Stacy, You have a gift for writing articles that present useful, actionable intelligence.
Here’s a simple rule of business and marketing success… If you don’t stay in touch with clients and prospects on a regular basis they’re going to forget who you are and what makes your products and services so wonderful. Then you’re guaranteed to lose clients…And money!
Let me give you an example…
A while back I was working with a client to move their email list to a new newsletter distribution service. Now, moving a list is a HUGE pain in the butt. It requires a good bit of coordination and multiple steps to make sure all the folks who currently get your emails keep doing so.
Even if you do everything perfectly—and give folks a juicy reason to take action and re-subscribe on your new list—you’re probably going to lose about 50% of them for a variety of reasons.
Imagine my surprise when less than 20% of my client’s list made the move!
At first, I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. Then I made an interesting discovery…Because my client hated their current Website and didn’t want people to visit it, they had quit sending out emails for almost 6 months.
Without a doubt this was the kiss of death!! Think about it…
They hadn’t communicated with anyone on their list in 6 months unless those folks happened to come into their office. So, when we started sending emails asking them to re-subscribe, many of their subscribers probably didn’t even recognize who the emails were from. And even if they did, they probably didn’t remember why they wanted to receive his emails in the first place.
Given how full everyone’s Inbox is these days they had no reason to even open the emails we were sending…Let alone take the time to sign up for more. Had he kept sending emails on a regular basis this wouldn’t have happened.
A few months later I encountered the same problem, only this time it was with direct mail.
Because my client had recently started offering a terrific new service, we sent out a series of letters about it to all of his active patients. Even though our timing wasn’t the best since—the mailings went out right as the economic slowdown was hitting the news—we got a solid 2% response and no complaints.
A couple months later we sent the same letters to all of the inactive patients he hadn’t seen in one to two years. I wasn’t surprised that response wasn’t nearly as good. Even more telling, at least 10% of the people we mailed called and asked to be removed from his mailing list!
Same basic promotion, one big difference…
The second group hadn’t heard thing one from my client in at least a year. Now they weren’t interested in hearing from him at all.
Had he been doing regular mailings this would not have been the case. I can say this with confidence because the first group’s reaction (people who had regular contact with my client) was so different.
This won’t happen again because we’ve now started a monthly print newsletter to all his patients. But there’s no doubt he lost a lot of potential business by not staying in touch.
What can you do to stay in touch with your clients and prospects without breaking the bank?
1) Create an ezine. Write an email newsletter filled with helpful info—not just sales pitches—and commit to sending it regularly. Monthly is the minimum, bi-weekly is better, weekly is best.
2) Send unexpected greeting cards. Sure the obligatory holiday card is a good thing. But those only go out once a year. Try sending cards on smaller holidays like 4th of July, Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, etc. Or just send one for fun.
3) Pick up the phone. I try to make a point of touching base with my clients by phone at least a couple times a year. Just call them up and ask how they are. No sales pitch. They’ll be blown away!
4) Give ‘em a gift. I love sending books. But if that’s too expensive, you can always create a free report, checklist, video or worksheet and offer it for download via your Website.
5) Mail a print newsletter. Sure, the cost of snail mail keeps going up. But this means less junk is hitting our mailboxes…Making it the perfect time to send print materials! And oversized postcards with an article printed on them are surprisingly affordable.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you keep doing it! Like I said at the beginning, consistency is key. So don’t bite off more than you can chew. And if you need to, outsource it so it gets done.
Learn more about the author, Stacy Karacostas.
Thanks so much Randal. I'm glad you find them so helpful, and appreciate you letting me know.
Great article, Stacy, and great website! (the "unchained" one). And great intro video. Short, sweet and engaging!
I just got started here so I'm getting the hang of Biznik. I put up three articles on my profile page and Biznik emailed back they had "published" all three so it's good to see them get further exposure..
I noticed you have a TON of articles on your profile page, all of them with ratings. Did Biznik publish all of them or were you able to get that feedback from folks just coming to your profile page?
Stacy, thanks for the reminder. I had slipped and not sent my summer email newsletter. Now I will make sure I do.
Hi Stan, Welcome to Biznik! Glad you liked my article and my Website. To answer your question, all the articles you see on my Biznik profile were indeed published here (It's the only way to get them on your profile that I'm aware of), though you can find loads more on my blog at http://TheUnchainedEntrepreneur.com/blog
Milton, I'm happy to help! Get that newsletter out the door before summer is gone for sure.
Agreed, Stacy. In helping my clients, they generally find the marketing calendar/roadmap we create in the process to have unexpectedly high value because of the structure/reminder.
I'm happy to share it with other Bizniks (it's on "articles/other" tab on my site.
Great article Stacey. I really like the sending something useful. If you are the expert on an area chances are you can create something useful and interesting that your customers will really value and then keep coming back to you for more as the expert! This drip feeding the relationship is important because when they are ready to buy, you want them to think of you first!
I give a lot of templates and marketing advice to my readership everyday, mostly because I love it and am an raving marketing guru but it is a good way to grow your business.
Hi Paul, A marketing calendar/roadmap is SUCH an important tool. I take people through the process of creating a 2-page marketing plan complete with deadlines and dates in my Marketing Catapult program so they end up with something practical to guide their efforts. Nice of you to share yours on your site!
Stan, yep, I am ridiculously prolific. And actually I've already published a number of books and products. Check out http://www.smallbusinesswebsitebible.com and http://www.getstartedoutsourcing.com to see two of my latest...
Danielle, thanks for the kind words. I know what you mean about giving lots of info away because you love marketing. I actually have a blog called marketing-junkie just for sharing even more. :-)
Stacey, how true. In addition to a lack of regular contact with clients, many small business owners have no system for staying in touch with prospects who have expressed an interest but they are not quite ready to buy.
In fact a few years ago I went looking for a product that would allow me to stay in touch more frequently than the Quarterly newsletter I was sending. I wanted something something that would be easy, affordable and that didn't require a lot of time to implement. I couldn't find anything I liked so I developed one.
If you and/or the readers of this article would like to check it out, go here - http://www.quoteactions.com
Hi Rick, Wow! What a cool system you've developed. Thanks for sharing your comments and this resource. Everyone does love a good quote. Warmest, Stacy