By Joel Norton
Maintain regular contact
Now that you’ve started building a marketing list, you need to communicate with your customers and prospects.
Frequency of contact is difficult to advise without knowing your business, as it really depends on what is appropriate for your business category. For example, if you’re a retailer of high-frequency consumables then weekly or fortnightly is acceptable, however a retailer who sells digital cameras would probably only communicate monthly.
At the very least, you should be communicating at least every 90 days.
What do you say? Obviously you need to deliver on what they registered for originally – advance notice of new products, access to special offers or promotions. You can also include product reviews, customer reviews, invite them to VIP events where you run ‘how to’ demonstrations or advance showings of new products.
Leverage your Existing Customers
Referral marketing is one of the most powerful marketing techniques available, yet many businesses do not have a defined referral marketing system in place.
First and foremost, you need to be referable. Your customers are not going to promote you if you offer a lousy product or service. Next, you need to target your existing customers – start with your best customers, as they’ll generally refer people who are most like themselves.
Then you need to educate them on your Ideal Customer so they’re not just promoting you to anybody and everybody. And make sure you provide an appropriate offer for both your customer, and the prospect. Lastly, make sure you follow-up your customers and remind them about the promotion on a regular basis. You could incorporate a leader board, or potentially change or refresh the incentive every few months to provide a reason to re-contact your customers about the program.
By Valerie Khoo (Valerie has a great business blog at valeriekhoo.com)
Sydney Morning Herald
When it comes to getting new customers, one of the most powerful sources of leads is through referrals. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. After all, many consumers are going to be far more influenced by their friends - or people in whose opinion they trust - than a paid advertisement. I'm not suggesting that you shun advertising but, rather, consider including referral marketing to your mix. That is, actively asking and encouraging your existing customers or fans to spread the word about your products and services.
If you have quality products and services, chances are that your customers are spreading the word anyway. But, sometimes, they might just need a nudge. Or to be given an easy way for them to pass on information about your business to a friend. Some may be ready to recommend you but could just need an incentive to take the next step.
However, we've come a long way from leads exchange networking groups where participants were actively encouraged to refer new business to each other. Those groups still have their place. But with so much communication proliferating online, referral programs can be implemented relatively easily and cheaply. Importantly, they can be rigorously tracked so that you can determine where your leads are coming from, exactly how much it's costing you and whether your resulting customers are worth the investment.
So what are some initiatives you could use?