It's astonishing when you consider that 40% of the time people who know us, like us, and use us, don't refer business to us. Possible reasons? (1) They don't know how to identify who needs us. (2) They don't know how to refer us, or (3) We are simply not at the top of their mind!
For many business owners, deploying a frequency marketing campaign can be a practical way to stay “top-of-mind" with preferred clients. Think of a frequency program as a system you use to develop and maintain relationships with your “A-list" customers through a series of regularly scheduled communications.
The best programs are ongoing and the communications arrive at regular intervals. They are designed to help increase the value of your company in the mind of your clients, over a period of time, as you carefully build and develop quality relationships.
A simple system. While most marketing professionals think first of a full-scale email or direct mail program, handwritten notes or even greeting cards can suffice as a simple way to keep your name in front of your best customers and prospects. The expense and time required is so minimal that many savvy sales professionals even use them to supplement more formal marketing programs, such as bulk mail postcards and e-mail newsletters.
Unlike broad reach campaigns, content for a handwritten note should be more personal than a conventional direct mail piece. But this requirement shouldn't prevent you from adding greeting cards to your mix. Just consider all of the possible reasons you might reach out to a customer or prospect:
Thank you notes. Most people know the importance of thank-you notes for gifts. But we can express appreciation for intangibles:
Joining me for a round of golf
Making a valuable introduction over drinks
Inviting me to speak to the Rotary
Finding my son a summer job
Congratulations. Notes of congratulations are another overlooked outlet for staying top-of-mind. Obvious occasions include job promotions, marriages, and births. Consider also celebrating:
Finishing the Peachtree Road Race
Opening your new branch office
Being profiled in the Atlanta Business Chronicle
Birthdays. Don't underestimate the value of sending birthday cards to clients. A recent Hallmark survey found that 69 percent of respondents had received a birthday card from a company, and of those people, 47 percent said the card made them more likely to do business with that company! Birthdays can be an especially appropriate reason to send a card if the delivery of your services is somehow tied in with the age of your customer (like life or health insurance).
May I be subtle? Customers - at least those who you want to cultivate relationships with - are sophisticated. Any attempt at disguising a sales pitch as a love note will be recognized, with negative results.
If your system is based upon sending personal greetings in an effort to build long-term referral relationships - dare I say friendships - with your top clients, keep it heartfelt and sincere.
On the other hand, an interior designer may send greeting cards to her favorite clients four times a year. Her cards coincide with the changing of the seasons and include suggestions for updating your window treatments for the season. While personalized in nature, these are openly and legitimately designed to market her services, and the recipients can appreciate that.
Whichever your approach, if your heart is in it, the results will be real: your clients will remember how much they appreciate you!
Anita Hampl, the Roswell Card Lady, helps business owners build their referrals through use of greeting cards. Learn more at http://www.RoswellCardLady.com