The most successful businesses understand retaining their customers is one of the most important functions of the marketing team. Customers who have previously used your business are more likely to make a purchase and cost less to convert.
There are numerous ways you can keep in contact with your customers. Learn the methods and the best practices in this blog post.
Why Is It Important To Keep In Contact With Previous Customers?
Research clearly demonstrates keeping in touch with your previous or current customers can have significant and diverse benefits for your business. From a sales point of view, it is easier and cheaper to sell again to previous customers. There is no need to go into the market place and attract them to your business to build their trust in your brand before closing the deal.
Instead all that is required is for your marketing team remind previous clients who you are and what you can offer them. This is a shorter route to conversion and more successful.
Keeping in touch with customers also allows you to spread word of your services and products to their peers. This gives you the ability to discover more potential customers and at a lower cost than attempting to identify and attract customers yourself. It is also more successful; recommendations from customers are more effective at selling than active business marketing.
Which Businesses Should Keep In Contact?
Every business should aim to keep in touch with their core group of customers. Even those who think their business does not require constant communication can find customers will leave for a competitor.
Instead of asking if you should keep in contact with your customers, you should be asking what you should be communicating with your audience.
There are several options available for any business. The most obvious is to keep your customers informed of new products, special offers or promotions which you are running.
There is likely to be products which are complementary or could be upgraded by the customer, therefore up-selling and cross-selling are good suggestions.
Although these are common in marketing, they are rather ineffective. Companies which keep in contact for this purpose have lower retention rates than those that stay in touch via other methods.
For instance, providing a newsletter which offers useful tips, advice and support for your audience can be a really good retainer. It offers your customers something of value and can start a conversation to engage your audience.
There is also the option to ask your audience to spread word about their experiences with your brand. This method has two benefits. The first is that it spreads news about your brands to previously untouched members of your target audience. The second is that it can reinforce the value of your brand and create a mental note within the customer to make another purchase from you.
General conversation is useful on social media and allows you to build a quick following. However, you have to be sure your voice on social media is the same as you have on other channels, otherwise your audience will not trust your brand.
What Methods Are Available For Keeping In Contact?
There are various ways to keep in touch with your previous customers. Some of these methods are exclusively online or offline, whereas others can be performed both online and offline.
Mail Shot – Mail shots can be performed both online and offline. Physical mail shots are not entirely effective when they are purely used to create additional sales, with only 1% of recipients choosing to buy. Businesses can increase the effectiveness of mail shots by including an item within the envelope making it lumpy mail. Lumpy mail has a very good rate of return.
Alternatively, convert your direct mail into an email message. Emails are more effective for a number of different reasons:
- It can be made personalised and therefore more attractive to the audience.
- The content can be quickly and cheaply produced.
- It takes less effort for the receiver to open and know whether the contents are relevant to them.
The more value added to your mail’s content, the better the results which can be gained from the campaign. For instance, sending a note about a special deal is likely to generate less interest as sending advice and attaching a special offer to the end of the message.
Social Media –This has become one of the most effective methods for keeping in touch with your customers. There are a number of benefits your business can experience from using social media. Firstly by retweeting, replying and mentioning those who are following you or you are following, can demonstrate your community ethos. This increases your appeal to others and allows you to attract new customers.
Social media is also fairly inexpensive, unless you start using sponsored social media updates.
However, don’t use social media to sell. Only 1% of online sales can be found to originate from social media updates. Instead use social media to direct your past customers onto landing pages to sign them up to your email lists or product pages.
Telephone Calls – Sometimes the best method to keep in contact with your clients is to pick up the phone and speak to your customers. This is a very effective method if your company provides services to other businesses. It is also useful because it creates a very personal contact between you and your customers and allows you to build more trust.
However, this is a rather time intensive endeavour and should only be used when the customer is really engaged with your business and has a high value.
How Often Should You Contact Your Customers?
The frequency of your contact is often dependent on the method. Those using social media can post content to direct contacts to their site several times a day. However if they are directly interacting with their customers this should be limited. The same should be said of mail shots and email. While email marketing can be done once a day, physical mail should be limited to around once a month at most.
Phone calls should also be limited to once every two weeks at the absolute most.
Contacting your customers too often will result in your messages seeming like spam and you may find your customers will start to avoid you rather than engage with you.
Keeping in contact with your clients is very important. There are several ways you can keep in contact and different options for your content. It is important you select the best option for your audience and ensure you aren’t bombarding your audience too much.
- Start building a mailing and emailing list.
- Start an email campaign to keep in contact with your clients.
- Build a social media profile on Twitter and Facebook for your customers to interact with.
- Keep in contact with your customers by constantly providing useful content.