It is always cheaper to keep a customer than it is to find a new one, and the best way to keep them is through regular, quality communication. This blog looks at the why and how of staying in touch with your customers and prospects, including web-based customer relationship management systems, so you can be top of mind.
The best way to communicate with your customers and prospects is to use a web-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or other communications tool to track your interactions. Businesses that use web-based tools don’t own the software. Instead they subscribe to the services by paying a monthly fee or by paying an annual subscription fee. The options vary from vendor to vendor. Once you have the proper systems in place to track your customer communications you must decide how you will stay in touch. Here are five reasons and five ways to build a relationship with your customers.
You should never contact your target customer without a good reason. Otherwise, you could turn them off or, worse, be considered a spammer.
The Top 5 reasons to contact your customers are:
- Send articles of interest – You can write original articles, repurpose blog posts, send links to helpful articles written by others. It doesn’t really matter where the content comes from. You want to position yourself as an invaluable resource to your customers.
- Coupons or discounts – One of the best ways to bring traffic to your store or website is to provide a coupon or discount, such as a buy one/get one 50% off or an offer of free shipping.
- New product launches or service offerings – Whenever your company has a new product or service offering make sure your customers know about it! Don’t assume your customers know all of the ways they can work with your company.
- Website and social media updates – Let your customers know when you have improved your website or are launching on social media such as a Facebook Fan Page, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter profile.
- Event invites – Everybody loves a party. Invite your customers to grand openings with free food and drinks. Think about a themed event or a holiday open house.
Now that you have some ideas on what to send your customers, let’s examine the best ways to stay in contact.
Here are the 5 best ways of contacting your customers:
- Email – Email marketing can be done via e-newsletters which can be sent weekly, monthly or quarterly. You can also send broadcast emails that are sporadic concise announcements which inform the customer about one special thing. Auto-responders (which are specific email marketing messages that are written in advance and automatically go out to subscribers on certain days) can also be set up in an email marketing system.
- Direct Mail – Letters, postcards, menus, and flyers are all forms of direct mail which can be targeted geographically by zip code to your target customers or mailed to your existing customer base.
- SMS Text/Mobile – With your customers’ permission you can contact them using text messages on their mobile phone. A good way to use this is to announce coupons, specials, or appointment reminders or openings.
- Social Media – Social media marketing puts your rolodex on steroids. Using social media allows you to communicate with you entire database at one time depending on the method used. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all great social media networking sites and a solid way to expand your prospects beyond your existing customers. Be sure that you understand the culture of each site before diving in to the conversations.
- Event Marketing – A great way to invite people to a grand opening, workshop, or holiday party is to send an invitation using evite.com or use eventbrite.com to conduct an event marketing campaign. These services allow users to create tickets, contact or name tag lists, and generate automatic reminder email messages to invited guests and registered attendees.
Take the time to nurture your relationships with your existing customers. If you can position your company as the ultimate solution and stay in touch with regular reminders your business will have customers for life.
Learn more on communication channels and tactics with Melinda’s webinar: How to Better Communicate with Your Customers: Recorded Webinar