#1 Marketing Strategy

Whether or not you normally use direct mail to market your business, using your holiday greeting card as a marketing tool is marketing strategy number one! Always send industry specific cards to your customers, staff and vendors. It is the most effective marketing campaign you will ever launch.

1) Christmas cards are viewed as gifts. Cards are kept and typically displayed for an extended period of time. This happens for both business and home card recipients.

2) This only works if you are sending industry specific greeting cards. You want your card to stand out; to represent YOU and WHAT YOU DO. If you are a landscaper you want to send a landscaping holiday card. A card that says “LANDSCAPER”. This happens with the subject matter on the face of the card. If you send a clever card with Santa performing landscaping work, your card stands out. When your customer has friends over for the holidays they will see your card. “Hey, that’s a great card.” a friend might remark. “I was looking for a new landscaper, how do you like this company?“.  And there you have it. Your card, together with your service, create an avenue for your satisfied customer to be your best salesman ever.

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TOP 4 WAYS TO GET YOUR HOLIDAY CARDS NOTICED

Top 4 ways to get your holiday cards noticed:

#1: Order industry specific cards so your customers visualize your company when they get your card.

#2: Add holiday graphics to your envelope imprint to make it festive and ensure the receiver recognizes it as a holiday card.

#3: Personalize equipment color to match what you use (blue trash truck, dark green portable, etc.).

#4: Add your company name or logo to the front of the card

Customer Service Skills – #1

SKILL #1: PATIENCE  
They say “patience is a virtue“. They’re right! While we sometimes wish our customers would be more patient, it is important that WE understand that OUR patience with our customer is what really matters. Because without it, good customer service simply isn’t possible.

Your customers come in, or call, often when they are frustrated. Recognize and empathize with this frustration. You may have handled 5 calls about the same problem today but this person doesn’t know that and needs your assistance. This is their first interaction with you and possibly the first with your company. Keep that in mind and be mindful of your tone.

Ensure they feel your interested in – and focused on – what they are saying; and be sure to address their individual concerns.  Don’t presume you know what they want when they start talking and either tune out or cut them off.

Customer Tip #4

CUSTOMER TIP: Walk the walk. It’s unfair to expect a positive attitude and a good work ethic from your staff, if you complain about your customers or goof off at work. You may feel you’ve ‘paid your dues’ but you may have to pay far more if you can’t be the example your staff needs to see. We all hated it as kids “do as I say, not as I do”. As owners and management we must lead by example.

Is it anyone’s business what kind of car you drive or when you walk into work some days? No. You probably saved for years to get that car and maybe you didn’t leave the office until hours after your last employee did. But you want staff representing you and your business in a positive way. The choices we make have consequences. No matter who we are or how hard we work to get where we are.

Customer Tip #2:

CUSTOMER TIP: Educate! Whether you provide a product or service, educating your customers on the process of working with you helps them feel more comfortable with you and more confident in your company.

Selling a product: Don’t just hand them an owner’s manual, go over as many features as you can, personally. Your product, be it a car, a house, a set of tires or a new air conditioner, could be the best on the planet; if your customer doesn’t understand how to make it function properly, they are frustrated – and YOU lose in the end.

Providing a service: Help your customer know what to expect. Will they receive a call, something in the mail? Are there things that might help them feel more at ease? Whether it is a surgery, a pending court appearance, new hair style or tune up, verbally take them through the process and share any information that someone receiving this service for the first time, might not anticipate.

Follow up, updates and quick communication help your customers know you care. And of course, industry specific holiday cards and thank you cards are a great way to show your appreciation and to stay in touch with your customers during times they may not be doing business with you.

For other tips check back here or like us on Facebook . We’ll be adding new tips on how to keep your customers throughout the rest of the year.

Customer Tip #1:

Industry specific holiday cards and thank you cards are a great way to show your appreciation and to stay in touch with your customers during times they may not be doing business with you.

For other tips check back here or like us on Facebook . We’ll be adding new tips throughout the rest of the year.

CUSTOMER TIP 1: Never take your customers for granted. There are always others that can, and will, do what you do. Sometimes for less, sometimes faster, sometimes just in a manner that shows they care more about the customer that used to be yours. Customers are not a distraction from other work to be done. Customers are the reason you are in business. Be sure you treat them as such.

Business Survival Tip for today’s economy

The $64,000 question… How do I keep my customers?  Right now, more than ever, holding on to the customers we have is priority number one.  Believe the adage, it costs 5X more to gain new customers than hold onto current customers.

 

So what’s the answer? We keep them, in part, by ensuring they know we care about them and their business.  Just like at home we often take those around us for granted and we forget to say please or thank you.  Giving a customer a simple “thanks for continuing to do business with us; we really appreciate it” goes a long way.  

 

Regular communication and building a relationship is key to creating customer loyalty.  We all know it’s true: Out of site, out of mind.  Don’t let your customers forget you or soon they’ll be someone else’s customers.  For many, a quick – but personal – card is a perfect way to stay in touch.  Cards are seen as personal mail – not solicitations.  But don’t be misled – the ability of a greeting card to market you and your organization is enormous.  The cost is small, and whether you mail them or hand them out personally, the receiver is excited to see it.  The mere size makes it clear it is not a bill, not junk mail, but a greeting card.

 

As the holidays approach, don’t fool yourself into thinking that sending cards to your customers, vendors and staff isn’t important.  It is!  A greeting card is a gift.  The exchange of greeting cards is one of the most popular and widely accepted customs in the United States.  Sharing that tradition with customers shows them just how special they are to you.  And again, it is an effective marketing tool for your business. 

 

But of course, all cards are not equal in their marketing effectiveness.  How many pretty wreath cards or winter scenes do you think your customer will receive?  To market effectively you must stand out from the pack. You must give your customer something that will make them take pause, smile and think of you.

 

Don’t miss the opportunity to market your business with an industry specific Christmas card.  A clever card that depicts your industry in a positive way ensures your customer associates that card and the smile on their face with your company. Adding your logo or company name to the front of the card tops the deal. House of Cards, and www.Cardscheaper.com provides inexpensive but clever and unique cards for many industries and allow numerous options to best suit the needs of each customer.

Accounting industry marketing strategies and industry specific greeting cards.

While there are plenty of marketing strategies for CPAs, 2 stand out as key strategies for longevity.

1) Target carefully. Many firms are focusing more heavily in tighter niches: start up businesses, indsutry specific businesses, etc. You become more experienced in that specific area allowing you to better serve your clientelle.

2) Be service oriented. It costs 5 times more to get a new client than to retain a current one. Make and keep business relationships.

Take the time to write personal notes and send cards. Send accountant themed Christmas cards to clients during the holidays. Cardscheaper.com has a huge selection of industry specific holiday cards to ensure your company’s card stands out and gets you noticed. Adding your company logo to a greeting card created specifically for accountants further focuses your client on your company. Visit www.cardscheaper.com and click on the accountant text on the left side to view the selection of professional, whimsical and artistic CPA greeting cards.

Where do I spend my marketing dollars?

Although this will vary by industry – the overwhelming thought this year is to spend the bulk of your budget on the clients you already have. We know it costs more to get new clients than keep existing ones… some of that is due to the shear cost of searching out and courting these prospects.

Direct mail is helpful and a staple for many industries. However, the decision to limit funds spent in this way and instead focus your marketing dollars on those that have contributed to the success you’ve reached thus far makes a lot of sense.

Marketing to this audience costs less and is more productive.

* You already have their contact information

* They already have experience with your company

Phone calls, notes and greeting cards to current customers show them you think of them. Such actions will also ensure your customers think of you. “Out of Site – Out of Mind” is true. Even those customers who had been happy with your service may not think to call you when they need you again – especially if it has been several months or more since they last did business with you… or last heard from you. And always send industry specific holiday cards at Christmas time. Cardscheaper.com has a huge selection of business or profession specific cards to choose from. You are sure to stand out from the crowd of cards your client receives, which is just as important as the sentiment that is shared.

Happy customers make a great sales force for your company. Ignoring their power has the same impact, but for your competitor.

If you neglect them, they will leave.

Sounds obvious, yet many companies concern themselves with new customers at the expense of current customers. 

Ever see the cable or phone company ‘special deals’ on TV?  They always end in “applicable to new customers only”.  That actually penalizes me for being a current customer. 

Loyal customers are the key to a successful business.  If you don’t believe it – neglect them.  Especially in today’s market place, such neglect or perception thereof won’t be tolerated.

So how do you get or keep loyal customers?

Start with Communication. Consistent communication is important.  Don’t confuse this with continuous sales pitches – pestering them can be as damaging as neglecting them.

  • A regular (weekly, monthly, quarterly – depends on your industry) newsletter or flier (mailed or emailed) keeps your company name in the foreground of your customers’ psyche.
  • A reminder card for a tune up, regular service, or suggested service shows you care.  A follow up phone call ensures your contact information continues to be accurate and again, illustrates your concern and reminds them that they matter to you and your business.
  • A greeting card, whether at the holidays, a customers’ anniversary, as an appreciation for their business or birthday recognition personalizes your company to your individual customers.

Be sure you know them. Know what/how they order.  Know the frequency and what motivates their decision.  If possible, know them personally.  Don’t pry for personal information, but knowing your customers and being able to ask “how’s your son’s little league team doing” or “how was your vacation last month?” demonstrates that it isn’t just their business but the individual customer that means something to you. 

Show your appreciation.  Thank You Cards and phone calls really do make a difference.  In addition, providing customer incentives that are only available to Current (LOYAL) Customers speaks volumes. Show your customers that you notice that they’ve been loyal.  This doesn’t have to be expensive, infact it may look like you might be charging too much to begin with if you just offer some gift (wine, golf outing, etc.) Instead, offering free shipping, cleaning or a free service or product you sell encourages your customers to come back.  It GIVES them something they would normally have to pay for to receive.  Recognize they have other options and encourage in your words and actions the importance of their loyalty to your business.

Take the time to write personal notes and send cards. Send themed Christmas cards to clients during the holidays. Cardscheaper.com has a huge selection of industry specific holiday cards to ensure your company’s card stands out and gets you noticed. Adding your company logo to a greeting card created specifically for accountants further focuses your client on your company. Visit www.cardscheaper.com and view the selection of professional, whimsical and artistic greeting cards for your industry.

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