Lesson #7

What Is An Autoresponder & Why Do You Need One

Do You Know Who All Your Customers Are, and
More Importantly, Do They Remember Who You Are?

Do you know who your customers are? Do you have the contact information on all of them? Most business owners will answer a definite “No” to those questions. If you are in that category, it’s time that you did some thing to change your answer to “Yes”. Why?

If you don’t know who your customers are, then you should IMMEDIATELY strive to change that, because you’re missing out on a MAJOR profit center. And by “knowing your customer”,  I don’t mean can you describe your typical customer, I mean do you REALLY know who they are. Do you have their names and contact information? Have you built a relationship with them? Do you know what they like, dislike, or want?

Having a data base of all of your customers, as well as your prospective customers, is worth it’s weight in gold, as you’ll soon find out, and it can be easily accomplished.

You can simply boil down the success and profitability of any business to the ability to accomplish just 2 simple things.
(1) Get Customers
(2) Keep Customers
Everything else like location, pricing, quality, and service, etc., are mere tools or just a means to accomplish those two main objectives.

You can easily get more customers by implementing the Internet marketing strategies I have outlined for you in previous lessons. New customers with a desire to spend money for auto repair are searching the Internet looking for someone to spend their money with, and you can get your share of them if you follow what I’ve told you to do, and it’ll be as easy as falling off a log.

But one of the biggest mistakes that almost all businesses make is to exclusively go after new customers, while totally ignoring the existing customers who have already patronized them. It doesn’t make sense why an auto shop would pay a hefty price in the form of advertising dollars in order to generate a new customer, then forget about that new customer as soon as the job is done, and then pay out more adverting dollars to seek out more new customers

If you put a pencil to it and calculate how much each new customer costs you by figuring out approximately how many new customers you got from your last ad, and dividing the cost of the ad by that number, I’m SURE you’ll be SHOCKED by how expensive it has been to get a new customer. But contrary to that, it only takes a few dollars to keep an existing customer happy and turn them into a repeat customer.

You can maximize the value of an existing customer and the profit that they generate for you by staying in contact with them, by sending them a thank you note, a birthday wish, a holiday greeting, an article of interest, or some special low priced offer. In today’s economy, this is essential if you want to separate yourself from your competitors and maximize the profit potential of your business. And how do you do all of this cost effectively? It’s pretty easy, but in spite of that, few businesses are doing it?

You do all this simply by having a “Direct Response” web site that captures the names and e-mail addresses of your customers (and also those who visited your site but are not yet customers), and by asking other customers who have not visited your site to so and “opt in” to your data base and provide you with their e-mail address. The reason you give them can be to provide them with a very informative and money saving Report on auto maintenance or some other interesting topic, or to send them a discount coupon to use the next time they need their vehicle serviced.

In order to make proper use of all these names and e-mail addresses, you simply have to sign up and pay for the use of a quality autoresponder service. It is not very expensive to do this, and it will save you having to do a lot of tedious and time consuming work once you have it set up.

So, what is an autoresponder? It is a sophisticated web based software service that, once programed and set up with a series of e-mails you want to send to your customer data base, it will automatically store the information of everyone that “opts-in” to receive your information, and will send that information to each and every person on a time table that has been predetermined by you.

As an example, if someone visits your web site and wants to receive the information you’re offering to send them (this could be a short informative Report, or a discount coupon to use for their auto repair or service), they will “opt-in” by entering their name and e-mail address in the place provided.

Once they hit the :”Submit” button, that information is immediately received by your autoresponder service, and you would have already set it up to automatically send out the requested information to that person’s e-mail address. It will even insert  their name into the e-mail salutation, making it more personal.

Then, on pre-set intervals, such as monthly, the autoresponder will automatically send out the rest of your pre-programed e-mails to each and every person that has “opted-in” at the rate of one e-mail per month. You can of course set the frequency of the e-mails to any time period you desire, and also send out e-mails manually to your entire data base at any time you wish, in addition to the automated e-mails.

You’ll be very surprised at how much closer your customers will feel to you if they get a communication for you on a regular basis. They will certainly be more loyal, and they will be a LOT more inclined to refer their family and friends to your auto shop.

Your existing customers can also be an untapped goldmine if you agree to a joint venture with some other non-competitive business that has a product or service that some of your customers are likely to buy. How does that work?

You simply make an agreement with say the local jewelry store or butcher, or some other type of non-competitive business, that you will make an attractive discounted offer to your customer list for their business, and in return they will split 50/50 with you any profits that are derived from your customers making a purchase from them.

You make those sales easy to track by including a printable coupon in your e-mail offer that must be presented in order to receive the discount. Of course there has to be a legally binding agreement signed so that there is no chance of the other business trying to cheat you out of your share of the profits.

These types of arrangements can sometimes bring in as much as several thousand dollars in profits for you, and serve a DUAL purpose. You present the discounted offer to your customers as a bonus “thank you” to them for being your customer, which is totally legitimate because they would never have had the discount available to them if they were not your customer, so they appreciate what you have done for them, and you ALSO make money at the same time.

So now that you know how valuable a customer list can be, don’t procrastinate on getting one started. It's almost guarnteed cash in your pocket.

If you want to know which autoresponder services are the best, just ask me and I'll send you that information. 

Do you understand everything that was discussed in his lesson?
Do you have any questions about the information just covered?

If you have any questions about what we’ve cover so far, any other Internet marketing questions, or just about marketing in general, I’m always available to you to answer a question or to help you understand something more completely, so don’t hesitate to ask for my help. And it’s free. My e-mail address is, gordon(at)auto-repair-marketing.com. (PLEASE NOTE: In order to protect the e-mail address from "harvesting" by spammers, it has purposely not been made into a "live" link.  Please therefore copy and paste the address into your "Send to" box in your e-mail, and replace "(at)" with "@". Thank you.)

Copyright 2009, Gordon Roberts. All legal rights reserved.

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