Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ETR: Do You Bond With Your Customers?

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Issue No. 3014 - $1.00

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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Is There a Shortcut to Success?

When it comes to starting your own Internet business, the only REAL shortcut to success is to follow the step-by-step lead of masters who've already "been there and done that." They know where the landmines are. And they know where the buried treasure lies.

When you meet the experts we've brought together for our 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference, they'll show you both.

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Bottom line: Give us Five Days in July, and we'll give you your own REAL Internet business.

"The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but the signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through."

Sydney J. Harris

How to Double Any Company's Revenues in 12 Months
By Clayton Makepeace

Pretentious headline, right?

A little "hypey," no?

Actually, no. Not at all.

See, all you have to do to double your revenues is...

(1) Bring in more new customers...

(2) Compel customers to come back to you more often...

(3) Consistently increase the amount of money each customer is willing to spend with you on each purchase, and...

(4) Keep each customer with you longer.

Now I'm no good at math, so you're going to have to help me here.

But if, by sharpening your media selection, sales copy, and offer, you can...

  • Cause 30 percent more new customers to make their first purchase from you this year...

  • Cause existing customers to buy from you 30 percent more often...

  • Cause customers to spend just 30 percent more on each new order than they've spent in the past, and...

  • And cause customers to stay with you 30 percent longer...

Wouldn't you increase revenues by at least 100 percent in a single year?

Sure you would. You'd double your revenues.

That's why every promotion designed for existing customers must accomplish two critical objectives...

FIRST, it must produce a sale.

DUH, right? Every promotion is designed to make sales. But when you're talking about promotions for your customer list, they do more:

The number of promotions you send to your customers -- and, equally important, the quality of the copy in those promotions -- increases the number of times each customer will order from you this year.

So how many times should you contact existing customers?

Great question!

Well, back in the bad old days before the Web, nearly all of our contacts were through the mail. My theory was, "Out of sight, out of mind" -- so I made sure my customers had something from me in their mailboxes every blessed week.

First, we mailed to them only on the first of each month. When we added a mailing on the 15th, response and average sale notched higher and cancellations dropped.

When we added a third mailing -- more improvement in ROI and longevity. Finally, we went to a weekly mailing schedule and, once again, all our numbers improved.

Put simply, by quadrupling the number of times each customer heard from us, we more than quadrupled our orders and revenues -- AND, miraculously, our cancellation rates declined.

Why? I'll get to that next. First, I should mention that we had a high average sale and good margins, so we could afford to spend a fortune on printing and postage in those days. But today, with e-mail that costs you nothing, there's simply no excuse not to talk to your customers every week.

Heck. You're a Early to Rise subscriber. And ETR e-mails you nearly every day!

"But wait," you say. "ETR doesn't send me promotions every day! They only send me promotional e-mails a couple of times a week."

Ah... good point. About 70 percent of the e-mails you get from ETR are the free issues of this newsletter.

Which leads me to...

The SECOND objective of every contact you have with your existing customers:

It must make them feel closer to you...
intensify their loyalty to you...
and make them eager to hear from you again.

We call it "bonding" -- and it's a major part of the strategy in every promotion my agency creates for our clients. It's also a big part of my own online publication, The Total Package.

Six days out of seven, some of the sharpest minds around deliver valuable advice and ideas to our readers in The Total Package. For free.

Plus, every chance we get, we deliver more free stuff that has tremendous value to them. Like the 908 mind-blowing back issues -- each one a goldmine of response-boosting ideas -- in our archives.

So tell me: How do you think all this makes our readers feel about us?

Doesn't it separate us from the vast armies of online pitchmen who only want to sell them something -- whether it helps them or not?

Doesn't it prove we're sincere in our desire to help them get ahead?

And since we really do have their interests at heart... and since we give them so much for free... don't you think it makes them wonder if the products in our Online Store just might be worth checking out?

There's a supremely valuable principle here, and it can be applied to every kind of business you can name:

Do everything in your power to be a friend to your customers, and they'll return the favor by becoming the best friends you ever had.

That said, here are my four rules for creating maximum-response promotions to your customer file:

RULE #1: Provide value with every contact -- something that brings value to your customer's life, whether he makes a purchase from you OR NOT.

When planning campaigns to my clients' customer files, I try to make sure that the e-mailed and snail-mailed letters contain valuable, actionable information -- and in some cases, three-dimensional gifts -- to reward the customers just for reading the promotion.

One of my clients -- a financial publisher -- consistently invites his customers to free online video conferences, webinars, and teleseminars to help sharpen their investment skills.

And, of course, all of my clients give away valuable, content-rich e-letters, e-books, and even printed special reports.

Why? Because it works! The cost of adding a value component to our promotions increases our open rates, raises response and ROI, drives customer loyalty through the roof, and keeps our customers with us much, much longer.

RULE #2: Be a real, three-dimensional person with your customers. To make a friend, first show that you're willing to be a friend.

See, people don't bond with corporations. They bond with other people.

That means we want to connect a face with the companies we're dealing with.

And that face should have a personality.

It should have passion, principles, a fiercely pro-customer viewpoint -- and yes, even a sense of humor.

Show your affection and passion and concern for your customers at every contact. Share little stories with them... empathize with them... take them into your confidence and reveal your little non-fatal flaws to them. You'll be amazed at how much more positively your customers will respond to you.

RULE #3: Create drama.

Okay -- so you're contacting your buyers often... you're including something of value in most of the e-mails and snail-mail pieces you send them... and you're making sure your spokesperson seems like a real person, not a cardboard cut-out.

Now, what is the result of doing all of that? Well, for one thing, you're creating kind of an ongoing story line that engages your customers and keeps them reading what you send them.

This is a valuable concept. I always think about what the customer has experienced with us over the last few weeks before beginning to write a promotion.

What have we been telling them? Where did we leave them when last we spoke? What has happened in the news relative to our area of interest? I use that as a springboard -- then sit back and watch as readership and response rise.

RULE #4: Make sure every purchase makes the next sale easier.

It goes without saying that it's critical to make sure your copy never raises false expectations -- and that your product delivers everything you promise, and more.

You don't need to be a PhD to figure out that if your product disappoints, you may have lost a customer for life. Or that losing customers isn't exactly a good idea if your goal is to increase customer lifetime value.

Conversely, if your product over-delivers, you not only create greater customer loyalty -- you make it much more likely that your customers will buy again... and soon.

And over time, that naturally increases your response rates, average sale, ROI, and customer lifetime value.

Lots to think about...

[Ed. Note: Bonding with your customers is just one of the strategies you'll learn at Early to Rise's upcoming 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference. Every year, we bring in experts like Clayton Makepeace to give you the tools and techniques to be successful. Build your own fully operational Internet business in just five days. Registration at our low introductory price just started last week. Find out more here.

Master copywriter Clayton Makepeace publishes the highly acclaimed e-zine The Total Package to help business owners and copywriters accelerate their sales and profits. Claim your 4 free moneymaking e-books -- bursting with tips, tricks, and tactics that'll skyrocket your response rates -- at www.MakepeaceTotalPackage.com.]

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"Very clever and refreshingly straightforward." 

"I really liked the article on upsells. It seems like an easy way to get more sales. I can see there is a lot of potential when this technique is used correctly. 

"It seems that every ETR article I've been reading lately is very clever and refreshingly straightforward. ETR has become an important part of my life, and I use what I read to improve my personal life and my business." 

Justin Kander

Today's Words That Work: Retronym

"When planning campaigns to my clients' customer files," Clayton Makepeace said in his essay today, "I try to make sure that the e-mailed and snail-mailed letters contain valuable, actionable information -- and in some cases, three-dimensional gifts -- to reward the customers just for reading the promotion."

"Snail mail" is a retronym -- a new word or phrase coined to differentiate the original version of an object or concept from a new one. In this case, "snail mail" was coined to differentiate mail delivered by the post office from mail delivered instantly via the Internet.

Other examples: acoustic guitar/guitar, analog watch/watch, landline phone/phone, cloth diaper/diaper

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