My good friend and colleague, Patrice Rhoades-Baum has graciously provided an article for this month’s issue. Last month I showed you how relationship marketing can help your business during bad economic times. Patrice has expanded upon that topic. She provides 5 marketing strategies for staying in touch with your prospects and clients.
By Patrice Rhoades-Baum Copyright © 2008
Many years ago in a freelance writing business, I discovered that my clients enjoyed working with me and raved about my copywriting. But shortly after working together, they forgot about me!
Here’s when that startling fact hit home: I had worked closely with Marge to write her organization’s annual report. A few months later, we bumped into each other. “Oh!” she said. “We had a writing project that would’ve been perfect for you. But we forgot about you and hired someone else.”
Yikes! Those words stung. I was disappointed but learned a great lesson: I had failed to stay in touch with Marge – and with my other clients and prospects.
Marketing Strategies #1: Make time to regularly stay in touch with prospects and clients.
Our clients and prospects are busy. They may not remember to seek us out when they need our products and services. A basic marketing principal is to stay in touch with the folks on your list to keep your business healthy. When they need your product or service, your name will be “top of mind” and your contact information will be at their fingertips.
Also, direct marketers know this fact: “Your best list is your house list.” Invest time to nurture these relationships. Your reward: Repeat business and referrals.
Marketing Strategies #2. Provide useful and beneficial information.
To stay in touch with clients and prospects, many businesses send a monthly email newsletter (aka, an ezine). Whatever communication format you decide to use, you must ensure the content meets the needs of your clients and prospects. If the information is not beneficial, is too promotional, or arrives so frequently they feel harassed or overwhelmed, they’ll unsubscribe from your list in a heartbeat.
Marketing Strategies #3. Clarify your objectives to ensure your information meets the mark.
Let’s say you’re a team-building consultant. To stay in touch with the managers and supervisors on your list, you decide to invite them to free monthly teleclasses. Your top 3 objectives could be:
- To help my clients and prospects create effective teams, each month’s teleclass will present a fun activity they can easily implement.
- Because my brand is based on “building teams by connecting people,” each teambuilding activity will encourage teams to build trust, have fun together, and deepen personal connections.
- To meet my marketing needs, I’ll briefly promote my upcoming workshops and encourage participants to call me to schedule a consultation.
Marketing Strategies #4. Stay in touch by mixing and matching formats and frequencies. In other words, how you contact folks and how often you contact them.
- Let’s say you’re a speaker and expert on the topic of leadership. To stay in touch with your prospects and clients, you could:
- Mail a notecard with a leadership quote every quarter, send a brief monthly ezine summarizing new leadership research, and offer leadership strategies on your blog.
- Or deliver an audio email tip of the day and send a monthly case study by mail.
- Or offer a free monthly teleclass, plus email a brief tip of the week.
- Or send a monthly ezine and a quarterly notecard. In mid-summer (versus the holidays) mail a team-building activity kit to clients and key prospects.
Think about the information your clients need and how they might like to receive that information. Be sure to consider how much time they typically have available. For example, if your target audience is college students, they might be thrilled to receive your weekly ezine, read your daily blog postings, and attend every teleclass you offer. But if your audience is CEOs and executives, you need to get past the gatekeepers and provide information in a format they will read or listen to.
Marketing Strategies #5. Be creative.
Your goal is to be remembered! When strategizing how to stay in touch with your prospects and clients, you can find creative ways to communicate with them, both online and offline.
Here’s a fun way to get started: Brainstorm and list multiple ways you could stay in touch with clients including outlandish, way-out ideas. Now review your list. Do a few unique ideas pop out? Ideas that will help you stand out from the crowd, have reasonable return on investment, and meet your audience’s needs?
Remember, staying in touch with your clients and prospects helps to build these important relationships, keeps your business top of mind, and ensures they won’t forget about you!
About Patrice Rhoades-Baum
If you own a business, your website is your most powerful marketing and sales tool. Marketing consultant and copywriter Patrice Rhoades-Baum teams with entrepreneurs and small-business owners to make their websites DELIVER: clients, income, credibility, results, and success. A Colorado resident and avid outdoorswoman, Patrice is renowned for her down-to-earth website strategies. Visit www.BrandingAndWebsites.com for a free worksheet: “Nail Your Elevator Pitch!”