Posts Tagged ‘online marketing’

New Feature: Convert Contacts to Customers With Auto Responders

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Ofuz 0.5.8 has quite a few new features, and over 90 across the board improvements. In this blog post, I want to tell you about the new Auto Responder feature in Ofuz.

An Auto Responder is a mailing list feature that sends timed followup messages to your mailing list. You create a sequence of email templates and tell the Auto Responder how long to wait before sending each one. Then, when new people join your mailing list, the Auto Responder sends out your emails at your chosen intervals using the merge fields from your email templates to personalize each email.

Auto Responders can be a great way to convert contacts into customers. Remember the following important facts:

  • On average, it takes 7 contacts within 18 months to make a sale. Reference
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact, 3% on the second, 5% on the third, 10% on the fourth, and 80% on the fifth to twelfth! Reference

Auto Responder sequences should provide interesting or valuable information to your contacts, and it should remind them about the benefits of becoming a customer.

Here’s how to set up an Auto Responder in Ofuz.

  1. Sign in to your Ofuz account.
  2. Set up any email templates that you plan to use for your Auto Responder.
  3. In the top right of the Ofuz page, click Settings.
  4. On the left navigation bar, click Auto Responder.
  5. Click Create New.
  6. In the Auto Responder Name field, type a name for your new Auto Responder.
  7. In the Tag Name field, choose the tag that you want to associate with this Auto Responder. Contacts tagged with this tag will receive your new Auto Responder sequence.
  8. Click Create.
  9. The new Auto Responder appears in your list of Auto Responders. Click the new Auto Responder’s name.
  10. Click here to the right of You do not have any auto responder Email Templates for Auto Responder1.
  11. Either click Select Email Template and choose an existing email template to add to your Auto Responder, or create a new email template using the form that appears.
  12. Fill in the Name field with a name for this template.
  13. Fill in the Subject field with the subject you want this email to have.
  14. In the Send it in field, type the number of days you want to wait before sending this message.
  15. In the Message editor, create your message.
  16. Click Create.
  17. To create additional emails for this Auto Responder, click Add a new email, and then repeat steps 11 – 16.

That’s all there is to it! Ofuz contacts that are tagged with the tag assigned to your new Auto Responder will automatically receive personalized emails at the intervals you’ve chosen. You can really save yourself some time by combining the Ofuz Web Form feature with the Auto Responder feature.

Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to get a free Ofuz account to take advantage of over 90 enhancements, just released in Ofuz 0.5.8!

How to Create a Free Squeeze Page Using Ofuz, pt3

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

We’re wrapping up our three-part series on how to create a free squeeze page using Ofuz with two screencasts, walking you through the process step-by-step.

Creating a squeeze page on a free account:

Creating a squeeze page on a self-hosted WordPress blog:

Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to get a free Ofuz account to take advantage of over 90 enhancements, just released in Ofuz 0.5.8!

Create a Free Squeeze Page, pt. 2

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

In the first part of this blog post series, we talked about why you might want to create a squeeze page to build your mailing list.

Now, let’s talk about how to do it. Here’s what you need to get started:

First, we’ve created something of value to give away to people we think would make good customers. That Thing of Value is a short ebook we’ve written specifically to appeal to people who might make good paying customers.

All they need to do to get the free ebook is provide us with their name and email address, and permission to contact them in the future.

Second, we’ve got an account. That’s the other big part of this solution. You can sign up for mailing list management through Aweber or Mailchimp, but those products are often overkill for what the small business or freelancer needs to do. Ofuz, on the other hand, is just right for folks who need to manage several small or medium size mailing lists. That’s us, so let’s get started!

Here’s the process:

  1. We’ll create a WordPress page where potential customers can download our free ebook. It will be “invisible,” meaning that it’s not linked to by any page or post on our site.

    Note:, for security reasons, blocks all embedded forms, even safe ones like your Ofuz web form. So, to use this technique, use another free hosted blog service like, or use a self-hosted WordPress installation. We’ll show you both methods in the screencast later this week.

  2. Create an Ofuz web form. Directions for doing that are found here. Make sure the thank you page for the Ofuz form is set to the URL for the download page you created in the previous step.
  3. Create a WordPress page where your squeeze page text and the Ofuz web form will go. The squeeze page contains text that describes the value of what you are giving away, politely asks for permission to use their email address in exchange for the freebie, and contains the embed code for your Ofuz web form.

That’s all there is to it!

In the final part of this blog post, we’ll have a short screencast that walks you through setting up a free squeeze page using WordPress and Ofuz.

Stay tuned, and in the meantime sign up for a free Ofuz account now!

Creating a Free Squeeze Page, pt. 1

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I recently was contacted by a potential customer who was completely off my radar. He hadn’t written me in months, but I had been keeping in touch with him. You, known, sending him the ocassional update on what I’ve been up to, what new things I’ve learned and think are cool. Like we talk about here. He never responded to these emails, but this week he wrote out of the blue to let me know I’m still on his short list for work.

That’s one small example of the power of repeated contact. All advertising is based on the principle that familiarity is a big part of the decision to buy. That principle can apply to freelancers, small businesses, and anyone else who wants to increase their sales. Before we go any further along this line of reasoning, let’s look at some of the things that good marketers take for granted:

  • On average, it takes 7 contacts within 18 months to make a sale. Reference
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact, 3% on the second, 5% on the third, 10% on the fourth, and 80% on the fifth to twelfth! Reference
  • You better have two things before you contact someone:
    • Their permission
    • Something of value to offer them

The takeaway: If you want to convert a contact into a customer, you need to make repeated contacts to do so. An opt-in email list can be the best way to stay in touch with contacts, contact them repeatedly, and convert them into customers.

One way to build an opt-in email list is a squeeze page. This is based on what’s known as the give-get exchange. You give something of value to people who are likely to want what you have to sell, and in return they give you their email address and their permission to receive emails from you.

If you’re going to create a squeeze page (and we recommend you do, or at least work on building an email list of potential customers), then keep the following things in mind:

  • The difference between spam and email that will help you get new customers is value (and permission). The email must have something of value for your list.
  • Be careful how often you contact your list. Remember that “familiarity breeds contempt,” so keep your emails to-the-point and not too frequent!

In the next post, we’ll walk you though building a squeeze page using Ofuz and WordPress. Stay tuned, and sign up now for a free Ofuz account.

Keeping in Touch: Micro Mailing for the Solo Entrepreneur

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Keeping in Touch: Micro Mailing for the Solo Entrepreneur.

As a small business, very small business actually, we have to always keep one eye on business development. We always want to be the first person that comes to mind when potential customers have a project that we can do. You  could create a mailing list and send out bulk emails with any of the email marketing tools that are out there. However, email readers are notoriously unwilling to read another generic, nicely formatted newsletter. If you are sending these out, you would be fortunate if one fourth (25%) of your recipients actually read your email.

That is not what we are looking for in customer contacts.  We want to have personal communication with potential clients.  So, instead of collecting a thousand email addresses of questionable value, we send out “micro mails” using Ofuz.

An Example Micro Mail:

Hey Josie, I just wanted to send you a quick email to keep in touch and let you know what I have been up to.

The past three months have been a pretty busy time for us .  Philip has been deeply engaged in white papers and other collateral on virtualization subjects, including deep technical dives and sales focused documents to show the value of virtualization in the new IT environments.  He is working so much on virtualization that he has started to act virtual himself.  On really busy days he loses his normally shiny presence and I can actually see through him.

We tried to make the case with the IRS come tax time that since he was virtual he did not need to pay actual taxes.  They did not go for it.

Meanwhile, I have been working on some more marketing focused clients.  For our friends at BlueVolt, I wrote this new video (shown here on their landing page) to demonstrate the value of their rather complex marketing and learning tool.
That is what the Word Lions do: We explain the complicated things.
Both of us are working on documentation and messaging for our new friend Philippe at Ofuz. We are really excited about his tool to help freelancers manage clients, tasks, time, and money.  The Word Lions are using Ofuz and are finding that it helps us to track our many tasks quite effectively.
With Spring, we are starting up on some new exciting opportunities to apply our fierce technical communication chops to other project .  In the next few months we are planning
  • A Learning Management System  and courseware for a client that is developing a complex — but really really cool — software tool that will help to control the Bonneville dams.  A lot of people need to be ramped up on a whole new mission critical user interface and we are going to build a learning tool to get them all ramped up.
  • We have been investigating podcast, both audio and video, as a way to deliver our customers’ message. Research has shown that by adding podcasts to your marketing delivery, you can increase your exposure.  We see that as a way to multiply the value of content across multiple platforms. We could take your white paper and affordably turn it into a podcast that appeals to a whole new audience.

We hope your endeavors are keeping you just the right level of busy.  What kinds of things are you working on these days?

Joel Barker

Tips for Your Micro Email Campaign

  • Keep it brief or they won’t read it at all.
  • Let people know what service you offer.
  • Give them ideas of how you can help them.
  • Give them something of value or something entertaining
  • Ask about how their business is going.
  • Like any good marketing piece, end with a call to action.  Some times I like to couch this in the form of a question as I did in the example above: “What kinds of things are you working on these days?”

How to Make A Micro Email

First, you can import your existing contacts from Gmail or another source. Ofuz supports both Gmail and Google apps. More information about managing contacts in Ofuz is available in the article
  1. Click Settings (top right of the page).
  2. Click Sync.
  3. Click Google.
  4. Click Import Contacts.
  5. In the Email field, type your Gmail address and then click Import.
Then, tag the contacts that you want to email.
  1. Click the Contacts tab.
  2. Click in the white space next to each contact you want to tag.
  3. The white space around the selected contacts will become light yellow.
  4. In the text box above the selected contacts, type the tag you want to assign to those contacts.
  5. Click add tags.

When it is time to create a message, use the Search by Tags feature to select all of your prospects.

Then, send a simple, readable email to these prospects. Don’t go overboard with formatting; this is a personal email, not a bulk newsletter. Use the Insert Merge Fields to add business name, contact name, and the contact’s position wherever it is appropriate in the email.

Every freelancer and solo entrepreneur that I speak with is challenged by the demands of business development.  While Ofuz does not take all of the leg work out of selling yourself, it does mean that we can be more successful while committing less time.