How many times have you hired someone—whether it was a doctor, plumber, massage therapist, landscaper, tutor or anything else—and received any kind of follow-up afterwards beyond, maybe, an obligatory holiday card or two? I can count the number of times on one hand.
The Power of Follow-Up
I had a doctor who actually called me personally to see how I was feeling after treatment. Wow! I felt so well cared for I referred all my friends.
Almost every time I buy a new Website domain name or hosting plan from GoDaddy, I get a phone call asking if I have any questions. Given how big they are, this really blows my mind. And it’s one of the reasons I keep using and referring them.
When we bought our ski condo, at tax time my mortgage broker sent all the paperwork we’d need to file. They also put me on their monthly print newsletter list. Three and a half years later when I referred a friend, they sent a thank you with a Blockbuster gift card and a pack of popcorn so I could enjoy “a night in” on them. And my friend didn’t even end up using their services!
On the other hand, there have been countless home inspectors, doctors, massage therapists, and contractors I would’ve happily used again (or referred) years later. But too much time had passed since I last heard from them, and I couldn’t remember their name. So I ended up hiring (or referring) someone else.
The sad truth is, when it comes to marketing, most small businesses completely neglect the folks who’ve already bought from them. Yet studies have shown it’s up to seven times easier and less expensive to get repeat clients than land a new client.
Why? Because, assuming you do a terrific job, your clients already know you, like you and trust you. They understand the value of what you offer and are willing and able to pay for it.
This saves you the time-consuming and costly process of: finding your target market, getting their attention, explaining why they should hire you, and convincing them to take action.
Instead you just need to stay in touch so they don’t forget you. That way when they’re ready to buy again—or know someone else who is—you’re the first person they call.
5 Ways to Create Repeat Clients and Raving Fans
Below are 5 proven, inexpensive ways to do that little something extra to turn one-time clients into repeat clients, and even raving fans:
#1. Say Thanks
Handwritten cards are always appreciated. And you don’t even have to write them personally. Dictate to an employee with better penmanship. Or use a handy service like SendOutCards that prints cards in your own handwriting and mails them on demand.
#2. Give ‘Em a Jingle
When was the last time you called your clients? If it’s been more than 6 months, pick up the phone, say hi, and see how they’re doing. They’ll appreciate and remember your thoughtfulness, and may even hire you again on the spot because they’ve been meaning to call you. Love that!
#3. Write Regularly
Every small business should be publishing print and/or email newsletters. The key is making sure you send information that’s helpful or interesting at least once a month. Otherwise too much time will pass and they’ll forget who you are.
Send e-newlsetters sporadically at your own risk. People unsubscribe if they don’t remember you or why they wanted your e-newsletter in the first place.
#4. Surprise ‘Em
Everyone loves getting more than they expect. So send clients an unexpected and useful gift or bonus whenever possible. Avoid the generic, branded pen or calendar and choose something they’ll really appreciate—a favorite book, audio, helpful guides, articles, or tools relevant to what you do for your clients. Chocolates, gift cards for movies or restaurants and other thoughtful items can also work.
#5. Do Something Special
Hold an event or give away a product or service as part of a client appreciation day, week or month. Then let your clients know you have something special going on that’s just for them. Who doesn’t appreciate that?