In the early days, when many of my clients were salons and independent contractors, I noticed something that seemed a bit odd.
Most of the professionals I worked with routinely collected email addresses and phone numbers as part of their intake process. Yet very few turned around and used that information for marketing.
The few that tried were in the dark on how to do it. In an industry where each professional lives and dies on the strength of their clientele, that was pretty puzzling.
Your Most Important List
Chances are pretty good that most of your marketing is focused on those new customers. Makes sense. Client turnover is a real thing. You've got to add new customers to replace the ones that slip away or eventually you'll be out of business.
Depending on which article you're reading it costs between 4 and 10 times more to get a new customer to come through the door than to get a current customer to come back.
If you're like my salon friends and have a list of current clients laying around, it makes even more sense to fight client turn over by investing some of your energy in their direction.
Steff Green from WorkflowMax.com put together an interesting article titled “10 Things You’re Not Doing To Nurture Your Clients.” It's an interesting read and lists several actions that are not only impactful but practical as well. Two are listed here. Read the other eight items here.
Why aren’t you … saying thanks?
It sounds so simple, and yet, so many businesses don’t thank their clients. This small gesture ensures clients leave you with good memories, and adds a personal touch to a business transaction that ensures they’ll think fondly of your company again in the future.
How can you say thanks to your clients?
- Make sure the final communication you have is positive and affirming. For example, send them an email along with their invoice letting them know you enjoyed the project and can’t wait for the next one!
- Follow up after a couple of weeks to express your enjoyment of working with them and check in on how they are doing post-project.
- Invite them to a clients-only event, such as a christmas party or cocktail evening to celebrate a business milestone.
- Send them a bottle of wine or other small gift at Christmas or on another important date to express your thanks. In WorkflowMax you can add custom fields to clients so you can track clients’ birthdays and other important milestone dates).
On a side note, this item reminded me of a stylist I once worked with who swore by SendOutCards. She said sending a physical thank you card in the mail after a visit was invaluable to her client retention.
The entire service was automated. She simply initiated the entire process from her smart phone before her next appointment. However, in a time when person to person correspondence is over text message or email, the novelty of receiving those cards made them that much more special in the eyes of her clients.
Why aren’t you … offering additional packages?
Diversifying your incomes streams with additional packages and services can not only act as a buffer against lean times, it can also enable you to retain clients with ongoing contracts and help you to better manage cash flow.
How can you offer additional packages?
- Think about checkups you could do for your client on a monthly or yearly basis. For example, maintenance on an engineering
- Create a mailing list where clients can sign up, and offer limited-time and one-off packages exclusively to this list.
- Think about how Amazon offers complimentary products under their “customers who purchased this item also like:” feature. Is there a way you can offer a similar line of products or services to your clients?
- Can you offer packages on different levels: eg. beginners, intermediate, or advanced. This can work well for creative agencies, where an initial package might be a website redesign, and additional packages could address more high-level website or branding issues.
Your List is Your Business
The clients on your list are the life blood of your business. Unfortunately too many small businesses neglect this source of repeat business. It's as if they expect their customers to simply wander back on their own, with no prompting at all.
The folks on your list have expressed an appreciation for what you do and how you do it by voting with their wallets. But no one wants to be taken for granted.
There are countless ways to show appreciation for the clients on your list. The companies that do the best job of this have a serious competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Regardless of how you decide to show your appreciation to your list, what's most important is that you're consistent and you actually do it.