Give Customers Exactly What They Want--Via E-Mail

E-mail and web forms -- providing customers what they want and enticing them to purchase.

In my own opinion, my own success as an Internet publicist and news distributor is based wholly and totally on giving my customer exactly what he or she wants. Internet technology allows for significant personalization and customisation of products and services. It is up to us as business owners to explore and maximize how we use the technology to communicate to our prospects just how well we will treat them.

Numerous web page design which provide vehicles for enhanced business-to-business personalization and customization.

Web forms: Sure you can have a guest register asking for detailed information about your prospect. But what is the incentive to provide such information? Yes, you can offer incentives for providing this information--contests, newsletters, etc. But to enhance your treatment of the customer, you have to provide a very personal value-added reason for taking the time to provide personal information at your site. To benefit your business, it also has to be something that can lead the prospect closer to a sale.

This can be accomplished by designing the text and web form registration to offer a free recommendation, strategy, tips, or response to a key question, concern, or need. If you indicate a willingness to listen to the customers' unique problems or needs, they will often tell you quite plainly, exactly what they are looking for. Then you can respond and satisfy the stated need with precision.

For example, as an on-line publicist, I have a web form that offers a free recommendation on how they can use publicity to enhance their business goals and objectives. They often identify their prospects, overall business goals and objectives, and what they are trying to accomplish with this campaign. When I respond, often within the hour, I answer their question and, of course, explain how I can assist them in reaching their goals.

Custom Web Personalization: My newest web site -- the Internet to Media Fax at carries customization and personalization to a new level -- using a custom cgi-proprietary program that allows web site users to design their publicity solutions themselves. This site uses custom push technology -- but instead of allowing media editors to select what information they wish to receive -- it allows business owners to select the exact recipients of their news releases. This is the reverse of the existing model, and instead places the custom push technology into the hands of the user on the front end.

Business-Quality E-Mail: I am a dedicated student and practitioner of a new literary genre -- I call it Business-Quality E-Mail. I believe it is perhaps the most critical element in the equation for successful Internet commerce. The e-mail message sent to a prospect is the spark that makes or breaks the sale. We all know just how personal e-mail is. We are acutely sensitized to spam, and unsolicited commercial e-mail. But how many of us have devoted significant effort to honing and perfecting the e-mail responses we send to our web visitors and prospects?

Do a self assessment and study your web site and the various type of messages you send to customers. You can do the latter by simply analyzing your outbox.

Do you even have a means by which customers can contact you with personal business questions? Does the web form on your site provide an incentive to provide registration information? What type of form do you use? What type of incentive? What type of information do you receive? Does it provide you with a good reason and basis for further business development with your prospect? How do you respond to prospect questions? Do you use a standardized response? Do you use a personalized response? How well written is your response? Does your response contain a valuable offer? A reason and incentive to continue a dialog with you?

How do your prospects respond? Do they purchase? I have adopted several simple techniques for enhancing prospect response and converting a high proportion of prospects to sales.

Basically my rule of thumb is that I always make it worth the customer's while to contact me. I help them somehow, every time we interact.

First, I always give them something extra for free, to provide added value that surpasses the customer's expectations (typically, free tips or information). My expertise is valuable, and I share tidbits to make the customer want more. I maintain file folders filled with 'ready to go' useful problem-solving information that I can simply cut and paste, and then personalize to address a customers concerns, desires or interests. Whenever a new prospect identifies a new problem, I take the time to develop a careful response, and add this response to my file of ready-to-use solutions.

Then I take the care to respond personally, using my Business-Quality E-Mail approach. I rarely send a standard brochure via e-mail, although it may serve as the boilerplate for a personalized response. I do not allow my e-mail to slip into the typical personal -- stream of consciousness style so common in short snappy e-mail messages. I stopped this years ago after seeing that prospects responded better, and purchased more, if I responded with a more formal and respectful e-mail style. The response begins -- Dear Ms. Smith: -- I write slowly and carefully and place the same care and effort into my e-mail response as I were writing a formal letter on 100%-cotton bond letterhead and signing as President of my company. I talk to my prospect directly in the first person. I answer their specific questions and explore their line of inquiry.

Second, I always give the prospect yet another reason to continue his or her dialog with me. This continues throughout the pre-sale period, the actual sale and beyond -- where I make repeat sales and create an ever expanding pool of loyal customers. I ask myself what else can I offer the prospect to keep him or her coming back for more. It is usually an offer to provide additional relevant, problem solving personalized information for free! It may be an extra distribution, or a discount, or an offer to provide comments on a news release with tips on how to increase response.

Believe it or not, I do not use my e-mail to tell them that I've got the greatest digital whosawhatis the world has ever seen. However the sincerity, helpfulness, personal and professionalism of my response leads them to draw that same conclusion for themselves. I've found -- and incorporated into every part of my business -- that with Internet business, business-quality e-mail communications really counts.

Figuring out what my prospect wants is one of the most critical decisions I make as a business owner. In most cases, I then spell out precisely what I thinks my customer needs, and what I can do to help, and then proceed assertively. I don't go for the moon all at once. I set a goal with each and every prospect, achieve it, and then build on that base. This basically takes advantage of what every good planner knows -- how to take advantage of thinking three steps ahead, while proceeding one step at a time.

Paul J. Krupin's Imediafax website allows you to easily choose individual media contacts from a massive database and send them a targeted press release. Paul can be reached at:
Direct Contact Publishing
P. O. Box 6726, Kennewick WA 99336
800-457-8746 or 509-545-2707 Fax: 509-582-9865
dircon@owt.com

  

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