How To Sell A Service With Follow Ups

Have you heard about how follow up autoresponders are a great way to sell chocolate?

In fact, they’re a great way to sell pretty much anything: shoes, books, even life experience.

The team at CareerShifters knows this. Each member has experienced career change, and they’ve turned that experience into a business.

And as Creative Director Neil Collman explains, “Using a follow-up series was the simplest way to build a relationship with visitors and demonstrate the value we can offer them.”

See how for yourself…

How They Build Relationships:

Changing careers is a big deal. It requires much planning and a (potentially scary) leap of faith. To guide their subscribers through the process gently, CareerShifters:

Welcomes subscribers into the group

“It’s Sab here from the Careershifters Team and I’m delighted to welcome you to our ever-growing community of career changers.”

 

Includes action items so readers can follow along

“ACTION: Take a moment to really get clear on what’s at stake if you do not make a career shift and what’s possible if you do. Then write it down.”

 

Provides something to look forward to in the next email

“Next time we’ll show you how to use your imagination to start building up a picture of the kind of career that will suit you best using the answers to today’s 5 key questions.”

 

Keeps it real by showcasing their cultural quirks

“Until then, make a strong cup of tea and have a proper sit down to work out how you could make a career change and still pay the bills!”

 

How They Make Sales

CareerShifters’ series promotes just one product, the CareerShifters guide. And they do this only once or twice per email. Otherwise, they’d go from pleasantly provisional to pushy. Their series:

Gives out bits for free to demonstrate the value of the whole

“Here are a couple more of my favourite exercises from the “Go Career Shopping” Chapter of The Careershifters Guide.”

 

Confirms that it’ll work for you with testimonials

“P.S. The Careershifters Guide really works, but we would say that wouldn’t we! So don’t just take our word for it — read what other people have said about it.”

 

Offers something that’s only exclusive to subscribers

“For a limited time only, we’re offering all our new newsletter subscribers 3 FREE exclusive bonus downloads with a purchase of the Careershifters Guide at the current discount rate of 19 pounds (normal price 25 pounds).”

 

Encourages forwarding (but respectfully, only when relevant)

“P.P.S. Don’t keep these Top Tips to yourself — if you know of anyone wanting to change careers then feel free to forward this email to them.”

 

And it’s working. People who go through Careershifters’ follow up course are more engaged when they click through to the site.

“Over the past 6 months,” Neil reports,”the bounce rate for these visitors is lower and the time spent on the site is higher than for our fortnightly newsletters.”

Your Own Series: Before and After

Your follow up series can have impressive impact on its own, but it can’t do all the work. You’ll need to introduce it to people in the first place. And you should stick around after it’s over. Here’s how:

At sign-up: Keep your opt-in form descriptive and clear. This is your chance to explain what new subscribers can expect to happen.

In your welcome email: Give subscribers something to look forward to. Explain the kind of content you’ll send, how often and how it will help them.

After the series: Keep in contact with broadcasts. Subscribers who weren’t ready to purchase during your series may want to eventually.

Of course, some people will be getting the follow-ups and broadcasts at the same time. Arrange your frequency accordingly so you don’t overwhelm them.

What Follow Ups Can You Offer?

What kind of product are you marketing? And what kind of information goes along with it?

What are your customers and prospects wondering about that you already know backwards and forwards?

Can you turn that into a follow up series?

By:
Amanda Gagnon is the former Education Manager for AWeber and has started a number of small businesses.

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27 Comments

  1. Thanks Amanda,

    that is some good advise.
    Now I understand better how to follow
    up properly with my leads.

    1/18/2011 12:37 pm
  2. I am going to have to get my thinking cap on folks.

    I sell advertising on my site to which there is a little bit more than just the face value. I feel that the things I have learned for respectful advertising and promotions like getting more backlinks ethically and being a guest blogger ethically and so on could be a good series follow up for my investors.

    It would have to be top notch tho and I’m not sure how I can integrate the series post purchase or whether I should offer up all the information first in the hope that many convert and invest into ethical advertising making a difference. Hmmmm…

    1/18/2011 12:38 pm
  3. Some things I know I did right. To get my site page rank 4 has been an incredible learning curve with action needed each step of the way. Perhaps my personal journey which readers could emulate would be a great series and if possible there could be a lot more activity happening.

    One thing I need to work out is how on earth do we make conversions. Now tha’ts a different story isn’t it?
    :-) K

    1/18/2011 12:44 pm
  4. This was very helpful. I’m just beginning my consulting business, and am giving away an eBook I’ve written on my website. It’s now time to write a series of follow up emails, and your information will be a big help! Thank you.

    1/18/2011 12:49 pm
  5. This is a great tip. The best use for an autoresponder is for building a relationship. You can’t really do that with just a few follow-up emails.

    I have created a variety of autoresponders and some are weekly tips/ideas that go on for 3 or more years. It gives me a lot of time to build trust but also many, many opportunities to promote my 18 various ebooks on relationship matters.

    I even make the autoresponders available to my affialiates so they can use the same technique to promote my materials.

    1/18/2011 12:52 pm
  6. Thanks for the great article Amanda. I coach my clients to build this type of follow up series in their marketing and it simply works. I have seen well crafted follow ups take a business from near death to being back in growth mode.

    The key is in making them automatic so each and every prospect gets the follow up.

    1/18/2011 1:10 pm
  7. I knew that I was missing something. I was missing the testimonials. Really important. I have to make a checklist everytime I make a campaign Thanks awebber.

    1/18/2011 2:19 pm
  8. I have a list that offers freelancers tips on how to run their business. I also sell an ebook if they want further help.

    In the beginning I was always pushing to sell my ebook. But when I shifted my focus to building relationships with people on my list is when I saw eBook sales finally start to take off.

    My focus has been sharing my personal journey as a freelancer, and offering moral support to people who are aspiring to be self-employed, as well as giving them lots of great free tips via email.

    It has resulted in a great response from my list, and ongoing income in the form of eBook sales..

    Oh ya, I also give them a free video and sample chapter for joining the list..

    Feel free to join my list, and learn from what I do here: http://www.setyourselffreelance.com/

    1/18/2011 4:23 pm
  9. Great tips and illustration!
    I started using Aweber for sending out Ezine only, as at that time I did not have any product. Now that I have two products for sale, I will explore creating follow up emails on the above lines.

    1/18/2011 5:05 pm
  10. HM

    Very nice tips – I am going to start trying these out and see how the open rate and click rate changes.

    I did the “provide something to look forward to” last time and that
    page got some additional hits from the readers!

    1/18/2011 8:26 pm
  11. Do you offer a total service that could be set for us? Do the whole thing?

    1/19/2011 2:28 am
  12. This really is a great article.

    I recently started a job (and left it, but that’s another story:-) where they use Constant Contact. I introduced them to Aweber, because here we can have unlimited autoresponders, while there they only barely have any if at all. How can they claim to be an email relationship platform without this, the absolute foundation of email relationships?

    1/19/2011 3:11 am
  13. Wonderful tips on how to create a better follow up sequence…

    For those who are promoting different products via JV’s, you can try using free powerful content that add value to your subscribers in your follow-up messages and send the promotions via broadcast messages =)

    1/19/2011 5:44 am
  14. Thanks for sending these followups to customers.

    1/19/2011 7:17 am
  15. The testimonials suggestion is a great one. I will include them in my followups to build up my jewelery brand too. And to further encourage my clients to promote my brand, maybe I can offer some benefits to those who forwards too.

    Thank you so much for the info! =)

    1/19/2011 8:06 am
  16. Great article. I’m also finding more and more that “short email” beats “long email” almost every time. It’s best to post an article on your blog for example and then link to it with a “blurb” in your email broadcast. Anyone else seeing this play out in their email efforts?

    1/19/2011 10:31 am
  17. Karen ~ It sounds like explaining the steps that you took could make an excellent follow up series which you could then use to convert investors.

    Dave ~ We offer the tools for you to send out follow up messages like these, but we don’t write them for you – those are best coming straight from you!

    Gidon ~ We appreciate that!

    Elliot ~ That’s a powerful story. Thank you for sharing it!

    Danny ~ You’re very welcome!

    1/19/2011 3:02 pm
  18. Great article with lots of new insights – thanks.
    Not just a whitewash of old concepts.

    1/19/2011 6:31 pm
  19. Great information! especially for people like me this will help me re-organize my way of doing my business. Thanks.

    1/23/2011 8:22 pm
  20. Thanks for these tips Amanda! The tips are really basic, and easy to follow. This guide is an interesting blue print for beginners.

    1/25/2011 12:09 am
  21. Is this cartoon based “rules” to follow “step by step” actually available to use in our followup email? It looks like people would read short messages in a cartoon format.

    1/28/2011 6:18 am
  22. Rurik ~ That’s actually just how our designers styled this post to get this information to you in bite-sized chunks. The actual Careerbuilder emails are written in paragraphs, like a letter.

    1/28/2011 9:09 am
  23. Yeah, I think its time to step my “followup game” up. I made 50 bucks today with my follow ups but I know I should be making more.

    I’m definitely going to be applying these tips.

    1/31/2011 2:09 am
  24. Amanda Thanks for the tips! Short and sweet always wins. I’m excited to see how follow ups are going to help increase our sales.

    2/4/2011 7:44 pm
  25. Thanks Amanda for sharing this example, I’ll make some improvements on my follow ups. Thanks again.

    3/11/2011 5:58 pm
  26. Great advice. I always seem short on my ability to follow up. I will for sure take this to heed.

    10/25/2012 4:37 pm
  27. That’s some really great advice. Simple, to the point but sadly overlooked by many online marketers.

    The best advice I can give is to keep in touch with your list. Add a new message to your sequence at least once a week with advice or tips for your subscribers, perhaps just a story about your experiences and maybe 1 in 4 emails could then have a sales message, as long as it feels natural. If you can keep your audience engaged, just watch your sales go up.

    1/3/2013 9:04 am