I was on Facebook earlier today and one of the marketer’s pages that I “like” had a status that said, “I just got a response to a link request I sent over 1 year ago. How often do people check their email?” We all get behind on our emails from time to time between newsletters, blog comments, questions and the like – but a YEAR? That’s utterly ridiculous.
Maintaining Constant Contact
Emails – Sending and receiving emails can be a frustrating process. Not only can they get caught up in your spam folder, it often feels impossible to find that extra five minutes to respond. But, it’s a must. Even if your response is short and sweet saying you’ll be in touch soon, everyone wants to be acknowledged. You can always go the route of having an automated message acknowledge the email was received and that you will be in touch soon. As far as email clients go, I personally prefer Gmail to all others. Creating labels, saving emails and composing emails is easy as can be. You can also forward up to five email addresses to one Gmail account so that you can just check and respond easier. I also have the Gmail app on my iPhone and BlackBerry.
Blog Comments – It’s nice to visit a blog and see the owner interacting with the commenters. I try my best to reply to blog comments as much as I can. People read your blog because they care what you have to say; now you need to take it a step further and directly interact with them, when possible.
Twitter– Monitor your Twitter account. Interact with your followers. This is about balance. Tweet about things occurring in your niche, but also tweet some average, ordinary things about yourself so people see you as a person AND not just a business owner. Believe it or not, a little personal touch can go a long way.
Facebook – If your business has a Facebook page or even if your Facebook account is standard – reply to the comments as best as you can. Remember your visitor just took time to say something, acknowledge it!
Striking a Balance
Surely you’ve subscribed to a newsletter that you like only to find that suddenly your inbox is flooded with email after email from the same person. It’s annoying. Alternatively you’ve likely signed up for a newsletter that is sent out barely once a year while their blog is stagnant for six month periods. The key is not sending out too many emails that the end result is several people unsubscribing, but at the same time, a year is too long of a gap.
There are several options available but I’ve been a long time user of Aweber. They are affordable as well as user friendly. After picking the service that will best work for your business, it’s time to decide how often you will send out a newsletter – weekly, monthly or quarterly? Try to be as consistent whenever possible.
With all the gadgets, gizmos and new cell phones available today, there really is no good excuse as to why you can’t be in constant contact with your customers and readers in a timely manner. Whether you have a BlackBerry, iPhone or one of the new LG phones, it’s all about staying in contact at all times. For most people 24 to 48 hours is acceptable, excluding holidays and weekends. But a year is simply too long!
To that end, it’s relatively easy to download the same apps you use on your laptop, to your smartphone, so that you can keep in touch with your customers through your mobile device. Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Dropbox, Gmail –are programs that are also available in apps. Not to mention, you can send all your emails to your smartphone so you see them and therefore can reply in a timely manner.
I will be the first to admit I am an impatient internet user. If I don’t find what I want quickly I visit the next site. Give your readers a reason to stay on your website, to want to connect with you, not a reason to go. I’ve had many pleasant emails with my readers over the years that stemmed from simple questions.
Ann Fleming is a freelance writer for bbgeeks.com. She has a knack for clarifying the more complex side of technology and how to use it for the average person.