Let's say you have a dinner party.
You send out invitations.
You arrange for the catering.
You have the finest wine.
And when the guest knocks on the door, what do you do?
You send your ‘personalised robot' to say hi and welcome the guest through the doors, right?
Just like you do with your autoresponder message every single day.
You spend all this time trying to get ‘guests' to your website.
And what do you do?
Send them a crummy autoresponder, that's what. And pray how does that autoresponse make your guest welcome? They know you're using a robot. They know you're being impersonal. And you know it too. And guess what, it's the first impression!
And first impressions do count
Which is why when we started out in 2002, I used to respond to every single subscriber that ever subscribed. As soon as the email came through, I'd write a little note to the subscriber. And that little note changes the relationship between you and the subscriber. The subscriber becomes Mechele, or John, or Anita, or Karla. It ceases to be just another subscriber.
Oh I know you don't have the time
We get hundreds of subscribers. To me, it's not about having the time, but making the time. And the reason is simple. You spend all this time and money trying to get customers to your site. And when they get there, you don't even say hello.
So what's the result of a quick hello?
A chunky 20%-40% of the subscribers respond. And their response is warm, and engaging. Like Mechele's.
Found you this morning on Copyblogger, and after reading your comments, I quickly rushed to your site to sign up for your newsletter. After entering my email address on your website, I must admit I was expecting the usual ho hum, boring, and standard autoresponder message. (I am a copywriter by trade, and am numb to the salespeak, empty promises and marketing hype that I read on many blogs and newsletters.) However, your personal email this morning was refreshing and unexpected.
If this quick and personalized response is a preview of your great content, I honestly can’t wait to read more of your wisdom and musings. I am a true believer that the personal touch goes a long way.
With this one simple gesture, you’ve already exceeded my expectations and I haven’t read one word of your content.
To your success,
Let's face it.
You can spend all the money in the world.
You can do all the big alliances and all the fancy joint ventures.
But when it comes down to the brass tacks, your mum was right.
Say please. Say thank you. Say sorry.
And say hello.
P.S. We still send an autoresponder. But the hello is what we said in the year 2002, and six years later I still spend the time every hour to write back to new subscribers and say hello, and welcome to Psychotactics.com
While I was still reading this, at first I wanted to ask you: what about the perceived success new subscribers think you have?
I was thinking that it’s one thing for a small startup to personally welcome each and every subscriber, but after a while, if the startup becomes a success, wouldn’t this be too much of a burden for the startup?
So I thought a subscriber would think along these lines. So how could you claim to have say thousands of subscribers, run a profitable business and then still reply to each and every new subscriber?
However, after I got to the end of the article, I see the potential in this way of doing business. And I guess there are ways you can deal with this if you have a really big number of new subscribers every day so they don’t suspect the honesty of your claims.
Thank you for the great idea!
Feedback Secrets says
This strategy is an interesting way of combining social media style marketing with a long-time trusted tool of the trade.
I might experiment with this technique and see what kind of results I get.
Sean D'Souza says
I know of Gary Vanyerchuk who responds to about a thousand emails a day. And while I don’t respond to a thousand emails, I respond to over two hundred. I also respond to forum posts, blog posts etc.
I think it’s important.
So I do.
Just as I’m responding to this post here. 🙂
Kevin morton says
hi loved tis artical going to reed more but theaudeo clip peano bit and add at the end plez its not needed
Sean D'Souza says
I’ve seen some pretty awesome results–and not just my own. One of my clients got such amazing feedback, and the chance to be on TV stations in the US, by simply responding after I told him to do so.
I agree completely with what you’re saying here, but I had to chuckle at the end of your podcast when you put a generic recorded ad telling people to check out the site. You’re doing the same thing as you’re advising against just in a different format!
Take the 15 seconds at the end of your podcast and don’t be impersonal to your entire audience of listeners!
Sean D'Souza says
So what would you suggest I put in at the end of a podcast to make it personal?
Leesa Barnes says
I call everyone who makes a purchase through my website. Whether it’s a $7 item or a $1997 product, I pick up the phone and call them.
This is a change I made recently and I just LOVE the reaction I get. My customer is shocked to hear my voice. I can hear them chocking on coffee as they say “Is this **the** Leesa?”
I thank them for making the purchase, then I ask what one problem they hope my product will solve. I dedicate 15 mins to each customer. If I get their voicemail, I mention their website or business name as well so they know it’s not a robotic recording.
I find the time by making this part of my sales and marketing process. I offloaded ALOT of administrative stuff to my VA which has freed me up to do more follow ups with my customers.
Now, I’ll have to consider how I can personalize my message to my ezine subscribers. Sean, you offer a fabulous idea, but since I’m a better talker, perhaps a free 30-min “ask me anything” group call? That’s not personalization, but at least it gives subscribers access to me. What do you think?
Debbie Munoz says
Enjoyed reading your guest post on Copyblogger, and hopped on over to your site. Your stuff is fantastic…I’m so happy to have found you.
I read the comments above about the advertisement that you play at the end of your audio file. I’m not sure you can “personalize” it for each listener, but you can make it more personal-sounding. Right now, it may come off sounding too much like a commercial.
You have a lovely voice and a nice accent, why don’t you just invite us over to your site to introduce ourselves in your regular voice (not the commercial voice). You could say something like “Hi, I’m Sean DSouza, I help people understand why customers buy and why they don’t. If you like what you heard today, then I invite you to come my blog at http://www.Psychotactics.com and introduce yourself.”
Hope that helps somehow. I have enjoy reading your material, and find your blog posts very inspiring. Thank you for sharing all that you do.
Sean D'Souza says
That’s a good point.
See? You helped me there. Thanks so much.
I thought that voiceover was needed. It’s actually a professional voice over. Well, you’ve shown me the ‘error’ of my ways.
Exactly how many hours a day would it take to answer a
thousand emails if you took only 1 minute per email? What planet
does Gary Vanyerchuk live on? It must have very long days.