You Should Be Marketing to Your Existing Customers

A client visit earlier this week prompted this post.  Not because the issue we uncovered was unique.  In fact, it was just the opposite.  It’s something I see so often that I just had to write about it.

This particular client is doing very well… growing their business, financially solid, long history of serving customers, and a strong leadership team.  They’re also very focused on the future – on continued revenue growth.   As you might expect, a good part of our conversation was related to current and possible future strategies for finding NEW customers (SEO, paid search, direct sales, etc.).

But the whole game changed in my mind when I learned a few other things about this client:

  1. They have over 5000 customers
  2. About 2000 of these customers have not purchased in the last 2 years
  3. As a whole, satisfaction among their customers is through the roof!
  4. Very little is being done to strategically market to these existing customers

One word comes to mind: GOLD MINE (ok maybe that’s 2 words)

Higgins Marketing Group Five Ways You Should be Marketing to Your Existing Customers

Let me ask you… which is the quickest way to an extra million in revenue for this client?

  • Slugging it out in a highly competitive marketplace, pitching their product to people they don’t know… people that may or may not even be in the market for what they offer, or…
  • Spend a fraction of the cost and reach out to a database of 5000 folks who know them, like them, and need their products!

It’s a no brainier right?

Defining an entire strategy for marketing to your existing customers is beyond the scope of this blog post, but I thought I’d leave you with five quick tips to help you grow your business by taking the path of least resistance!

1.  Make Exclusive Offers

Higgins Marketing Group Five Ways You Should be Marketing to Your Existing CustomersEveryone loves getting a great deal, especially if that deal is reserved for a select group of people.  No question, your existing customers are a VERY important group.  Let them know it by offering customer-only discounts or free add-ons with their next purchase.

An even more effective strategy is to segment your existing customers by past purchasing behavior. This allows you to better tailor your offer to new products that might complement things they’ve purchased in the past.  For example, a bicycle store owner might maintain a list of customers who have purchased the store’s highest end racing bikes.  An email promotion could be sent to these customers saying something like…

“You’re among an elite group of ABC’s customers! – The ones we consider OUR FASTEST AND MOST HARD-CORE CYCLISTS!  Because you’re part of this select group, we wanted to make you an exclusive offer… “

2.  We Miss You!

Higgins Marketing Group Five Ways You Should be Marketing to Your Existing CustomersThis is a simple and effective way to generate repeat business – create a campaign around customers who have gone dark and provide them a reason to “come back.”

Don’t be shy about making an aggressive offer in order to get these folks back in the mix, even if it means cutting your profit margin thin.  Offering these clients 40% off their next order (for example) might not make you rich in the short term, but it does something even more important – it “activates” a customer who was dying on the vine.  It rekindles the relationship that is likely to lead to additional orders over time.

3.   Make Sure They Know Everything You Do

Higgins Marketing Group Five Ways You Should be Marketing to Your Existing CustomersBusiness owners often assume that their customers are aware of the breadth of their offerings.  Don’t make this mistake.  The fact is, many of your customers have no clue what you offer beyond the specific product or service they purchased… and nothing is worse than an existing customer going elsewhere to find a product or service that you could have provided!

I’ve seen clients get great results with emails like: “Bet You Didn’t Know We Did That!”  or “Here’s a Couple Things You Might Not Know About Us!”   It’s a very low key way to educate your customers on the breadth of your services.

You might even consider segmenting your list by what a customer has purchased in the past, then making them aware of more specific, complementary products or services.  For example, if they’ve purchased a specific cell phone in the past, make sure they’re aware of the new line of shockproof cases you now carry that fit their phone.

4.  Show Appreciation

Higgins Marketing Group Five Ways You Should be Marketing to Your Existing CustomersNo matter what you sell (big or small, in-person or online), it still comes down to relationships.  This tip is specifically NOT a pitch.  It’s only purpose is to let your existing clients know you care.  It’s not rocket science, but you might be surprised at how few companies show appreciation for their customers beyond the initial sale.

So what does it look like?  It doesn’t need to be big or expensive.  A sincere letter or phone call (not an email) from the CEO can be very powerful.  Maybe it’s a simple thank you card with a $5 Starbucks gift card inside.

I won’t suggest these activities will immediately generate a swell of sales leads, but it does help keep you top-of-mind, it differentiates you from your competition, and most importantly… it shows you care.

5.   Automate the Process

Higgins Marketing Group Five Ways You Should be Marketing to Your Existing CustomersWhy do most companies do a poor job in nurturing relationships with their existing customers?  I think there are a couple reasons.  First, it’s simply not a priority (of course that is a big mistake!).  Second, it can be time consuming and labor intensive.

One-off “touch-points” with existing clients is certainly better than nothing, but if you really want to be successful in cultivating existing client relationships and realizing the revenue potential from this group, you need a PLANNED SYSTEMATIC PROCESS for getting it done – a plan that makes use of customer segmentation and ongoing communications and interaction.

I highly recommend considering a marketing automation solution to help with this.  It will allow you to be more personal in your interactions with customers, while at the same time, put most of the time-consuming, labor-intensive tasks on auto-pilot.  Marketing automation is a game changer for many of my clients, and it plays a critical role in both identifying new clients and marketing to existing clients (get more info on marketing automation here).

So that’s it!  Five quick ways to market to your existing customers.  We’re just scratching the surface here, but I hope this helps!

Until next time…