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Are you harvesting the power of your existing customers?

shutterstock_86295961As direct mail marketers, we often get so focused on obtaining new customers that we forget to nurture our existing customers. The fact is that existing customers are an incredibly profitable piece of your prospect base.
Why nurture your existing customers?
In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule should be reason enough to reconsider how you are handling your existing customers. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. With a rule like that, you’d have to be crazy not to consider investing in your existing customers.

Not only does an existing customer cost much less than a new one—less marketing dollars, no training on your internal processes, you already understand their expectations and communication style—but a customer who purchases not only once, but twice is much more likely to keep coming back. They are also more likely to refer, and referrals give a great boost to your bottom line. Consider how many contacts each of your customers might have—25, 50, 100? Imagine how long it would take your sales force to not only locate but to make contact with that many prospects. These leads are at the tip of your customer’s finger, which means your existing customer could turn into a great tool for growing your business.

How to tap into the power of repeat customers and create referrals.
First and foremost you’ve got to get in your customer’s head. What you think they value about your product or service may not be the case. It might be your sales representative’s quirky sense of humor, rather than your low pricing that keeps them coming back. Dig around a little and try to read between the lines as to why they are loyal. Once you know why they love you, you can use that to your advantage. You can do this in several ways.

First, whatever you are doing that they love you for, keep doing it and find ways to continue improving to satisfy them even more. Never let your service slack just because you feel you already have them as a customer. Be consistent in your brand values in terms of product, service and communication. Stay in contact with them, and keep it as personal as possible. Watch out for their best interest and work to keep them impressed. After all, these people are potentially walking advertisements for your company. They are worth a few extra minutes on the phone or an extra email updating them on the status of their project or a new product they may find interesting. When applicable, feel free to acknowledge that you always appreciate their quality referrals. And if they refer, ALWAYS remember to thank them personally!

Second, consider how you can use your knowledge of their needs to produce more business from them. For example, if they consistently purchase one product or service from you, but you have a second, companion product or service that could benefit them, make sure to point this out. With today’s technology, you could even offer up this product while making a splash in their mailbox with a personalized direct mail campaign.

The moral of the story is to pony up and start treating your loyal, existing customers like they matter. After all, they potentially make up the bulk of your livelihood. If that isn’t worth a little of your time and money, I don’t know what is.As direct mail marketers, we often get so focused on obtaining new customers that we forget to nurture our existing customers. The fact is that existing customers are an incredibly profitable piece of your prospect base.

Why nurture your existing customers?
In a nutshell, the 80/20 rule should be reason enough to reconsider how you are handling your existing customers. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. With a rule like that, you’d have to be crazy not to consider investing in your existing customers.

Not only does an existing customer cost much less than a new one—less marketing dollars, no training on your internal processes, you already understand their expectations and communication style—but a customer who purchases not only once, but twice is much more likely to keep coming back. They are also more likely to refer, and referrals give a great boost to your bottom line. Consider how many contacts each of your customers might have—25, 50, 100? Imagine how long it would take your sales force to not only locate but to make contact with that many prospects. These leads are at the tip of your customer’s finger, which means your existing customer could turn into a great tool for growing your business.

How to tap into the power of repeat customers and create referrals.
First and foremost you’ve got to get in your customer’s head. What you think they value about your product or service may not be the case. It might be your sales representative’s quirky sense of humor, rather than your low pricing that keeps them coming back. Dig around a little and try to read between the lines as to why they are loyal. Once you know why they love you, you can use that to your advantage. You can do this in several ways.

First, whatever you are doing that they love you for, keep doing it and find ways to continue improving to satisfy them even more. Never let your service slack just because you feel you already have them as a customer. Be consistent in your brand values in terms of product, service and communication. Stay in contact with them, and keep it as personal as possible. Watch out for their best interest and work to keep them impressed. After all, these people are potentially walking advertisements for your company. They are worth a few extra minutes on the phone or an extra email updating them on the status of their project or a new product they may find interesting. When applicable, feel free to acknowledge that you always appreciate their quality referrals. And if they refer, ALWAYS remember to thank them personally!

Second, consider how you can use your knowledge of their needs to produce more business from them. For example, if they consistently purchase one product or service from you, but you have a second, companion product or service that could benefit them, make sure to point this out. With today’s technology, you could even offer up this product while making a splash in their mailbox with a personalized direct mail campaign.

The moral of the story is to pony up and start treating your loyal, existing customers like they matter. After all, they potentially make up the bulk of your livelihood. If that isn’t worth a little of your time and money, I don’t know what is.

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