Boca Raton, FL (PressExposure) April 15, 2008 -- Too often, too many small business owners view marketing like the view getting a root canal at a dentist.
Huh? Why the outlook?
Some of us incorrectly assume that once the contact and sale have been made with a new customer, there is no further need to continue. Au contraire!
Past clients are the key to future success. What most don't realize until it's too late is that past clients are a key part of growing as a successful business. In fact, why do we even refer to them as "past clients?"
Who says you have to forget about them as soon as your project is done or your product sold? When thinking of where (and who) your future business comes from, remember those who have come before.
If you consistently targeting the same universe of customers with a few simple tactics, business development and sales will come easier, it's inevitable. Why? These are people and businesses who already know you, your expertise and the value of your products and services.
Here are a few ways that you can keep connected with your past clients:
Handwritten thank-you notes: These can make each customer feel recognized and important by showing them your gratitude for their business. No matter who the person, each and every one of us likes to feel appreciated.
Electronic mailing list/database: Develop one, sending customers information that they would like to read. It should be informative for the customer such as giving an analysis of recent events in your field. It also never hurts to give a discount or provide a special on that customer's next purchase with a printout of that email.
Combining business with pleasure and charity: By heading up or sponsoring an event or conference for a cause that you care about, you immediately show your leadership. It can be as simple as hosting some sort of recreational activity or cause, such as a softball BBQ at the park. One owner of a Chicago PR firm took 300 people to a Cubs game to raise money for a children's hospital. Granted, you don't have to dish out that kind of money if you don't have the resources, but you get the idea. Any time that you connect with customers on a one-on-one basis, even if for a minute or two, you will make a big difference.
Highlighting customer experiences on the web page: Customers feel important when you recognize their importance to you and your business. And, by showing what a great experience a client had, you will be telling potential clients that your business should be their only choice.