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.
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!
Author of Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich