The Passing Lane: Passing the Competition Online by Marnie Perhson

Issue #24 Monday, March 29, 1999

About the Author:

Marnie Perhson
Marnie Pehrson, founder of C.E.S. Business Consultants and the
International Association of Computer Professionals, develops products that help computer professionals market and manage their businesses.

She is author of
How to Run a Successful Computer Training Business,

How to Get & Keep Customers for Your Computer-based Business

Keeping Your Sanity in a Home Business.

Marnie is an Internet strategist and content developer for community-based Web sites. Her plans and strategies have garnered clients an average of $100,000 each in seed capital. She also offers ghost writing services and content delivery for your Web site or e-zine.

Marnie lives on a Georgia farm with her husband and their six children .

C.E.S. Business Consultants
Ringgold, Georgia
TEL: 706-866-2295


It's Like Basketball;
It's All in the Follow-through

From the third grade through high school, I played basketball. My strong suit was scoring -- specifically foul shots and driving in to the goal. In order to insure that the ball goes into the goal, you have to let your hand and wrist continue to point to the goal for several seconds after you release the ball. This is called follow-through. You can't just flip the ball up and put your hands down really fast. You'll rarely make it that way.

Now, it's the same with your web site. You can't just flip it up on the Web and not follow through. You have to keep seeking the "goal" with your web site as well. You also can't just pull the visitors in and then call it quits. You've heard me say before that people rarely buy on their first visit. They may have to visit your site several times or even a dozen times before they will buy. I've had people sign up for a free listing on my site and then finally purchase something a year later. In between, there was a lot of follow-through.

Here's a typical example of what you can do to follow-through with your visitors.

Step-1: Give them an incentive to give you their contact information. This could be a free advertisement on your web site or a chance to enter your contest. Also let them check whether they would like to subscribe to your newsletter(s).
Step-2: Immediately follow-up with a thank-you for entering or listing or whatever you had them do.
Step-3: If they signed up for a newsletter, send it on schedule. A publication rate of 2 times a month seems to work well. At least send them something every month. If they didn't want a newsletter, but signed up for a free listing, you can send them a follow-up offer to upgrade their listing.

The IACP uses this method. Any computer professional or consultant may have a free two-month trial membership in the automated directory. Then, at the end of that time, they are notified about full membership and how they can use the system for a full year.

Step-4: If you make major changes to your web site, keep them updated on these. You can integrate these into your newsletter. You can also periodically hit your entire list -- whether they signed up for your newsletter or not. Do this every few months. As long as you make it informative, very few will unsubscribe.

All this follow-through will give you more traffic and eventually more customers. But, if you have thousands of people visiting your site who need to be contacted at different intervals who are at different steps in this process, it can get hairy. To solve this problem, you should check into an e-mail follow-up service. You can feed the e-mails, names and other contact information into this service. Then, enter your standard e-mails into the system and tell it the order and the interval to send them. The system does the rest; it keeps track of where each person is in the queue and will automatically send the e-mails in the proper order and frequency. For details on this type of service, visit

Text Copyright © 1999, Marnie Pehrson. Part of the original Sideroad.
The new Sideroad is now receiving traffic at