As we discuss in the Online Lead Follow-Up Survey, sales professionals who send personal communication immediately to an online registrant experience higher conversion rates to appointments. Customers who are browsing online have a short attention span (and are likely looking at multiple communities), so the goal is to reach them quickly with relevant or interesting information.
But we are, after all, only human, and if we don’t have the resources of an Online Sales Counselor, it can be difficult to reply to every online lead personally within the recommended 60 minutes. This is where the autoresponder comes into play, and can be a tremendous benefit when used correctly.
Oftentimes, we implement an autoresponder just so some message reaches our leads immediately. But how much thought are we giving to what this simple email can achieve? Every email communication, personal or not, should have a goal (or several) behind it. Here are some suggestions for the autoresponder:
- Reinforce Your Brand – While it doesn’t need to look like a marketing email, the autoresponder should be neat, well organized, and contain relevant information. You want every piece of communication you send to be a positive reflection of your brand.
- Establish a Relationship – Personalize your autoresponder with the lead’s first name and other information he or she filled out on the web inquiry form.
- Opt-In – Although the lead has opted to receive email communication from you by filling out the web inquiry form, set expectations for the type and frequency of communication they will receive and present the option to opt-in again. Leads who do so will be an engaged audience.
- Link to More Content – Invite leads to continue to explore your community by providing links to all your social media sites. This is also the perfect opportunity to guide the lead deeper into your website by providing links to the Blog, News or Press sections.
- Let Them Know You’ll Be In Touch – Most importantly, let the lead know that you, a real person, will be in touch with them just as soon as possible to answer any questions about the community.
Here’s an example of an autoresponder:
Even with your autoresponder looking and performing its best, it’s important to remember that it’s still no substitute for a personal response. It merely helps you to continue the conversation the online lead started when he or she registered, until you can respond personally via phone or email.