We’re on to key ingredient #4 with only one more remaining after this. To see all of the previous ingredients to this point, click here.
This next ingredient is what I find missing in many small businesses. For a lot of these businesses, the last 10 years or so were pretty good. Not a lot of selling or marketing had to be done to get business. Not a lot a care was taken to keep customers loyal. But things are much different now. Relationships businesses thought they had with their customers just because there were transactions that occurred between them are nonexistent. What is lacking in most cases is a clear and concise plan to create customer loyalty and build long-lasting customer relationships.
Key Ingredient #4
- Outline an on-going consistent communication plan with your clients including multiple touches throughout the year utilizing multiple media.
One of the best ways to do this is through a monthly printed newsletter. Not email, print. That’s not to say you don’t use email, you do. But you do not want to make this your main vehicle for communicating with your customers. Email open rates of 20% are consider good. Think about that. If you have a list of 100 people and only 20 people open your email, that’s not good.
Spam software also makes it much more difficult for your emails to get through. How many of your 100 actually are getting through? How many are undelivered? Who knows? Now besides having a low open rate you also have email that ends up in spam folders. The net opens is now even less than 20%, not good.
Email is a great tool when used in conjunction with other media. In our business, we use it weekly for these tips and also throughout the month to alert our clients of specials and discounts. We do get business from emails so it does work but I would never rely on email as the only way to reach out to our customers.
Print newsletters on the other hand, I love and could easily go on and on about them. Why they are so important, what they will do for you, what kinds of things to include in them to make them successful and so forth. We are passionate about using them. We have seen results not only in our business but in everyone who uses them consistently. Cost is minimal and the ROI is huge. If you don’t have the staff or the time to do this, we can help. We offer a completely done for you service for printed newsletters, email marketing and social networking. Or you could hire someone else to do this for you. Whatever you decide, decide to do something rather than nothing. It WILL WORK when done properly.
Other ideas for building relationships and developing a communication plan could include:
- Sending holiday cards (use unusual holidays that no one ever gets a card for)
- Acknowledging birthdays, anniversaries, other special occasions
- Outlining and implementing a social networking strategy (we know ways you can make money with this!)
- Delivering appreciation gifts on a regular basis
- Holding a client appreciation party
After you have outlined your plan, also remember to change up your delivery methods. People like receiving information in different ways–some like email, some like regular mail, some like personal contact. Varying your delivery method not only spreads your message further, it insures you are covering all bases with regard to the likes and dislikes of your clients.
Next week, the final ingredient.