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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Why the construction industry needs holiday greeting cards in their marketing strategy

The sole purpose of a good marketing program is not to generate a flood of qualified sales leads. The golden rule in all your marketing efforts is to build relationships with your client base and with your potential future clients.

The construction industry is a highly competitive market place. Your company needs to stand out from the rest and have a unique selling point that will attract potential clients. According to Business Development Managers within the construction industry, building relationships is the most crucial strategy you can adopt in developing a healthy client base.

Create a strong desire for clients to use your company. Focusing heavily on ‘benefits’ is far less effective than focusing on ‘loss aversion’ whichs is a more compelling when it comes to purchasing and motivation. When you’re developing marketing materials, keep this fundamental concept in mind. With companies coming and going, having a long and reliable track record is priceless to reinforce the concept of loss aversion. You want potential clients to know, if they choose not to use you, they will lose out because you have experience, reliability and good client relations.

Take the time to write personal notes and send cards. Send construction 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 construction greeting card further focuses your client on your company. Adding “serving clients since…” verbiage inside the card helps reassure your clients you are stable and reliable. Visit www.cardscheaper.com and click on the construction text on the left side to view the selection of fun, whimsical and artistic construction greeting cards.

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Marketing in a down economy

I was talking with a friend, a very bright business owner.  He’d mentioned that business was slow this year so he was cutting back on advertising. He said he certainly had to cut out Holiday Greeting Cards this year. 

 

I’m telling you, this guy is one of the smartest guys I know.  I was stunned.  When I finally picked my jaw up from the ground we sat down and talked.

 

Slow times are the most important times to remind customers that they matter to you.  The fact that they haven’t done business with you in some time could result from a number of factors.

 

·         Haven’t needed your services

·         Don’t feel they have money for your services

·         Too busy to concern themselves with your services

·         Found someone else offering the same services

 

No matter what, getting your name, your face, your company in front of them is the key to keeping them as your customer.  The holidays make this easy.  This can be a simple card that lets them know they are important to you.  Don’t misread me here though, this is more than a greeting card.  It is a marketing tool.  To have the opportunity to connect with clients and then not ensure they see your wishes and recognize your business in the process is a WASTED opportunity.

·         Have your company name imprinted on the inside of your cards and then sign your cards personally

·         If possible, write a small note on the inside of the card, personal to that client, start with their name

·         And of course, order cards that help you stand out from the numerous other well wishers

 

Industry Specific Holiday Cards are a perfect way to do this.  If you’re an electrician and you send out an electrician themed Christmas card your card gets noticed.  A clever card that portrays your industry in a positive way is an advertisement on its own. It creates a buzz and encourages others to see who sent it. Adding your logo or name to the ouside of your greeting card is also a great benefit to your company.

 

Plus, a holiday greeting card is one of the oldest American Traditions.  Sharing this cultural icon with customers brings the relationship to a more personal level and bonds giver and receiver in a way no other printed piece can match. This personal relationship, with continued effort on your part, tends to evolve into customer loyalty.

 

Bringing loyalty to your customer base is the way to keep your business afloat in these trying times. 

·         Loyal customers rarely leave over a small change in price.

·         Loyal customers are more inclined to pay you on time.

·         Loyal customers talk about your company favorably with others.

 

Oh, and back to my friend, he recognized the errors of his misguided greeting card concepts. He decided to order cards after all. Hopefully you’ll do the same.    

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