July 17, 2024

Stop Losing 80% Of Your Income With This One Simple Trick!

It’s getting close to a dreaded day in the United States: April 15, the day income taxes are due!

Nobody loves this day, because so much of your money suddenly ends up in the government’s hands.

Some people even believe that when poet T.S. Eliot wrote first the line “April is the cruelest month” in his epic work The Waste Land, he was talking about paying taxes.

I’m no poetry scholar, but I do know one thing about disappearing income (and preventing it from disappearing). In April, and in every other month of the year. It’s this little saying:

“The money is in the follow-up.”

Yeah, that phrase is not as poetic as T.S. Eliot’s work. But maybe it’s much more relevant to all of us doing business online.

That little phrase is a direct quote from a self-made multimillionaire Internet marketer. He bends over backwards to make sure every customer and affiliate was followed up with tender loving care.

If you’re wondering where I got the 80% figure I used in the headline for this blog post, I got it from him. He wasn’t speaking to be quoted publicly in a blog when he told me, but I’m sure he won’t mind my sharing with you this statistic he shared with me:

You only make, on the average, only 20% of the money you could from a customer when you make your first sale.

The remaining 80% of the money comes from following up with each customer!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve heard information like this!

But most people who tell it to you leave it to you to figure out what to do and how to do it.

I’d like to do better than that.

In the old days (like 20 or 30 years ago), follow-up could be very time-consuming. Handwritten notes and individually typed letters could take up a good portion of your day – or someone else’s, if you had help.

These days, programs like sendoutcards.com and email autoresponders make it much easier to follow up. With a little bit of extra effort, you can personalize automated messages – including the person’s name and what they bought from you. A well-written autoresponder message can create trust and loyalty, and keep your customer buying again and again.

So what to do and how to do it?

First of all, here’s a no-brainer. (And yet, if that’s so, there must be a lot of people in business out there with no brains – because a lot of people don’t even take this simple step!)

So this first step is, send a thank-you email when somebody buys. Thank your customer for their purchase. Tell them what it they just bought, and remind them of the benefits they will enjoy. And most important, tell them how to contact your business if they have a question or a problem.

This last point is crucial. You must have a responsive customer service operation (whether that’s one person active on the phone or email, or a set of full time employees dedicated to customer service, if you have a larger business). If you don’t have it, you are setting yourself up to lose your share of the 80% of the money.

The second thing you can do is send a “consumption” email. (In the Ultimate Copywriting Crash Course we have a whole section devoted to consumption emails, with five detailed templates.)

A consumption email is fairly straightforward. It contains 4 points:

1. Bring up a question on the mind of a lot of your customers

2. Give a surprise answer which doesn’t fully answer the question…

3. Then give the real answer to the question, and…

4. Drive home the key benefit you just illustrated.

I’ll give you an example.

If you were to buy the Ultimate Copywriting Crash Course, you would find it is filled with Templates (detailed yet easy step-by-step instructions on how to create copy quickly)… more than 100, in fact.

You could receive a consumption email that goes something like this:

Subject: what about the Templates?

Now that we’ve been through our first couple classes, I wonder if the
same question is on your mind that a number of students have openly
written to me about:

“David, what the heck am I supposed to do with these

It’s a fair question. And to be totally open about it, I have to admit they’re
not going to be worth much as a STUDY AID.

“What? Did you just tell me your Templates AREN’T

That’s right. If you are using them for study purposes, I can recommend at
least a dozen things that would make better use of your time.


When it comes time to write something…

THERE’S NOTHING ON THE PLANET (short of having your own personal
copywriter to do it for you) THAT WILL BE WORTH MORE TO YOU…

And then in the email I would go on to show how writing a typical email takes at least 3 hours… but with a Template, it only takes 20 minutes. A savings of 2 hours 40 minutes, or 89% of your time!

You see how that approach to a consumption email is a lot more engaging than simply giving the customer instructions for, or a “gentle reminder” about, using your product? :-)

You should have a whole series of consumption emails. People really appreciate it.

Now, the third thing you can do is let your customer know when you have a special offer going on, and give them an even better deal than people who aren’t customers. Successful business people do this all the time, and it adds greatly to their profits.

That means you need to know what your customers want more of. Talk to them. Survey them. Ask them.

But don’t stop there.

Once you know, get more of those things. Make them yourself. Or set up an affiliate relationship with someone else who sells what your customers want.

Then make an attractive offer so your customers feel good about buying from you.

Guess what?

A lot of them will!

In summary, here are three ways to capture follow-up business from your customers:

1. Send a personalized thank-you message, and include customer service contact information.

2. Send “consumption” emails telling your customers how to use what you sold them.

3. Find out what your customers want more of… and offer it to them!

Do those three things to get your share of the 80% of the money. Wouldn’t it be great to start now?

That way, instead of April being a painful month, it could eventually become known in your business as the month that started the most enjoyable increase in profits, ever!


David Garfinkel
Author of Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich

About David Garfinkel

David Garfinkel is founder of the World Copywriting Institute and the author of The Ultimate Copywriting Crash Course.


  1. It’s so much easier to sell to someone who’s already doing business with you than to find a new customer to do business with. The customer experience should be so great that they tell others about you.

  2. Renegade Marketer Pro says:

    Thanks for those great reminders, David. Those are “musts” to incorporate into our marketing. It’s shocking that most people don’t do those simple things.

    I’m coming to the conclusion it’s not as hard to be successful as we think. Hundreds of people will read this post and 2 of them will implement. If we want to stand out and succeed, we just have to be one of those 2 people.

    I thought your email was going to say “improve your copywriting and you’ll get better results.” :)

    I’m sure that wouldn’t hurt either! I love your templates.

    Thanks again!
    Kari Baxter

  3. Thanks, Kari.

    Re: “I’m coming to the conclusion it’s not as hard to be successful as we think. Hundreds of people will read this post and 2 of them will implement. If we want to stand out and succeed, we just have to be one of those 2 people.”

    I agree completely!

    What’s hard is not the doing. It’s not rocket science. It’s just common sense.

    What seems to be hard for a lot of people is getting the motivation to do the things you need to do on a regular basis. Call it discipline, focus, consistency… call it the drive to be successful, if you want.

    I would say what separates the 2 people who implement from the hundreds who don’t is doing the things that need to be done most or all of the time.


  4. Sometimes, I think people don’t do things that appear too simple or too easy. They think that if it isn’t complicated, then it won’t work.

  5. Thanx David,

    For more than you probably know.

    First, of course, is the information. That’s great.

    Second is for principles that can be implemented in other areas of life. As a copywriter,I’m sure you can readily see how several of the principles you lifted up can be applied to other than financial institutions. For example, I’m going to share this article with my pastor. Much of what you say can easily be applied to increasing membership. The way Jesus put it was “Wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

    Hey! I wasn’t calling you a snake. I was calling you a wise man.

    Third, you gave us a brilliant example of how to sell without grabbing the customer’s shirt-front and beating them over the head with a product. Thank you so much for that. I’m going to get my adult fellowship to do more reading by applying your principles. [I’m also going to buy your book!]

    Other than that, you didn’t have much to offer in your article. LOL. I love you.



  6. Charlene Carrillo says:

    Thanks David,
    I liked your reminders to follow up with our customers, without them we would not be in business.

  7. David: Thanks for reminding us of how easy it really is to be successful. We just have to remember to do the basics, and follow a few simple rules! And do them everyday.

  8. Hey David,

    I just wanted to thank you for your post this is so true, It is amazing how the follow up can build relationships and trust.


    Billee Brady

  9. David, thanks so much for this timely, though, ‘common sense’ reminder about how to take full advantage of the good relationship built with satisfied customers.

    Great content.

    Thanks, again

  10. Thanks for the great reminder, David!

    The three things I got from you wonderful post is to immediately write a thank you email to my prospects and clients. To go and look at your templates right away and start using them. And to write a few great Q&A emails for my list.

    One of the hugest weak links in my business model has been auto emails follow ups and I am ready to make it strong now. As Kari mentions the rule is that only 2 people will take action. So Kari, on this one I think it’s me and you, girl! :)

    Oh, and now I am off to tax stuff too…How sweet! :)

  11. David thanks for the great inside reminder.
    I’m going to keep this post as a note to set this up once I get my product services up and running.

    Thank again!

  12. David,

    I guess it is true, if it seems too easy we won’t do it… or don’t do it. It is something I put off, because I have more pressing things to work on. (at least in my mind)

    But… now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense! I am going to start working very hard on these three simple little steps to help grow my business.

    Thank you very much for writing this David!

  13. Great article David! Internet marketers will never get enough of being reminded exactly how important AND valuable follow-ups are. Thanks for reinforcing this =)

  14. follow up is hard, however, important…similar that we work hard to get new clients , but not follow up or work the existing ones, who have already purchased or cheaper to maintain..

  15. David, I love these simple yet powerful reminders. And Kari, you are so right about most people not implementing or following through. In fact, you’ve inspired me to take action on something I’ve been putting off — so thank you!

    And the truth is that if we’ve done our homework and attracted our ideal client, then we will want to follow up with them because we really enjoy working with them and value them.

    Thanks and warm wishes,

  16. Excellent advice, Customers appreciate being treated properly and that includes be thanked for their purchases. It reaffirms the number one rule of good marketing: relationship building. Give value, establish relationship, sell and give a genuine thank you. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Martin

  17. I have studied sales copy and the science of advertising which, shapes, colors and so on…that will increase your sales percentages.

    I wish this program would have been around a long time ago it would have saved me a lot of time.

  18. Hi David,
    Awesome article, yes sales copy is huge. I am glad that I am learning from a leader. Keep up the great value that you provide.

    Have a great day!
    Dave Steffensmeier

  19. Hi David

    Thanks – very important information which one does
    not always consider important. Willl implement in future.
    Thanks and warmest wishes

  20. Thanks David for that all too obvious overlooked information. Really what it comes down to is building long term relationships with your customers.A completelly different ball game than just making sales.

    best wishes


  21. Actually, it’s not trick, right? It’s a reminder to care our customers (post-sales) to get more orders from them. Most sellers know it but just some can do it. Me too. Due to lacking time, I did not care my customers, send ‘thank you’ email/sms and provide ‘consumption’ guides to them. I need to re-arrange my working calendar to do it. Thanks for your reminders.

  22. David Garfinkel says:

    Thuy, you’re right, it’s not a trick.

    I called it “a trick” to get your attention so you would be more inclined to read it!

    It’s actually a solid, proven, legitimate business practice that, sadly, most people don’t do. When they don’t, it’s a disservice

    a) to themselves and their own businesses

    b) and to their customers.

    I hope you re-arrange your working calendar to do this, as you mentioned. It’s not as thrilling as getting new customers… but… it helps you build a more stable business.



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