When to Start Building a List
To track profitability I always maintained a full list of product buyers in Excel, but somehow never got round to setting it up onto an automatic mailing system (auto-responder), so that I could keep in contact.
It was something I intended to do when my list was big enough. In the meantime, I assumed that if people wanted me, they knew where to find me – and would get back to me. Bad move – read what happened!
Producing a Squeeze Page
Once a few people had inquired, then not got round to buying, I was easily persuaded of the wisdom of producing a squeeze page to collect email names. The link will open in a new tab to show you the little-known and very affordable WordPress plugin I use. So I'm now collecting the names of my prospective clients in return for a free eBook explaining more about my service.
Aweber, the auto-responder I use to record them and stay in contact has an email formatter which is very easy to use and produces extremely attractive newsletters, easily. It offers a one month free trial here.
However I hadn't implemented a follow-up sequence for people who bought from me, imagining it would be easy to keep track and follow-up with them individually. Happily the buyers list grew, but in parallel the follow-ups got more time-consuming. Life just got in the way and it fell by the wayside.
So one of the other early tasks in my coaching program was to implement follow-ups with my clients, checking they received their product and offering another one.
Actually I'd tried adding previous buyers to a newsletter sequence with an earlier AutoResponder provider but they insisted that my contacts had to “opt-in” even though they were existing buyers. I was disappointed to find that only 11 agreed to opt-in. I guess everyone's in-boxes are too full and they just thought (like I did!) they knew where to find me from their previous purchase. In fact, several people had already made repeat purchases, so to some extent the existing “system” was working. Although I sent general newsletters to “the eleven” there was no feedback and I eventually got disillusioned and let it go.
One of the missions of my coaching program has been to add a proper ordered follow-up system for my buyers – this I have now done, and tested it out.
Contacting Previous Customers
So I sent the final email in the new buyers sequence (encouraging them to buy another one – slightly more subtle than that!) as a newsletter to my “11 old buyers” – and am delighted to say that a client from THREE YEARS ago and in New Zealand, bought another test.
We're not talking big money here, but it's the principle that a satisfied client was reminded to buy something else from me because I put it in front of him.
And the even better news is that the whole sequence has been automated for future buyers to slot into.
So the take-home message is: Happy customers often buy again, so click for a free one month trial of Aweber and it's never too early (or in my case, too late) to start building your list.
Update December 2015: Although Aweber is still an excellent auto-responder, I late changed my auto-responder to GetResponse, for reasons described in this post: Email Marketing and Deliverability