Archive for the Category ◊ Referral ◊

Author:
• Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

I hear the phrase “relationship marketing” more and more these days.  Based on the definition in Wikipedia, it is the marketing effort which focuses on customer retention, satisfaction, and referrals from those satisfied customers.  So, basically, it’s

  • taking care of a customer for the long term,
  • building a relationship based on more than just a single purchase,
  • giving the customer value beyond the value perceived in that one purchase.

Therefore, relationship marketing is the alter-ego of advertising which aims to acquire more first-time customers.  The objective of relationship marketing is to satisfy and retain the customers you already have so that they’ll

  1. continue buying from you and
  2. refer other customers to you by word-of-mouth.

Typically, you hear more about how to get new customers, how to reach more people.  However, in a contracting economy, new customers are harder to get.  Plus, you’ve already done the hard part to acquire the customers you have.  Why not take care of them?

The concept of relationship marketing has been around a long time. It really isn’t new.  But what IS new about the customer or the marketplace?  The modes of communication used to build relationships with customers are new.

Gone are the days when you built relationships with customer by seeing them around town on a daily basis.  How do we communicate now?

Social Marketing, online social groups, Twitter, e-mail, etc, all of which equals information overload.  Because of increasing junk,  customers develop finely tuned filters.  Extraneous information MUST be strained out or they risk overlooking important information.  It doesn’t matter that an occasional baby might be thrown out with the bath water, as long as it’s not THEIR baby.  That’s pretty tough filtering.

As a merchant, how do you cut through the clutter?  How you push your message through the (necessarily) ruthless filters?  Here are some ideas:

1)    Email marketingoffer VALUE!  Offer a free report, offer an e-course on an important subject.  Whatever it is in your niche/industry to offer value to your customer.  If they perceive your e-mails as valuable, and therefore worth their time, they will not delete them.  Constant Contact
is one email marketing service worth trying.  They offer a 60 day free trial to see how it works.
2)    Social Media – There are so many social networking sites out there and so much activity going on that it’s difficult to focus valuable marketing messages.  Here, it is imperative to determine your target audience and focus your message for that specific audience.  If the message is too general, it won’t make it through the (figurative) filter.  Of course, the message must be presented as part of the social conversation, NOT as a marketing message.  A blatant marketing message would get tossed out on its ear before ever being read completely.
3)    Written correspondence – Personal cards, letters, or post cards in the mail have  a greater chance of being read than even e-mail.  As in all other media, you must offer value in the card or letter.  Good wishes, prayers, new sales offer (based on previous known interests), useful information, holiday wishes.  Make the customer feel important, something other than a number or an address in a database.  Birthday cards, holiday cards, get well cards, thank you cards.  Written correspondence on a personal level is quickly becoming a lost art.  Personal mail is appreciated and, most importantly, READ.  Not every message has to have a marketing message.  The biggest challenge with personal written correspondence is the effort required to make it happen.  Send Out Cards is an innovative way to take the heavy lifting out of this marketing channel.

In a receding economy, making the most of your existing customer base is imperative.  Using a couple of simple marketing methods – e-mail and personal cards – can make a huge difference in your business growth.

Category: Referral  | Leave a Comment
Author:
• Friday, January 16th, 2009

Dripping is the process of making repeated contacts with a client or prospect to ensure they keep you in mind. Every once in a while – perhaps once a month or once every two months – you might give them a call, send them an e-mail, or send them a handwritten note in the mail. The best way to “drip” on someone is through an automated tool so it’s taken care of without your intervention (except for the phone calls, of course).

Automated tools enable you to set up a follow-up campaign which specifies which message is sent at which time. Most people are familiar with e-mail marketing services which provide this service. It’s a very easy way to stay in regular, predictable contact with prospects and clients.

The problem with e-mail is that we get so much of it. We have to screen viciously to delete anything extraneous, which is what your prospects are doing. Depending on your relationship with them, they may delete your e-mail as SPAM. Or, worse, perhaps your e-mail doesn’t get through to them all because it gets caught in their Junk or SPAM folder before they even see it. That has happened with several of my legitimate personal e-mails to friends.

Regular mail is a different story. It always gets delivered and there’s no Junk or SPAM folder on the side of the mailbox for the mailman to put envelopes in. Only 3% of all the regular mail we receive is personal. How do you feel when you see a handwritten envelope addressed to you? Pretty excited, I bet. That might be the first thing you open. I like to save it until last, kind of like dessert, so I can savor it after going through all the junk.

Send Out Cards provides a unique service that allows you to “drip” on clients and prospects with greeting cards or postcards. You can set up a follow-up campaign, just like with an e-mail marketing service, but your contacts receive postcards or greeting cards in the regular mail, right on time, with your personal message. Even written in your handwriting, with your signatures, possibly even with your own picture included. All of this service right from your computer. No cards to buy, stamps to stock, or envelopes to stuff. The company takes care of all of that hassle so you can concentrate on who to send your next card to.

Happy Business Building!

Author:
• Thursday, November 06th, 2008

I attended an amazing Power Core meeting today!  I was a guest of one of my clients.

Lots of talking, lots of (very short!) business presentations.  This group is in the business of referral marketing in a big way.  Even as a guest, I walked away with four referrals for business.

I also walked away with a small stack of business cards as new contacts.  Nothing particularly special about that – you can pick up business cards anywhere.  But, if I follow up quickly, these people might actually remember me from the meeting.

So, I finally had a chance to sit down to send out some cards to them. After sending a few initial contact e-mails, I sent out four thank you cards to people from the meeting who particularly helped – either inviting me, giving me a referral, or answering a bunch of questions.  With Send Out Cards, I was able to sit down at the computer, draft four entirely unique messages on four entirely unique cards, and have them sent by REAL mail to these business contacts.  But I didn’t have any thank you cards at home.  It was all through the computer.  I’m hoping for a positive impression through those cards to these influential networking people.  I’m excited that I’m able to do it so easily!!