14 Free or Cheap Ways to Stay In Touch with Customers, Clients, and Prospects
|Bug Eyez Bicycle Safety Lights - Ad Specialty Item|
The last thing any merchant or professional wants to be is "out of sight; out of mind." This is certainly generally true for prospects and current clients or customers, but we are specifically dealing with the marketing potential of word of mouth. You may have given great customer service, amazing products or services, or even impressed someone who has not yet done business with you. This could result in them telling others about you. . . at least for a day . . . or a week. But a month after the transaction, you are not likely to come to mind as a recommendation to their neighbor or relative.
On the other hand, even if they haven't been back to see you, you can be top of mind. If you continue to "touch" them, you are more likely to get referrals months or even years after the transaction. Think refrigerator magnet. That will be our first of 15 free or cheap methods for staying in touch. If you give your client a nice enough or funny enough or useful enough refrigerator magnet, that $1.00 item will be in their face several times per day. It increases the chance of your name or company coming to mind when someone brings up your industry or service.
There are many opinions as to how many touches you should be creating for prospects and/or clients. I've seen a low of 12 times per year to a high of as many as 60 times per year. I happen to be an Apple Computer fan. The local Apple retailer, MacMall, sends me as many as 30 touches a month during the Christmas season. It would take hundreds of pages to break down the industries and approaches that might help you decide the number of touches that would be appropriate. For today, we will merely provide you with a ton of ideas so that you can vary the touches you use.
1. Advertising specialty aka promotional products - Giving your customer one of the 700,000 printable items that you can purchase through your advertising specialty distributor is a great way to touch someone. The more useful, the larger the advertising space, and the more valuable the better. Pens are great, but make sure they don't break in 3 days. Calendars, day planners, desk accessories, key fobs, and the list is almost endless. Of course, refrigerator magnets.
2. Periodic email blasts - we will cover the details of emails later, but most industries should be mailing at least once per month. Make the email delightful, not boring, or some template you bought. Personal. Fun. Engaging. With a great offer.
3. Mail - Yep, it can still work. Mail letters, postcards, bulky envelopes with a pen inside. Remember to provide some kind of reason to contact you with clear calls to action and even clearer way to make the call.
4. Phone - Call folks. Sure, no one wants to hear from a salesperson. So make the call about anything but selling something. Call to invite to an open house, a clinic, a webinar, a free offer, to see how they like their purchase, or to conduct a survey.
5. Text - I would only text my customers if that's how they expect to be contacted or if I have something over the top amazing to offer. Something for free, or something for 40% off that is never discounted. A big star coming to autograph posters. Something big. Others won't agree and feel texting is okay for more mundane updates.
6. Social media - Why have a following unless you engage with them. Get 1000 connections on Linkedin, 2000 or more likes on Facebook, 5000 followers on Twitter, and 500 more on Pinterest. Of these you can have the most control over Linkedin. Use their powerful tools to connect with serious actual and potential clients. Then, generate content on these media. Have the content point to longer form content on your website, blog, or YouTube.
7. Invite them to an event - Hold a seminar, webinar, clinic, huge sale, gala, celebrity appearance, stunt, new model intro, or any kind of event. This provides your customer with a great opportunity to recommend you and even bring their neighbor to your event.
8. Trade shows - Where appropriate, show up for trade shows and press the flesh. Make sure you have a compelling reason for your clients and prospects to come see you. Contests, promotions, new products, loud or flashy demonstrations, free stuff.
9. In person - Too obvious? Not today. There is a sense that we no longer need to get in our car or a plane and go see the client face-to-face. This provides those who still do so with a competitive advantage.
10. Remembrances - Not all industries, you might think. Just for insurance guys. If you send out a nice card for a birthday, anniversary, Christmas, etc., you will create one more moment of good will.
11. Invoice stuffers - Maybe you don't mail out invoices anymore or statements. If you do, this is a very, very inexpensive place to stay in touch. If you use electronic invoicing, there may still be a way to send some love. Add a note, a link to go to, a suggestion to connect on social media, or any other kind of message. Thanks for the order or for your business is nice, too.
12. UPS, Fed Ex, Special Delivery, Courier - It is hard not to give immediate attention to something that comes by overnight or other expensive delivery means. The cost of the touch might be $7 or more just for the delivery, but if you really want them to pay attention to what you have to say, try this method.
13. Gifts - Doesn't need much of an explanation.
14. Skype and like that - Google hangouts, chat, Apple FaceTime, and many more. With video or just voice. Even just text. I'm surprised by how many prefer to do Skye texting.
Did I miss anything? There are probably other ways that I should be thinking of. Please help by adding to the list in the comments.
Coming next: Equipping Your Clients to Recommend You (Available May 8th)