March 2, 2010
We have a saying in marketing – “if you only have a dollar to spend on marketing, you should spend it on connecting with your existing clients/contacts”. We all know that a dollar won’t get you far today but the saying still holds true. The point is pretty simple – a relationship with your existing contacts (clients or influencers) is more valuable to your business than a relationship that hasn’t been established yet. So, if you only have a dollar to spend, “the best bang for your buck” is spending it on communicating to your existing contacts.
Often times we take our existing relationships for granted and as a result we unintentionally neglect them – clients and/or influencers. Many of you have probably experienced this issue in some form as it commonly happens to marketing and sales people. I guess it’s because we are always asked to “get more”. Get more traffic, get more leads, get more conversions, get more sales….get more! And if we are honest with ourselves, we’re all motivated by the chase of the new. This issue can probably be chalked up to “the pursuit of something new” syndrome (yes, I just made that up but I stake claim to it – please send all royalty payments in cash).
The irony is that many times, “the pursuit of something new” actually prevents us from getting more business, and takes longer or costs us significantly more to do so. Identifying those you suspect would be good customers, targeting prospective customers and building a relationship with a new customer is many times a long and expensive journey. On average, the cost of acquiring new customers can cost 5x more than retaining current customers.
Don’t get me wrong, your sales efforts need to be balanced based on your situation – and for many that is a balance between reoccurring sales, add-on sales and new sales. However, if you only have a dollar to spend on marketing – that dollar is best spent on communicating to your existing clients. Here are a few tips on marketing to existing customers to drive sales:
1. Stay in touch
We prefer email marketing or personalized notes. Keep in touch periodically and especially on special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, etc).
2. Show your appreciation
Demonstrate your appreciation for their relationship by sending things like a gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop or restaurant.
3. Make connections
Make a referral and send your clients business whenever possible. Connecting clients with other business that may be a referral sources is often appreciated.
4. Spend time with them
While this may be more of a sales tactic, it doesn’t have to be a sales pitch. Make sure you spend time with you clients periodically – and don’t “sell” them unless they express interest. Think relationship building, not sales.
5. Manage your reputation
Good customer service keeps customers coming back but an unhappy customer can be costly. Make sure you listening for frustrations when you do interact with customers, but also listen on social media tools. Frustrated customers will share their frustration on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, SmallerIndiana and the like. By monitoring these tools you can response quickly an put out any fires.
6. Share good news
When there is good news about your business or your clients business and industry, send them a quick note referencing the article.
7. Ask for feedback
Ask your customers how you are doing and if there are ways you can improve your service. This can be an informal call/email or a more formal survey.