by Alexandria K. Brown
There are many Web sites I visit every
day and will
probably never return to again. It's not that I didn't
like the site, or that I wasn't interested in the
topic, services, or products offered. It's just that I
wasn't ready to take action right now. So I clicked
away and will probably forget about them.
The danger of this happening at YOUR site is that you
just lost a great prospect. After all, I'm
pre-qualified. I was already interested in what you
had to offer. I likely found your site via a search
engine, Web directory, advertisement, article, or
another promotion. I clicked through to your site
because I wanted to learn more.
But studies reveal that I'm most likely NOT going to
take action the first time I visit your site. Have you
heard the statistic that it takes about *seven*
contacts before prospects are ready to buy? (That's a
lot of times!)
So how can you get the chance to contact me another
*six* times? The answer is to CAPTURE me then and
there -- that is, get my e-mail address. To do this,
you'll have to offer me something valuable in return.
If you just tell me to "sign up for our mailing list,"
you're not going to get squat.
So what can YOU offer me? Here are some ideas that
have been proven to work when done well. Of course,
the *content* for all of these should tie-in to your
1. A FREE MINI E-MAIL COURSE.
These are becoming very popular right now. You simply
create a few e-mails' worth of content to spread out
over a certain amount of days. You'll need an e-mail
autoresponder to do this, which allows me to sign up
for your course automatically. Many sites seem to
offer five- or seven-day courses, and many of them are
awful. So here's a chance for YOU to stand out: Make
sure yours offers really useful or interesting content
that's more "how to" than salesy. Then in the last
e-mail, tell me how your services/products will
further help me -- lead me on to the next step.
2. A FREE E-ZINE (e-mail newsletter).
If you can produce new content on a regular basis,
this is your BEST option, because you're receiving
permission to contact me (and market to me) again and
again! You'll always be on my mind. And if you're a
solo professional who is marketing your own services,
this gives you *multiple* chances to prove your worth
and gain my trust over time. The only drawback to this
option is that publishing an e-zine requires a good
amount of time and effort on a regular basis, but the
rewards will be worth it.
3. A SPECIAL VIP/PROMOTION LIST
If I like what I see, and you give me the chance to
receive *special offers* that will save me money at
your site, I'll be sure to sign up for your list. For
example, one site I love buying from is
http://www.BlueFly.com. They offer designer clothes
and accessories (e.g. BCBG, Fendi, Prada - I'm
salivating right now!) at discount prices with
exceptional customer service. Throughout their site
and when you place an order, there are invitations to
sign up for "discounts, exclusive offers, and first
looks." Count me in!
4. A FREE SPECIAL REPORT OR E-BOOK.
Here's another neat idea -- give people a special
report or short e-book related to your topic of
interest. Not sure where to start? Try a top-10 list
of tips, a list of relevant resources, or a collection
of articles you've already written. The more "how-to,"
the better -- give me real, useful information. But of
course make sure it implies that YOU and YOUR BUSINESS
are the best resource in the end. This is a delicate
balance to achieve, but it's not as hard as you may
think. And at the end of your content, tell me how
your services/products will further help me. (Again,
lead me on to the next step.)
5. DON'T FORGET TO FOLLOW UP!
Once you capture a list of prospects, you'll need to
contact them again. We'll cover the art of follow up
in an upcoming article. Of course, if you're
publishing an e-zine, that's already set. (Hooray for e-zines!)