Sometimes it takes a good dose of reality to bring us down to earth and change what we are doing.
It all started 15 or so years ago when I received an email that asked the question, “do you know of a good eBook software out there?” I was in total shock when I received this email.
This customer had just purchased a product of mine called eCover Generator. It was one of the first pieces of software that created eCover (ebook) graphics. They now wanted to find a piece of software to help them create the ebooks. What they didn’t know was a previous product of mine was the most popular software, at the time, to create ebooks!
Back then, ebooks were totally different than they are now. Basically they were just a set of compiled HTML pages. I had created and was marketing the most popular software to create them. Once that software was successfully selling, I created the software, eCover Generator, to create digital covers for those ebooks. That’s why I was in shock.
I thought EVERYONE knew about my eBook Generator software…it took a good dose of reality to help me understand that not everyone knew of me or my products.
My software was selling so well that I thought everyone knew about it. I was fortunate this customer asked me and didn’t go elsewhere to look for it. I gladly told them about my product.
Because of this dose of reality, I immediately put a couple of things into play:
- Scheduled follow-up system (covered in my previous articles)
- Added something very simplistic – an email signature file.
I know this may sound crazy to you, but we started listing every one of our products to the signature file at end of every email we sent out. We kept it up-to-date as we added new products and deleted old ones. At one time we had 20+ products listed. The bottom line is, just by adding our products (with a clickable link to each one) in a signature file on the bottom of emails we were already sending out, we increased our sales by 10%. Think about it — we increased our sales by 10% by doing nothing more than we were already doing except for creating a template to be used with all the emails we were already sending!
While this is still a VERY GOOD idea, it finally became to cumbersome for us and looked terrible when the signature file was longer than the email. LOL.
We then changed to using a P.S. with me asking a question. For example (when we still were doing the Big Seminar) we added a P.S. to every response from our ticket center. It simply said, “Armand wanted me to to ask you if you’re going to the Big Seminar.” It then had a link to the Big Seminar Sales page. That’s all we’d ask them.
Other times we’d have little things like, “Armand wanted to know this…” or “Armand wanted to make sure you saw this…” Each one would have a link to whatever we were promoting. We’d just blatantly promote an offer for a particular product at the end of all emails going out from Customer Service.
Here’s an example of the signature file that we have put at the bottom of every Customer Service email:
If you utilize a signature file, you should never receive an email asking where they can purchase a product which you already sell. You can promote your products like I did, promote affiliate products (if you don’t have your own), drive people to a list to gather names, promote your events and/or training etc.
In fact, I think now is a better time than ever because you can use something we couldn’t use before… HTML emails.
For the longest time, I only sent out text-based emails. I was sort of like Henry Ford and didn’t like change. While other car companies were creating cars in different colors, Henry just kept on selling his black Model-T. His advisors tried for years to get him to not only change the color but to develop new models.
Henry kept saying “No.” He’s often quoted as saying they could get the Model-T in any color they wanted as long as it was black.
The point was he didn’t want to change what was working and upset the apple cart. As long as the cars sold, he kept things the same. Only when the existing processes and technology made it easier to change models and add colors and his existing practices started to affect the bottom line did he change. While you can wait too long to make changes, you also don’t want to be jumping on every fad gimmick and technology when you already have a working system in place.
As with any marketing campaign, including email, you have to look at the statistics. You have to look at how people respond and what they respond to what you have to make sure your system is working.
When we started this business, people responded to text based emails best because there was a lot better delivery with text-based email. Many ISPs and email programs blocked HTML emails. Also text-based emails, at that time, were easier to write.
But All Things Change
Right now HTML emails are better to look at and easy to create, and there’s no delivery penalty. People respond much better to them because they are more attractive and easier to read. We can now do things within the email that we could never do before.
My emails now could be called mini sales letters. They have a graphic
at the top (Header Graphic) which actually has a headline built into it. The emails contains a button or two for people to click on to be taken to wherever I want to send them. You can now add some pictures or put eCover graphics of your actual products. You can add a signature line and feature a product that may not have anything to do with what you’re promoting in the body of the email.
Think about this… at the bottom of your emails you can feature one or two products, include a picture and maybe even a discount for them. (Don’t add more than two.)
You may be sending an email about one subject, they read it and they may or may not take you up on it or maybe it’s just an informational email. Then they come to your little signature file with a 25% discount (for example) and all of a sudden their eyes light up, and they purchase it.
I call this the Columbo close.
It reminds me of the old “Columbo” detective series on TV. If you recall, Peter Falk played a detective named Columbo. Throughout the show he gave the impression of being a bit absent minded, some may even say bumbling. But when he completed interrogating the suspect, he would prepare to leave the room, he’d say something like “Thank you very much, blah, blah blah” and open the door to leave. The suspect now let down their guard thinking they were off the hook. They thought they had pulled the wool over the bumbling detectives eyes.
Then…just as he was walking through the door he would stop, turn around and say “Excuse me…” and ask them a key question when they were off guard. He nailed them every time.
It’s a similar strategy here. The customer reads your email and reacts. They may react favorably or unfavorably; it doesn’t matter. They think they’ve made their decision; they are relieved and let down their “sales guard,” and then you hit them with a picture and a very attractive offer. You don’t highlight it, you don’t even talk about it…it’s just there in the signature file. If you do it right, chances are a good percentage will buy.
Unless you are specifically sending an email promoting the sale or introduction of a product you should include this at the end of all emails whether customer service or promotional. You can do it in all the follow-up emails with the exception of the original eight, in the 8-step follow up.
Here’s how to use it with the follow-up system that we laid out in previous articles. As you recall, we start with the 8-step follow-up. We DO NOT use this in the signature field for these eight emails. BUT… we use it in the signature file of every one of the remaining years worth of follow-up emails.
The entire follow-up sequence we’ve been talking about is simple but extremely powerful. We start with the short term 8-step follow-up which leads right into the long term 12-month follow up (covered on pages 4-5 of this edition of Traces) which is put on steroids with the inclusion of an ad in the signature file.
The beauty of it is…this works so we don’t have to work!