotion after promotion, you will burn your list to the point it will become unresponsive.
Don't burn your autoresponder list - make sure you
always offer really good info.
You need to have a good number of emails in your pre-made series that are only full of great content, and are product-free. Doing so shows respect for your subscriber, and they feel that you are actually looking out for them, as opposed to just pushing products on to them.
Get the balance right with this, and you'll find that your subscribers are much more willing to consider your recommendations. You'll also discover that doing this helps boost the profitability of your promotional messages when you send them.
Your email autoresponder series can take a variety of forms, fulfilling a number of roles and tasks that you can automate.
- a welcome email
- articles that go into various aspects of a topic
- a course that you deliver in different parts
- a free bonus you give to your subscribers
- ask for testimonials
- survey your prospects
3. Get Clear On Technical Limitations
First you need to decide on the type of email you want to send. While it might seem a great deal more interesting to send HTML emails that let you put in graphics and other effects, you need to think beyond appearances here.
Not only can HTML emails take ages to load, depending on what sort of email viewer someone has, an HTML email can also turn up looking completely different in different email viewers.
The good news is that because every email viewer knows how to display common fonts, if you use a plain text option, you know exactly what sort of email everyone's going to be looking at, regardless of their viewer. That's why I'd recommend you choose the simple plain text option.
When you're formatting your message, you need to be careful to do so properly. Some email systems automatically wrap the text at 55-65 characters, so it's best to make sure you don't go over this.
Each line of text should finish with a hard return, and be no longer than 65 characters long. Doing things this way means that your email won't have those ragged edges, or disappear off your screen into the distance as one long line that you have to scroll along forever to read.
Plus it also won't look like it's had a hard night out on the town and is staggering all over the place.
Resist the temptation to spice things up a little by creating pictures with text characters.
While your artistic desires are to be encouraged, this is not the time to play Picasso, because different computers work in different screen and printer fonts.
Your attempt at an online masterpiece with text characters is likely to emerge as something decidely unimpressive.
4. Make Sure You Are As Readable As Possible
While doing things in plain text means that your design options are diminished, there are a few things you can do to boost the readablity of your emails:
- Use short paragraphs of around 5-7 lines
- Use the white space of the screen to draw attention to your most important stuff and "frame" it
- Insert a blank line before and after your headline
- Display your content in bulleted lists when you can
Now you know some of the ways you can use autoresponders to your advantage, and what not to do with them!
Next week, we'll be looking at building a communication sequence with your web visitors.
So start a list of the common "touch points" you have with both your customers and prospects, from your first initial point of contact through to after sales. Also have a think about what you can give away as an incentive to encourage site visitors to give you their email address.
Have them ready for next week, so that we can take a look at how you can incorporate these into your affiliate marketing business!
Next week: Sequencing your autoresponder emails for maximum business efficiency.
Photo credits: elsie.esq, Focal Intent
Learn from an affiliate veteran.
Your host, Allan Gardyne, has been earning a good living from affiliate programs since 1998.