So you’re a happy internet marketer, writing awesome relationship-building content to promote your business.
Today I want to suggest a quick, simple promotion you can put together in the next couple of days and fire off next week. The business purpose? To strengthen one of the most important aspects of your business.
Every business needs a steady stream of new prospects, and there’s a lot of information out there to tell you how to attract and nurture those new prospects.
But most businesses — large and small — tend to chase new customers at the expense of their existing customers.
February, as the month of Valentine’s Day and all manner of lovey-dovey messaging, is a fine month to rekindle a spark with the customers you already have, and let them know how very much you appreciate them.
The primary goal: Express your appreciation
One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to improve a relationship (business, romantic, or otherwise) is to speak up and let the other party know you’re glad they’re there.
Send out a message that lets your existing customers know that you appreciate their business. That you’re honored to be able to serve them. That you wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for them. And that you appreciate their trust.
Put it into your own voice. You might want to tell a story. Or go on a bit of a rant about why you do what you do. Make it personal, and make it your own. It doesn’t need to be long or complex, but it should be from the heart.
Your customer relationship campaign might begin and end here. Draft your message of appreciation this week, put a little polish on it, and schedule it in your email software (you do have an email marketing program in place, right?) for February 14.
You can decide for yourself if you want to include a call to action. If you do, make sure it comes in the form of a gift rather than as a request. Which brings us to:
Optional add-on: Make something nice
Let’s face it, valentines you make yourself are just nicer than those creepy SpongeBob ones you can get at the grocery store.
Put a free offering together for your customers. Maybe it’s a “Best Of” PDF report, a webinar, a Google Hangout, a Twitter chat. Maybe it’s open “office hours” where they can dial into a conference call number and ask questions for a few hours. If you have a physical storefront, maybe you’d like to throw a little party.
Wrap up your offering as a gift. Generosity, affection, and creativity are your watchwords. One year I sent my list a really good chocolate cream pie recipe.
Yes, you can offer a discount if you want to
We don’t normally recommend doing a lot of discounting in your business — it does bring customers in, but it’s hell on your profit margins, which can threaten your ability to do an amazing job tomorrow and the next day.
It also can put you into the “bargain” category, when where you really want to be is the “valuable” category.
But done occasionally, especially for existing customers only, a discount can make for a nice “thank you.”
Think about how many companies (cable companies are particularly bad about this) offer amazing promotional discounts to brand-new customers, while loyal existing customers get ignored. Does that make sense? No. It’s treating the waitress better than you treat your date. Which is the kind of behavior that will make your date wander off to be someone else’s “new customer.”
Bundles are a good option to discounts — instead of cutting the price, throw a valuable bonus into the cart. Just remember — for this promotion, it’s existing customers only. And approach this with the mentality of a valentine, not a used car blowout sale. Don’t forget that your primary goal is to express your appreciation.
Don’t overthink it
I’m not saying an “Ides of March” promotion wouldn’t be good, but try to take advantage of the upcoming holiday and pull this together quickly. An imperfect gesture is better than an impeccable plan that never gets implemented.
Now go do this…
- Schedule time early this week to write a heartfelt message that lets your wonderful customers know just what they mean to you.
- Take stock of what you can offer of value to your customers as a thank-you. This is not the time to build a massive new piece of software or a new membership community. Think “a dozen roses,” not the Taj Mahal.
- Get any landing pages or other delivery mechanisms you need into place by Friday, so you can spend the first few days of next week proofing your message and making sure the tone is just the way you want it.
How about you?
What are your favorite ways to show some love to your existing customers? Do you ever run special promotions just for them? Or offer them unexpected free stuff as a gesture of appreciation?
Drop us a comment and let us know the best “We love our customers” message that you’ve seen — whether it’s from your own business or someone else’s.