1) Follow up.
2) Follow up.
3) Follow up.
4) Follow up.
5) Follow up.
6) Follow up.
How do I know this to be true?
Because recently we launched a book on Membership Sites. As is the norm, we give the best price to our members at 5000bc. We also let them know about the product a lot in advance. They read it in announcements, on the forum etc. So what price would your members choose to buy the product at? The lowest possible price or a higher price?
You'd be surprised at what you'd find…
Our logical minds would tell us that the lowest possible price is when you'd pick up a product. But that's not the case. Yes, many members do pick it up at the member's price. But at least 15% or more pick up the product/service/workshop at a higher price.
Now why would they do that?
We can't say. And neither can you. Maybe they weren't convinced. Maybe they didn't read the earlier emails. Maybe they were on vacation.
Maybe—and the maybes don't matter.
What does matter is that a reasonable number of buyers (and we're still talking members here) do buy at a higher price, and on a later date. Which means that if we didn't follow up, those sales may not have happened.
And this little insight shows you that if your closest, tightest band of followers aren't paying that much attention after being reminded over and over again, how will the rest of your audience react?
Yup, you got it right
The rest of the audience is more skeptical, more distant and so yes, logically they would react much slower. The less connected your audience is to you, the more they'd hesitate to buy your product. And hence, if you don't follow up, you miss the chance of getting the sale from this audience for sure.
But that's not all.
When you miss out on a sale, you don't just miss out on one sale
I recently bought a series on “how to draw trees, how to draw skies” etc. I bought that product about three weeks ago. Yesterday, I bought some more product from that very same instructor. So what are the chances that I'd buy the second series, if I'd not bought the first?
Which is all very fine in theory, but how do you follow up without being a pest?
Well, it depends. There are several ways of following up. Yes, the most effective way is to be direct and to the point. That means an email that says: “Announcing the book on XYZ…” is going to get far more response than anything else you can send to your list.
That single announcement that is pure sales and nothing else will get a far greater open rate than any other email. Yes, it's salesy, but customers want to buy from you. So if you have something to sell, they want to see it.
But being direct and to the point continuously, isn't the best of ideas
If you keep pummelling someone with sales offers, they'll soon tire of you, and stop paying attention no matter how great your offer. You can however, follow up with other methods. E.g. a book excerpt. Or a few testimonials from clients embedded in your weekly newsletter. Or an interview where you talk about your book.
As you can tell, there are many ways to follow up for a single product
And you don't want to do them all at once. The mistake that rookies make is that they send out the excerpt, the testimonials, the interview etc. all in one email.
Well, fine, so now what do you have left to send to you list, when you want to follow up? Not a lot, huh! So keeping the follow up sequence ready is pretty darned critical. And yes, make sure you create this sequence well in advance.
Yes, in advance. When you're first selling a product/service all your cylinders are firing. Yes, you may be exhausted from having to put the product together, put the sales sequence etc. but that's the point when you're most focused on your product.
If you put together the entire sequence—or at least six follow up steps, you'll get those follow up steps out of the door on time. If you don't, you'll soon get distracted with taking a break or just launching something else, and your existing product will get bounced to a black hole on your to-do list.
So follow up:
1) Follow up many times. Six is a good starting point.
2) Even your best customers don't pay attention the first time, or even the fifth time.
3) A great starting price is often not incentive enough. Your best customers are likely to buy even when the price rises, so keep at it.
4) If your best customers are not paying attention, ahem, guess how much more work you have to do for the rest of your customers.
5) So it's one sale. Nope, it's not. If you don't make this one, you miss out on future sales as well.
6) You can indeed follow up without being a pest—provided you plan your sequence of follow ups.
7) If you front-load all your follow-ups in one email, you have nothing to follow-up with. So yeah, space them out.
8) Plan and put the follow-ups in place at the time when you're most exuberant (and yes, most exhausted). It may not make sense to work when you're so fed up of everything, but once the moment passes, it will be even harder to put any sequence together.
And that's it
You now have the 6 Most-Important Lessons in Marketing.
Unless you follow up 9 or 10 or 15 times.
Next up: What is the meaning of life?
This utterly vast and philosophical question pops into our lives with amazing frequency. But is it the right question to ask? What if we move the words around a bit and asked another question.
Like: What gives your life meaning?
Hmm, that changes things a bit doesn't it? And even when we change the words, we may still move towards the specific. So why does the abstract help more? Find out here: The Meaning Of Life? Or A Life of Meaning? How To Solve This Eternal Problem
Joel Zaslofsky says
Well Sean, you just created another marketing manifesto in less words than anyone else I know. I’ve been poor with my follow up sequence in the past – especially due to my limiting (and strange) business ethics – but aspects of this follow up mindset apply to me.
Next time around, I’m doing it the Sean D’Souza way. I wonder how many times I’ve said that to myself in the past couple of years…
Definitely not a popular idea. I mean to start with direct selling on your emails.
But I find the thought interesting, especially when, according to the article, that approach is followed up with a more in depth information or content about what you’re trying to sell.
I like how detailed the article was about the importance of follow up.
The points were actually very convincing Sean, that I’ve “Kingged” the post on Kingged.com, an IM social networking site, where I have first read it.