To do more business or get more referrals from your existing customers is a smart way to grow a business. This is a simple fact most of us seem to forget a little too often. 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 people on your list to keep your business healthy. When they need your product or service, your name will be on “top of mind” and your contact information will be at their fingertips.
We are now past the halfway point of 2017, and it is time to ask yourself a question: Have you done everything possible to stay top of mind with your audience? Or are you still waiting until you “have enough time” to nurture those relationships? Your clients need to know you care about them. And the only way to show you care is to, well, show you care! The more you connect with a client, the stronger the relationship is. The stronger the relationship, the harder it is for clients to leave you.
Here are some market-proven strategies for staying top-of-mind in genuine, relevant ways.
There will never be a perfect time to staying on top of mind. But by blocking out time every week, you can complete six months of work and be well on your way to engaging clients and prospects every step of the way. The best way to leverage this key business building tactic is to find a way to make certain that your customers, referral sources and hottest prospects never go more than about 30 days without some form of contact. These contacts do not, in fact should not, always have to be explicit sales attempts. Dedicate one day of the week to reach out to people you haven’t talked with in a while just to see how they are doing. These calls could turn up some opportunities.
Want to get your clients and prospects talking about you? Send them handwritten notes. Handwritten notes let you stand out in the age of email and internet, and people appreciate the extra effort it takes to write them. Get in the habit of sending them every week, and you will be amazed at how effective they are at creating business for you. Send them as a thank-you for a referral. Send them to point out something of interest. Send them in advance of a meeting. Send them after a meeting. Send them after a successful project. There are many reasons to send handwritten notes. Another great thing about sending written notes is that it is a very inexpensive form of marketing.
Commit to Social Media
When it comes to social media, consistency is more important than quality. The company that is publishing regularly is much more credible. People think the same way. That does not mean you should publish junk, but it does mean you should not wait six months until your blog post is perfect. An active social media account builds a community around your brand. The bigger the community, the better the brand recognition. Your Google search ranking will improve along with the size and activity of your followers on social media platforms. This can help you show up on the first page of results. Posting relevant updates and photo galleries on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is an appropriate lead-generation tactic.
Beef Up Your LinkedIn Profile
Consider what you have accomplished since creating your LinkedIn profile five years ago: Have you written new articles? Received any new awards? Chances are you are now much more experienced and established than you were a couple of years ago. An outdated profile is an immediate red flag to someone looking to do business with you. You need to complete and update your profile and update your picture. Do not be wary of strangers. While you can deny spam requests, it is a good idea to keep an open mind. Accepting people you might not know could lead to potential opportunities down the road. You should also capitalise on recommendations.
Provide Useful and Beneficial Information
To stay in touch with clients and prospects, many businesses send a monthly email newsletter. 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 will unsubscribe from your list with a press of a button. Think about the information your clients need and how they might like to receive that information.
Marrying Networking and Top-Of-Mind Strategies
You go to a networking event and conference, you hand out business cards like they are candy and then nothing happens. A business or follow-up email is one way to maintain contact with those people. But this touch point can only go so far. Organise your contacts so that you can deliver relevant content to each person and make sure no one slips through the cracks. Set up a system to remind you when you need to be more active with certain people so that you remember to check in with each contact regularly.
Remember Details Outside the Business Relationship
When is that contact’s birthday? During your last call, did a potential client mention he was a soon-to-be parent? Reaching out and saying congrats on the new baby or new job can go a long way, so be proactive in recognising important events and milestones. By using tools to get organised and stay relevant to your contacts, opportunities, referrals, and partnerships will naturally begin to materialise. Make nurturing your networking relationships a regular priority, and people will remember you for it.
Build Your Touchpoints Routine
Every company needs a plan to consistently engage prospects and clients. Below, you will find a sample touchpoints routine to help you stay on top of mind. Develop a routine for engaging your clients daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly, and you will see client retention soar.
Ø NotificationsUpdate clients on their projects daily through notifications.
Ø Social Media Update your social media platforms, engage and respond.
Ø Work With a Strategic PartnerThink about the various things that you might be able to do with a strategic partner – maybe seminar or a co-marketing event.
Ø Send Out Handwritten NotesEvery Thursday send at least 2 handwritten notes to past clients, strategic partners etc. This includes a photo or wish to mark a birthday or anniversary.
Ø Comment OnlineWhen you first start out doing this, try to do it at least once per week. When you’re ready, maybe you can increase it to twice per week.
Ø Customer Meetings Meet your clients in person at least once a month to review what you have accomplished and how work is progressing.
Ø Blogging If you are new to blogging, try to aim for posting a blog at least once per month. Increase it later to twice per month or weekly. Blogging might be written, video or audio. You could use all three forms for your blog.
Ø Newsletter Send an email marketing newsletter once per month. Pick a target date like the 15th. Once a month, have a strategic partner guest post for you or interview a strategic partner for a guest blog video or audio post.
Ø Press Release Aim for once a month as these are great for enhancing your SEO and building quality backlinks to your site. If you hire someone new, attend an industry conference, speak at an industry event, bring on a new client, it is a good idea to send out a press release to keep your company name in the news. Be sure to have agreement from clients as to whether or not you may reveal that you are working together.
Ø Speaking Event Set a goal to do a speaking event once per quarter. This can be something for your local chamber, for a group of home-owners, a not-for-profit, whatever audience you like, but the idea is to get out there and get your business out there.
Ø Local Directory Listing Check your local search profiles at least quarterly to ensure they are up to date and make any necessary changes. Directories are also getting noticed by the search engines and being considered more credible so it’s important to take advantage of what this kind of service has to offer.
Ø Client Appreciation Event Pick a month that works within your calendar and work with a few strategic partners to host a client appreciation event. The idea here is that each of you will invite clients as well as some prospects that would be good for your business as well as for your strategic partners. At an event like this, your clients will tell your prospects how much they love working with you and ideally will help close the deal for you. Think about hiring a videographer for this event so you can capture video testimonials to use on your website.
Ø Holiday Card You can send a holiday card or a Happy New Year card.
Your goal is to be remembered! When strategising how to stay in touch with your prospects and clients, you can find creative ways to communicate with them, both online and offline. The above list may seem overwhelming. If you haven’t been doing anything routinely, pick just one activity and work it into your routine for the next month. Then pick a second and so on. If you already do some of these items, add in one new item at a time. Success comes with consistency and repetition. 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!