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How to Structure a Follow Up Series

By: Beka Ruse

Beka Ruse is the Business Development Manager at AWeber Systems, Inc.  AWeber offers one of the first available automatic message setup systems.

Marketers the world over use follow up autoresponders to increase sales.  But, many struggle to write a compelling message series. Don't let that keep you from your share of the profits! Print and follow these instructions; you'll soon be following up with finesse.

(Examples in this article use the fictional product "Green Garden Lawn Fertilizer". Any similarity to actual products is unintended and coincidental.)

Message 1 - Big Benefits

Many of the sales resulting from your follow up series will come after the very first message. Keep this message short. Just take 500 or so words to flesh out a handful of your biggest benefits.  For example, part of the Green Garden Lawn Fertilizer company's first message might read: 
"A Lush Lawn: Green Garden Fertilizer will give you a lush lawn in just 2 weeks! Density will increase up to 50%...

"No More Brown: Watch your lawn become 3-5 shades greener with regular treatments..."

Message 2 - Establish a Need

Use your second message to explain why your product is necessary.  First, lay out the situation leading to a need for your product.  Then, show that your product will meet that need. For instance:
"...Lawns across the country are looking dull. Homeowners water and mow to no avail. But, not those who use Green Garden Fertilizer!  They've created lush, beautiful lawns..."

Message 3 - Tool Talk

In your third message, show the lead how he will go about actually using your product. Detail any tools or supporting material that you offer.  In the case of our fictional Green Garden Fertilizer, part of this message might read:
"...This treatment is a cinch: Simply attach the included diffuser to the end of your garden hose, creating a sprinkler. Run the sprinkler for 15   minutes each week. You will see an improvement after just one treatment!"

Message 4 - The Wildcard

Customize message four for your unique product. Try one of these ideas:
  •   Have a customer case study? This is a great place for it.
  •   Selling complimentary products? Detail one of them here.
  •   Selling a real-world product? Explain shipping / tracking now.
  •   Have a bricks and mortar office? Invite the prospect to visit. Include directions.
  •   Are you personally a visible part of your brand? Include your bio here.

Message 5 - Questions? Comments

Your lead may be waiting to purchase until you explain one particular thing. By asking outright, you can speed the sales cycle to a close.

Start the fifth message by asking your prospect if he has any questions. Give him several ways to reach you, and include your hours of operation and time zone.

Take the rest of the fifth message to answer some of the questions your prospects ask most often. For instance:
"Are you excited about the lush lawn you'll have with Green Garden Fertilizer? I hope so! Let me go   over some questions our customers have asked in the past..."

Message 6 - Testimonials

With your sixth message, show off your satisfied customers. Choose several of your best testimonials, and list them here. Look for quotes from customers who are obviously excited about your product, but that still sound believable. For instance, choose:
"I'm thrilled with my Green Garden Fertilizer! Just two weeks, and my lawn looks better than it has in years."
Instead of:
"Green Garden Fertilizer is miraculous! It turned my back lot into a rolling meadow in days - and that lot is paved!"
(The testimonials in this article are made up examples. All of your testimonials, however, must be real. Fabricating testimonials is illegal.)

Message 7 - Last Chance

Your final message serves as one last reminder of your product. Briefly reiterate its most impressive features. Then, throw in a few testimonials or a very short case study. Round out this message with your contact information. Our example product's final message might read:
"Over the past several weeks, you've heard about how Green Garden Fertilizer can turn your lawn around. Customer Dusty Dan tried it, and he says, 'My lawn has never looked better...'"

Follow Up With Finesse

Automation means that good follow up doesn't have to be have to be time consuming. Now, creating a message series is just as easy!

© Copyright 2002, Beka Ruse

Other Articles by Beka Ruse

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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