Pretty much every business owner knows how important it is to continually get new leads into a business.
However, much of the effort spent getting those leads would be wasted without doing this very important next step.
And I would wager that most business owners who are reading this know the secret I'm going to share about making the most of those leads.
However, very few actually DO this.
Why? Because it's not terribly exciting to do.
What am I talking about? I'm talking about follow up.
If you don't have a system and plan in place to regularly follow up with leads, then you're pretty much wasting your time generating leads in the first place.
Consider this - it takes most prospects 7-10 touches (or more) before they decide to do business with you. Most business owners stop following up after 3 times. So, in essence, what you're doing is educating your prospect so when they're ready to buy they'll end up buying from your competition.
Following up is the absolute KEY to creating a steady stream of new clients and customers coming in the door. However, it does take time and effort - time and effort that busy business people don't typically have. Worse, it doesn't always feel good to do. In fact, for some people it's just plain uncomfortable - you may feel like you're bugging your prospects when the reality is very different.
Because of this, it's very important to make following up as easy and effortless as possible (not to mention comfortable). How can we do this? Here are 5 ways to get started:
1. Start an ezine or email newsletter. This is hands down one of the best ways to follow up because a newsletter by definition is content-driven. And, if you're providing good, solid content to your prospects, they'll not only tolerate you following up with them but they'll welcome it. Why wouldn't they? You're giving them information they're interested in and can use, so of course they're going to look forward to getting your emails.
A drawback to ezines is they do take time to come up with content, so many business owners either don't publish one at all or publish it sporadically, which leads me to tip 2.
2. Create an email tip list. Shorter than an ezine, it's just a quick email that does contain content, but it doesn't take nearly so long to create. It can be a few tips or maybe just one tip with some explanation. It still should be considered valuable to your prospects, just make it a lot shorter.
3. Send a hard copy newsletter. Now this does cost more money because you have printing and postage, but the results are typically worth it. I personally have a hard copy newsletter I send to my clients, and they absolutely love it. The rule of thumb is if you get a good response via email, you'll get a better response if you print it out, put it in an envelope and mail it. It's definitely worth it to collect addresses and mail to your prospects, even if you don't want to put the time, energy or money into a regular printed newsletter. Which leads me to tip 4.
4. Send postcards. Postcards are quick and easy to produce and mail out, plus they can cost less then a hard copy newsletter. I send postcards out fairly regularly, and what I've done is create a postcard template so it's easy to adjust the copy and pop it in the mail. Again, you're getting the benefit of regularly mailing your prospects without putting in quite as much time, energy and money.
5. Create an ecourse or autoresponder series. The idea behind this is you create a series of emails that are content driven and you send them to your prospects. There are software programs out there, such as Constant Contact and 1ShoppingCart, which will send the emails out automatically for you. The benefit of this is you create the ecourse once, load it up in the software program once, then the rest is completely automated.
Now, as far as I'm concerned, the best follow up system is one where you use both email and direct mail. Email because it's fast and cheap, and direct mail because you'll get a better conversion rate. And the more often you contact your prospects the better. The best case scenario is to contact your list at least once a week, but if that gives you a headache to even contemplate, do something at least once a month.
If you have done one or more of these tips, for instance maybe you had an ezine for awhile but you haven't published anything in months, I strongly encourage you to pick it back up, dust it off, and get it back out there. If it's just too much work, then simplify what you're sending out. Create an ecourse or a tip list instead of an ezine. Just do something, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you start seeing a steady stream of customers coming in the door.
Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a copywriting, marketing communications and creativity agency. She helps people become more successful at attracting new clients, selling products and services and boosting business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site http://www.michelepw.com
Copyright 2008 Michele Pariza Wacek.