Using Email to Turn Prospects Into Customers

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Let’s face it, turning an anonymous visitor on your web site into a paying customer is not easy. Regardless of whether a visitor comes to you from search, another web site, advertising or your social efforts, getting them to take the plunge is difficult. Rather than drive a visitor exclusively to taking the ultimate plunge (making a purchase), make sure you give the visitor the opportunity and incentive to go an alternative direction if they are not yet committed. Otherwise, your potential customer may walk out of your “store” and never come back.

You can provide visitors an alternative direction by subscribing to your email. To accomplish this, follow these steps:

1) Provide an email sign up form right on your home page that is clearly called out and visible. And make sure it works (I can’t tell you how many sites I have seen offering an email subscribe option that didn’t work).

2) Give visitors a good reason to subscribe to your emails. If you have whitepaper about your product or service you can give them for signing up, that would be great. A coupon or discount will also work, but might not be the most compelling reward to someone who is not already a customer.

3) Deliver on your reward. If you promised a visitor something for singing up for your newsletter, make sure they get it. Failing to do so will put a dent in your relationship right from the start.

Once someone signs up for your email newsletter, you now have a chance to turn your anonymous visitor into a paying customer. But, you don’t want to only just send this person the same newsletter you send to your paying customers. If you had a physical store front where you sold your product or service, would you talk with an existing customer the same way you would a prospect? You now have an opportunity to communicate the benefits of your product or service and turn that once anonymous visitor into a customer.

It’s okay to include this person on your regular newsletter, but as a business you likely have the email addresses of your customers. If this new address is not on that list, it likely means they are not a customer and you can send them through a sequence of targeted communications to put them on the road to become one. To do this takes some planning and work, but it will be well worth it. Now that you have this prospect engaged in the conversation, their response rate will be much higher if you approach the communication correctly.

Ideally, you will have a series of emails planned for email prospects to send over time. In these emails you are not pushing for a sale but are cultivating the relationship. No one wants to be sold to and making someone feel that way is a sure-fire way to turn off the lines of communication.

Your prospect email plan should include the following components:

1) Education about specific components of your product or service

2) Key features which differentiate you from others.

3) Opportunities for the prospect to give you more information about their wants and needs in exchange for additional benefits or rewards. For example, if they fill out a survey of what products they are most interested you will give them X,Y, or Z. Then leverage the knowledge learned from any additional information to further customize your communication. As an example, if you are a clothing store and sell shoes, pursues and dresses and you email a survey to the prospect about what they are most interested in and they say purses, you can have a scheduled chain of email communications which proceeds on educating the consumer about the line of purses you carry, the benefits of buying these purses from you, etc.

Remember, in the emails you send your prospects, you are not selling. You are educating and if you do a good job, chances are good that you will turn that once anonymous visitor turned prospect into a paying customer. And while it sure seems like a lot of work to get there, chances are this once anonymous visitor would have just walked out of your “store” and never come back.

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