I overheard a customer complaining recently that I was promoting a product too heavily.
After signing up for a free software trial, she was offended by the autoresponder sequence that followed.
It was too much, she felt bombarded, and found the experience off-putting.
(The autoresponder sequence contains 8 emails sent over 12 days. They deliver a lot of valuable information about how to get the most out of the software, plus offer a time-limited discount as incentive to buy.)
Some people love these emails. Some hate them.
While I understand both sides point of view, there’s a very good reason why I follow up so frequently in the first few days after someone signs up…
Because it works.
When Good Intentions Go Bad
As humans, our intentions are governed by the laws of physics and thermodynamics.
In other words, over time our intentions decay, slow down, wear out, grow cold and die.
We begin down a path with burning enthusiasm and excitement, but it doesn’t take long until we lose interest in the path.
Keeping Intentions Burning
To put this in a marketing context, when somebody visits your blog, trials your software, reads your sales letter, signs up to receive special offers - they do it with the best of intentions.
At that point, their interest in your product is at its maximum.
But every second that passes without them buying (or taking the next step, whatever that step is), their good intentions are atrophying - and they are growing cold and uninterested towards the idea that originally excited and enthused them.
It’s NOT because they no-longer want your product.
Usually it’s because life just gets in the way.
They have dry cleaning to pick up, a crying baby, a stressed spouse, mortgage repayments, a boss hounding them for an overdue project, a phone ringing, a pot of stew simmering on the stove, and a 9am meeting tomorrow morning.
They need you to remind them why they were interested in your product in the first place…
They need you to restoke their coals of desire…
They need you to “light a rocket beneath them”…
That’s IF you ever want to stand a chance of bringing them to the next step - the next point of decision - the sale.
If you don’t, your potential customer will atrophy, and your chances of success nosedive toward zero.
The Small Window for Followup Autoresponder Marketing
- For email subscriptions, you have just a few minutes to get someone to double opt in before you lose them.
- For software trials, you have just a few hours to get someone to install your software and begin using it before you lose them.
- For sales, you have just a few days to get someone to buy before you lose them.
Outside of these brief periods, the majority of potential customers will not take action.
Your job is to look for reasons to communicate with potential customers inside these brief windows - before they atrophy - and keep those coals of desire hot within them.
Epilogue: What Happened To Our Friend?
So what happened to our friend, who complained that she was receiving too many emails?
Well, she bought.
In fact, she’d already bought.
After receiving an email reminder that our discounted price was expiring, she had decided the offer was too good to refuse and bought - despite her offense at receiving the email to begin with.
Would we have made the sale if we didn’t follow up so heavily?
Probably not, I think.
It appears it was a followup email (a reminder that the discounted price was expiring) that spurred action here.
In the end it was a pyrrhic victory - we lost a fan (at least in the short term) but made a sale - but this story reinforced why follow-up autoresponder marketing is necessary.