An interested visitor who has been strolling through your site has finally found exactly what she is looking for, and is about to make a purchase. If she fails to complete the purchase due to any number of distractions or priorities, you just lost the sale. This can also be a problem if you are offering services – once the visitor leaves, chances are he or she will never find your site again. Even if your visitor bookmarked your site, most people have a glob of bookmarks they will never return to.

However, if you’d had the foresight to utilize an autoresponder that has captured her email address, you can follow up with her, and in all probability, make the sale.

Autoresponders are remarkable, versatile programs that do so much more than just automatically answer your email. Here are a few ideas that will help you to creatively and productively use your autoresponder to transform the casual visitor into a profitable customer. Use your autoresponder to:

1. Publish a newsletter. Certain quality autoresponders will manage subscriptions and follow-up with interested prospects. Your newsletter can keep your visitors informed about your services or products, while building your reputation as a credible expert in your particular business.

2. If you have an affiliate program for your business, publish a newsletter only for your affiliates. Inform them of current sales you are running and of promotional materials that your affiliates can use themselves to increase their commissions. Include tips, advice, and techniques that your affiliates can use to successfully go out and promote your business.

3. Write reviews. Cover books, software, music, e-books, movies, etc. that would be useful or interesting to your target market; and put each review into an occasional autoresponder, just to keep in touch.

4. Distribute your articles. Writing and distributing targeted articles is a powerful tool to build your business credibility, bring traffic to your site, and increase your sales potential. If your articles contain valuable information, many editors will print what is known as a resource box for you. A resource box contains your bio and a brief description of your service or product. It can also contain your autoresponder address. Let’s say you’ve written fifty articles. Put them on separate autoresponder accounts and create a master list that contains the titles of each article, the autoresponder address, and a brief abstract. Then promote your master list. Additionally, include your publishing guidelines so your affiliates can add their articles to your list, increasing the number of writers who are represented in your article list.

5. Create mailing lists. Inform subscribers about your articles when you’ve written new ones, that they may want to publish in their own newsletter or website.

6. Distribute advertising. Let’s say you sell advertising on your website or in your newsletter or e-zine. Set your autoresponder to send the information about rates and how to place an ad automatically to all prospects’ email addresses. Then have your autoresponder follow-up. It can also send notification of any special deals you are currently offering.

7. Distribute an email course. Each day, have your autoresponder send out another lesson. Just be sure that each lesson has quality content – not a sales pitch. Your content will do the selling for you, and will do it much more effectively. You can include tips centered on a different topic for each lesson, illustrating how your product will benefit the reader. Include the tangible benefits the visitor will reap by purchasing your product. Make sure to include a paragraph or two at the end of each lesson enticing your prospect to consider making a purchase.

8. Automate a reminder about your service or product after a visitor has completed your course. This will increase the possibility of sales from visitors who have taken your course but are dragging their feet about actually making a purchase. You can also use these reminders to promote new products or services, and the products and services of your affiliate programs.

9. Distribute free reports. This gives your visitor an idea of the type of information you can provide and the quality of your product or service. Make sure these reports are not sales letters or you will more than likely lose a potential customer than gain a sale.

12. Offer a trial version of your product. Give your prospects a sample of your ebook, course, software, membership, etc. If you are offering something of value and interest to your target market, they will want the rest. You can also capture their email addresses when you offer them a free trial from your website. Set up your autoresponder to give instructions on how to obtain their free trial, and then make sure to follow-up to try and close the sale.

13. Use an autoresponder on your order page. Post a request form for visitors to be notified of special offers or discounts in the future. This creates a very effective mailing list that contains the names of people who are already your customers.

AWeber is a good autoresponder service to check out. It’s reliable, and they make it easy to schedule ulimited autoresponders, follow up messages or eZines.

Emilie Nottle is a graphic/web designer, online strategist, and principal at Zooop Design – a full service graphic and web design firm. If you’re ready to make the most of your online presence, automate your marketing efforts, and grow your biz, subscribe to her monthly eZine here.
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