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There are few things in life as deflating as refund requests can be.


You’ve spent weeks or months (or years in some cases) creating a product. You work so hard to market it and get into your ideal clients’ hands. And they buy! It’s so exciting when you make sales.


And then you get a request for a refund. Argh!


Luckily I have good news. There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. I’m going to walk you through these 7 simple steps about simple tweaks you can make to your product to make it more valuable and easy follow-up strategies.


Let’s get started.


1. Put a Quick Start CD or report in the product. Information products can be overwhelming. You open up the product and you have all these CDs and DVDs transcripts and worksheets and you don’t know where to start. A Quick Start guide (either audio or written) can give people a place to begin and it can help them consume the material more easily.


If people are feeling overwhelmed, they may just decide they don’t have time to figure this out after all and pack it all up and return to you.


(And yes, you can still include this even if the product is all digital.)


2. Include a Welcome letter or extra gift (or both). Let’s go through the Welcome letter first. A Welcome letter should:


* Reassure them they made a good decision by purchasing your product


* Get them excited about digging in and using the product


Welcome letters can also give them additional information and resources, or it can double as your “Quick Start guide” and give them instructions on how they should get started. Either way, it should make them feel good about their investment. (This again can and should be included with digital products.)


Now let’s look at gifts. A gift can be small, just a little extra bonus. Maybe it’s a promotional item, such as a pen or a bookmark. Or it could be an extra bonus, maybe an additional unadvertised report. Whatever it is, it just adds to the value and helps make your ideal clients feel like you’re overdelivering on value.


3. Send them an extra, unadvertised bonus at a later time. With this one, instead of bundling the bonus in the product, save it and send it to them later. This accomplishes a couple of things — your ideal clients feel taken care of plus it gives you another opportunity to reach out and connect with them again. This is a good way to further build the relationship with your ideal clients so they don’t feel like they’re simply a “walking wallet.”


4. Call them to thank them for their purchase. Yes, you read that right. Pick up the phone and give them a quick welcome call.


This can be a very powerful strategy for a number of reasons. First off, almost no one does it in the Internet world so you’re really going to stand out. Second, it’s another way to overdeliver value to your customers. Third, it’s a way to connect with them so they know they’re more to you then simply a sale.


I can hear all of you saying “I don’t have time.” That’s fine, have someone on your team do it. It doesn’t have to be a long call, just a quick phone call to welcome them into your community and to see if they have any questions or need anything from you. That 5 minutes can go a long way to really communicating a high level of customer care.


5. Set up a welcome auto-responder series. I’m currently working with a client to create a very integrated 30-day follow up email campaign. You don’t have to do something that elaborate, but even 5 or 7 follow up emails to help your customers get started with your product can go a long way. These emails can:


* Reassure them they made a good decision by purchasing your product

* Give them some additional tips for using the product

* Tease them about what’s in the product, to get them excited about diving in and getting started (remember, people who actually go through your product are far less likely to return it)

* Ask them for a testimonial or encourage them to refer a friend

* Upsell them to the next level


6. Add in live calls with you. There was a time where you could sell an information product and get top dollar for it and not include any interaction with you. Those days are gone. If you want to sell an information product with no calls or support from you, the price needs to be lower and be prepared for higher returns. But if you add in a couple of training and/or Q&A and live coaching calls, then you can raise the price plus it will reduce your refund rate.


People want accountability (and having those calls does add a level of accountability because they’ll need to go through the program to keep up with the calls) and they also want to interact with you. The more you can give people what they want, they more likely they’ll become loyal customers and raving fans.


7. Follow up with snail mail. I’ve found mailing people a postcard or a newsletter is a great way to build and deepen the relationship with my customers. Again, you’re reaching out to them outside the online world, sending something physical and doing this after the sale. So it’s a great way to stay connected with your clients. Of all the tips I gave, this one is the most costly, but over the long run, it can really pay off in a big way.


This Marketing article was written by Michele Pariza wacek on 7/28/2010

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a copywriting and marketing agency. She helps entrepreneurs become more successful at attracting more clients, selling more products and services and boosting their business. To find out how she can help you take your business to the next level, visit her site at Copyright 2009 Michele Pariza Wacek.