Have you ever heard of the “Pareto Principle”? If you haven’t, you are missing out on one of the MOST EFFECTIVE ways to make money online and increase your profits.

Also known as “The Vital Few and Trivial Many Rule,” the Pareto Principle was named after an Italian economist who observed in 1906 that 20% of the Italian population owned 80% of Italy’s wealth. He then noticed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden accounted for 80% of his pea crop each year. Coincidence? Well, it got him thinking… Vilfredo Pareto applied this 80/20 rule to pretty much everything – and whether or not you agree with it is your prerogative.

But when it comes to your e-business, you’re missing out on a lot of profit if you don’t realize that 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your sales. In fact, backend sales from your follow-up offers can immediately increase your revenue by 30% to 50%.

That’s because your existing customer base is four or five times more likely to buy from you than a “cold” market, and the “lifetime value” of these customers is one of the greatest assets of your business. Once you’ve acquired those customers, you can develop their lifetime value. Show appreciation and offer them special incentives. Send them “thank you for your purchase” messages, renewal notices, and free information. Reward them for being loyal customers and they’ll become even more loyal.

Depending on the product or service you sell, there will be many different money-making opportunities to send promotions to your customers and subscribers. Start by looking for natural opportunities to touch base with your opt-in list.

Here are four proven ways to make money online by following up with your customers…

1. Send a confirmation email after a subscription request or purchase

Use an autoresponder to send instant confirmation emails to your customers and subscribers after they have made a purchase or signed up for your newsletter. It’s a great way to provide people with an additional level of customer service – and it’s a level of service that’s becoming expected.

According to DoubleClick, 94% of online shoppers expect email order confirmation, 90% expect shipping information, and 79% expect billing information, all by autoresponder.

Instant confirmations do a lot to boost the credibility of your company — you’ve responded immediately to your customer’s request, letting them know that yours is a reliable, professional company. So why not take advantage of that by offering them a special price on one of your best-selling products?

Every single sale generated through this autoresponder is a way to make money on the Internet that you would never have seen if you hadn’t taken a couple of extra minutes to put this together.

2. Follow up on a purchase anniversary

An easy way to get a follow-up promotion in front of your customers is to send them an email one month, or six months, or even a year after they made their first purchase. You can even follow up on multiple anniversary dates to increase your sales. Here’s how:

3. Follow up at the end of free trial offers

Offering a free trial offer is a proven way to make money online. And they’re also built-in opportunities to follow up with your customers. If you offer a 30-day free trial of a software product, follow up with people just as their free trial is about to expire.

4. Send your customers follow-up offers on special occasions

Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays are all great money-making opportunities to contact customers and remind them of your business. There’s nothing quite like being recognized by a company you’ve spent money with. And it’s so easy to send customers a card via email, all in a matter of minutes: No designing Christmas cards, signing them, packing them, stamping them, and mailing them – just a simple email. It makes them feel important, and it’s a great opportunity to remind them that your site is a fantastic resource for holiday shopping.

Following up with your customers is one of the best ways to make money online. And these four follow-up opportunities are sure revenue boosters. But don’t feel you have to limit yourself. You can (and should) advertise your products and services just about every time you send a message to your customers and subscribers.

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