Mine the Gold in Your Customer Files

Guest post by Melody Brooks

Most businesses don’t treat their current customers like the treasure they are. Once customers buy, there they sit—forgotten. Oh, they might get a sales flyer now and then, but they’re not a marketing or sales priority.

Businesses are busy chasing those shiny new clientele, and they let previous customers fade away. Sometimes old clients drift into indifference, forgetting about you completely, or they’re miffed that you don’t check on them to see how they like your product. After all, they spent good money with you—and if you’re not keeping in touch, you’re blowing it.

These customers would be your biggest cheerleaders if you’d put forth a little effort to contact them. Instead, they’re ignored, and they aren’t impressed . . . and worse, they let others know it.

Why Don’t Businesses Go for the Easy Sale?

Is it easier to sell to someone who has already bought and knows the value of your product or to sell to someone who doesn’t know who you are? And is it cheaper to keep in touch with current clients or to go after new ones?

It’s less work, less expensive, and easier to sell to current customers than to new ones. Which begs the question: why aren’t businesses working those customer files? Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect it has to do with the constant push for numbers—to acquire clients and sell, sell, sell. Old customers are just that . . . old customers. It’s a shame so many businesses have a shortsighted view of their clients because they’re leaving a fortune on the table.

What these businesses don’t realize is that it doesn’t take much to keep up with clientele, especially if they have their email addresses. They can create a list and contact clients whenever they wish. Clients want to hear from businesses they’ve worked with, especially those that treat them like a preferred customer. A little attention goes a long way.

Keep Customers Close.

Send all your customers a letter offering some kind of freebie or bonus if they’ll just give you their email address. Let them know you’ll be contacting them regularly with tips and information.

Then do it. Build your list, and contact them once a month or so. Give them great information to help them with their problems. Make them feel appreciated with special deals or coupons. Get them in the door or to your website with an irresistible offer.

Create a Win-Win with Joint Ventures.

If you find products or services your clientele would like, partner with that vendor to offer them to your list and split the revenue. Not that you should cram their inboxes with sales pitches, but if you find something you know would benefit them, offer it. You’ll be surprised how lucrative JVs can be.

A word of warning here: that product better be good, or you’re not doing yourself any favors. Customers can smell hype and insincere pitches a mile away.

The name of the game is relationships. Establish trusted relationships with your clients, and not only will they buy from you, they’ll also send their Aunt Sally and the receptionist from work to buy, too.

Melody Brooks is Sumer’s head copywriter and can be reached at melody@writtenbysumer.com.

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