Growing your Internet business takes a lot of time and effort. Too many business owners simply don’t have as much time as they want or need to focus on sales and marketing efforts. Instead, they end up spending a disproportionate amount of time mired in a tangle of administrative duties.
Numerous consumer studies indicate that it takes several – typically 5 to 7 – contacts with your prospects to make a sale. And once you convert that prospect into a customer, the hard work continues to keep them from the clutches of your competitors, who are growing fiercer (and smarter) by the day.
Email autoresponders are an efficient solution to minimizing time spent on mundane (yet important tasks) and maximizing time spent on proactive business building efforts.
What is an autoresponder? It's a special email address that returns or sends a personalized message from you to your customer/prospect automatically through outbound emails (business owner initiated) or inbound emails (customer/prospect initiated).
Inbound Emails – Keeping existing customers very happy
Follow up with your customers automatically and immediately to: confirm an order; let them know that payment has been received and the goods are on their way; thank them for their business; follow-up with them X days after their purchase to make sure they're happy; offer special discounts on other products, and so on.
These are just a few of the ways that autoresponders can be used to lighten your administrative burden and enhance the customer experience.
Email Autoresponders are also an efficient way to respond to customer/prospect inquiries. By taking some time to develop a comprehensive FAQ (frequently asked question) document you can address questions quickly providing instant gratification for demanding customers.
Outbound Emails – Converting prospects into customers
We know that it takes several contacts with prospects to convert them. And, despite the growing popularity of online purchasing, studies suggest that consumers are still leery. A great way to overcome this is by adding an autoresponder opt-in web form to collect the names and email addresses of your prospects. By initiating ongoing communication through your information-packed ezine, training course, free ebooks or other value-added offers, you have an opportunity to build their trust and confidence in your firm as a credible source for products or services … while giving them every possible opportunity to buy from you.
Once the initial set-up of your autoresponder is complete you are ready to go on auto-pilot contacting your prospects and customers with personalized messages at times determined by you.
When setting up your email autoresponder for inbound emails it is good to set up several addresses to make it easy for customers/prospects to direct their questions and for you to track the nature of the queries. For example, questions relating to products would be directed to email@example.com; for general information to firstname.lastname@example.org, and so on. You develop a friendly message for each of the categories you create and the autoresponder will generate an automatic, personalized response.
Using an autoresponder program is a magnificent tool for anyone who uses e-mail in the course of conducting their business. Whether you are simply responding to incoming emails or using e-mail as a proactive business building tool email autoresponders can benefit everyone with the ability to revolutionize your business with a little up-front work and a minimal investment.
There are numerous autoresponder programs to choose from and there is a good chance that your host may even provide the service for free. If you are shopping around make sure that the program you choose gives you the flexibility (e. g. unlimited addresses and follow-ups, tracking features, etc. ) that you need to effectively and efficiently conduct your business.
Written by Gail Kaufman, co-founder of http://www.websitedesigngenius.com - a site dedicated to providing entrepreneurs, with little or no web experience, with information, tips, free ebooks etc. on do-it-yourself web site design.