Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Remembering the People Most Important to Us

I hope everyone had a nice and relaxing Memorial Day weekend, and spent it with friends and family. I also hope you took time to reflect on what this holiday is really all about: Remembering those who served our country in the military.

It's also a good time to reflect on the most important people in your business: Your customers and prospects. More specifically, how often do you keep in contact with them; and are you selling them enough of the products and services they need?

This is probably the biggest reason why people don't buy multiple times (or even once) from a business or website owner - they weren't contacted very often (or not at all) after the initial contact. This is one of the biggest mistakes in marketing strategy that a business owner can make: Not following up with a customer or prospect.

The average American sees and hears 2,000 to 3,000 marketing messages a day. It's difficult (if not impossible) for your single marketing message to get through and resonate with a prospect. It'll take time for someone to get familiar with you, your business and how you can solve their biggest problem(s).

That's why you need to have a series of follow-up e-mails or postcards ready to go after you make an initial contact with a prospect through direct mail, pay-per-click ads, or other marketing channel. And if you aren't keeping in contact with your customers, another company is.

Along with the series of follow-up messages, you need to have an overall marketing strategy (also known as a marketing funnel) that you move customers through to make an initial purchase, then more frequent (and hopefully higher-priced) purchases. Dan Kennedy is a big advocate of the marketing funnel, and I am too.

Remember to stay in touch with your customers and prospects - it's the most profitable thing a business or website owner can do.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Your Best Source of New Customers Is...

Your old ones! Folks who haven't purchased from you in awhile, or current customers that you can sell more products and services to.

New customers are always good, but they're more expensive to obtain. The initial expense to get a new customer isn't as important by itself; but what the cost of lead generation is compared to the lifetime value of a customer.

Marketing studies have shown that it's 5 to 7 times more expensive to get new customers, instead of selling to existing or former ones. This can be a costly mistake that can be damaging - or even fatal - to a struggling business.

If you've been in business for more than a year or two, you've probably had some customers stop doing business with you for one reason or another. You can contact them by postcard, e-mail and/or a phone call to touch base with them again - preferably with an attractive offer.

A local men's haircut place recently sent me a postcard, offering a men's cut for 40% off. It was a good offer, and good enough to take advantage of it. However, their regular men's cuts are $38 - so I'm not sure I'll keep coming back at that price.

Re-activation offers to former customers are good ways to get feedback on your products/services, in addition to more cashflow.