All too often we focus our marketing energies on attracting new customers, sometimes forgetting those closer to home – our existing clients or customers. So how do you keep your business fresh in their minds? How do you ensure they keep coming back to you for more – and even buy new products and services from you?
In sickness and in health
A good starting point in marketing to existing clients or customers is to keep your understanding of them up to date. Situations change and so will their needs and requirements. What they’ve purchased from you up to this point may not be what they’ll buy from now on. The more you can track their changing requirements, the more you’ll be able to offer the right product and service for the right moment. How do you do this? Keep in touch. If you can’t give them a call or meet them from time to time to find out how things are going, then monitor those changes being reported on their website, in the press or through any of your contacts who also deal with them.
Because you’re worth it
With this knowledge of your clients or customers’ current requirements, consider your product and service range. Could you regroup or repackage certain services or products so they answer specific challenges your customers are facing? Do you need to strip out certain components to make your offer more competitively priced in the current market? The more flexibility you can adopt (without damaging your profit margins), the more chance you can stimulate repeat and new purchases from existing clients or customers.
I only have eyes for you
Armed with these solutions, don’t forget to tell your customers or clients about them. Demonstrate that yours is the business who not only understands what they are facing, you have solutions to match. In doing so try and appear as tailored as possible in your message. If customers or clients receive any information which doesn’t appear relevant, they will assume you don’t understand them (and don’t love them). They may even take their business elsewhere.
Tailoring your approach needn’t be a huge expense. If you have lots of clients or customers then consider grouping those with similar needs or requirements and creating communications which touch on these. The choice of communications tools for this vital market needn’t be expensive either. Consider some of the ideas below:
Case studies that demonstrate you’ve solved this issue/challenge before
Product/service samples that give a taster (perhaps with a ‘trial’ offer) to help them make the first step
Client intranets that deliver regular nuggets of value – ideas, tips, hints on how to overcome current issues. These can also be linked with track-record examples or case studies to demonstrate how others have benefited
Events which discuss and explore a key issue they are facing. To make a great impression and stimulate customers or clients to talk further with you, these events need to be well run, held in a venue that adds to rather than ruins the experience, feature excellent speakers and mix interesting clients/customers and contacts together. Don’t forget to follow up your events – otherwise you are unlikely to convert client interest into purchases
Newsletters – electronic or paper-based that again focus on ideas and ways to solve your clients’ or customers’ current challenges and opportunities. The more valuable they find the content, the more your newsletter will become a ‘must read’. So pick interesting articles and case studies and avoid a blatant ‘sell’ of your products and services
High quality flyers, postcards or ‘grab the attention’ mailers that highlight a particular issue, solution and offer
Meeting the client or customer – nothing is better than face-to-face contact and meetings. They help you learn more about your client’s or customer’s situation and then position your solutions in a way that will make them interested to know more.
Offers – but not discounts. Discounts are very short-term in their focus and are difficult to regain ground from later. To avoid eating into your profitability, consider offers instead – these could comprise combining different products/services together in a package, incentives for ‘early bird’ orders, gifts for ‘recommend a friend’, free research reports, guides or intelligence when they purchase etc
Love me. Love me not
Now’s the time to make sure our customers or clients really understand the full breadth of our products, services, help and support. Before we can expect them to know us, we need to understand them. We need to plot and track the changes they are currently facing (and in today’s economic climate change is happening really fast). The faster we can offer solutions, the greater our chance our protecting our current revenue streams, motivating clients to try out new products and services and building greater customer loyalty. So be flexible, be creative and be as quick as you can.
About the Author: Michelle Daniels is the Managing Director of Extended Thinking.
An experienced and effective business development and marketing strategist, Michelle has built a successful career increasing top line growth for service businesses and organisations. She helps her clients turn their marketing, business development and thought leadership plans into reality with her ‘hands on’ support and practical advice. A prolific writer, Michelle also combines creative flair with business nous to produce highly effective results. She has written (and ghostwritten) for many professional and business publications and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and professional services marketing group.
About Extended Thinking
Extended Thinking is a hands-on marketing and business development consultancy. Bringing together great minds and great ‘doers’, we help our clients devise and implement plans that achieve real business growth. Our clients come from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors, but invariably are those who are too busy or lack the resources to action their marketing and business development plans. We roll our sleeves up and muck in to free them up to do what they really want to do and are good at doing.