There are hundreds of variations of follow-up campaigns and strategies. One of the most reliable is structured in four main steps — although, after mixing in low- and no-cost online media like email, each main step may have a handful of contacts, not just one. Today, you have many opportunities to create closed loops, to keep re-engaging prospects. Email and/or mail might drive to a specific website housing a video sales letter or voiced PowerPoint presentation; the viewing of that triggers an email sequence and an outbound telemarketing call; a no-sale by that sequence and call triggers another predetermined sequence driving to a different website and video sales letter. It can all be automated. I currently have a client using four such closed loops, one after the other, each starting as the prior one ends, and, in total, encompassing 48 online contacts, 11 offline contacts, four online presentations, two phone calls, all over 12 weeks. This is all deployed with precision: every follow-up contact is set for the fourth day, sixth day, ninth day, etc.
Here’s a simplified, abbreviated look at a four-step follow-up campaign.
Step 1: Re-state, re-sell and extend same offer
Whatever they didn’t do or buy is presented to them again in the best way possible. There’s acknowledgment at the start that they’re getting your letter or other communication because they didn’t buy. The message will acknowledge that there are X-number of reasons people don’t respond or buy at the first appointment, visit, conversation, etc., and these reasons are then answered and made to go away. The original offer is made available, with a new deadline for response.
Step 2: Stern or humorous “2nd notice” tied to onrushing deadline
Classic themes and opening gambits include the good-humored, like “Are You Lost?” or “Frankly, I’m Puzzled,” to the serious and stern, like “I’m Deeply Concerned about Your Failure to … ” or “Are You a Man or a Mouse?” The offer is again presented, the deadline emphasized. Sometimes, the offer is slightly altered, perhaps with longer installment financing or a new or additional gift with purchase.
Step 3: “Third and final notice”
This has been a direct marketing staple for a long, long time, and it ties to the deadline and the disappearance of the offer. For instance, for a pest control company offering termite control to its route customers, I designed a “Final Notice” to come from the company’s attorney, in a law firm envelope, explaining that, in order to safeguard the pest control company from any liability for negligence in not fully protecting its customers’ homes, it was required to clearly notify them of the hazards and costs of failing to treat a home with termite protection.
Step 4: Change the offer
Sometimes the offer can be altered relatively easily — by offering new or more extended installment payment terms, by swapping out a bonus for a different bonus, that sort of thing. Other times, the unconverted prospects are telling you they don’t like your solution to their need, interest or desire. That doesn’t mean the need, interest or desire is gone. Mary responded to your ad because she wanted to lose two dress sizes before her friends’ annual July 4th beach party. You offered her six weeks of supervised exercise in a gym. She rejected you. She still wants to lose two dress sizes by July 4th. She doesn’t want to come to a gym three times a week. She might buy at-home personal training or a diet plan or pills or a gadget.
Some business owners are limited to Steps #1 to #3 and, as a practical matter, can’t do #4. But a lot more can, if they would, than do. Trade schools began offering the option of online training for this reason. The “online university industry” is a response to the same rejection of offer but continued desire for solution with regard to post-high-school education, career training and degrees. Weight Watchers, famous for weekly meetings complete with weigh-ins, also added the alternative of online coaching and support for the same reason. Big direct marketers in the same interest category achieve this 4th step by swapping lead lists. People who respond, for example, to advertising about a money-making opportunity in real estate and stubbornly reject the offer are turned over to a marketer of a money-making opportunity in homebased ecommerce, in exchange for that marketer’s list of prospects who have rejected his offer.