A lot of work, time and often money goes into landing a new client. Yet most small business owners focus 90% of their marketing ideas and efforts here, whether it be through trade show efforts, advertising, referral programs, co-marketing with other business or working with charities and auctions.
I see it time and time again – small business owners missing one of the biggest opportunities for increasing revenue. The opportunity takes far less effort than landing a new client, yet it’s ignored by the majority of business owners – making one time buyers repeat buyers.
Getting repeat business from your existing clients seems easy enough, but unless you have a plan for follow up, your product or service may not be top-of-mind for your clients. Your clients are busy. And while they may have had a great experience with you, your competitors are waiting to steal them from you with a better offer or more timely marketing. The good news is you can keep your clients coming back to you with a simple follow up plan.
First, figure out what works for you and your clients when it comes to following up. It may be 3 months after their initial purchase, or maybe a week later makes sense. It just depends on the purchase cycle of your typical client. If you’re a hair salon owner that may be 8 weeks, but if you’re a dentist it may be 6 months. The key is to put together a contact plan and record it on your appointment calendar of when to follow up with each client who does business with you. Then make sure you do a personal follow up with each client. It may be a personal note, it may be a phone call, but don’t fall into the trap of canned appointment reminders or blast email newsletters as your only form of follow up communication.
Here’s an example follow up plan if you’re a photographer and you photograph a family this week with a mother, father, 4 year old and 1.5 year old.
1) October – contact the family about holiday cards. Mock up a sample from their session you shot this summer. Knowing the dad is a business owner, recommend he send these this year to his client list rather than something stodgy and expected. Mention how family holiday cards have been a huge hit with several business owners you work with.
2) December – gift them with something unexpected as they were one of your top clients this year. We’ve done notecards with a favorite image from their session, small chunky canvasses from whcc and leaded glass ornaments from a local artist.
3) January – contact the family about a fun new product perfect for 2 sisters (knowing that the youngest one is coming up on her second birthday and the oldest will be going to school). Maybe you throw in some bonus Valentine’s cards of the girls for them to send to friends and family. It’s your slow time. You should be calling past clients now.
4) February – shoot the session with the two sisters as a result of your December and January follow ups.
5) October – mock up a holiday card from the session with the two girls. Ask the mom to run by and check it out since she purchased holiday cards last year. Or, maybe she’ll want to bring the whole family in again this year.
6) December – gift them something unexpected as they were one of your top clients again this year.
What are you doing to follow up with your clients to get them back for more of your products and serverices? Here are a few more of our favorite tips for delighting your clients after a sale.