In your rush to recruit new customers, it's all too easy to overlook the most cost-effective marketing campaign of all - getting back in touch with your lapsed customers.
If you need proof that this works, read on.
Mike Yorke runs the Mike Yorke Golf Academy. After reading my latest book he approached me asking for help in growing his customer base and that of the eight coaches he works with. I suggested we look at the lapsed customer base of each coach and make these our first targets.
We asked each coach to set aside a couple of hours to call their lapsed customers; they asked them how they were getting on with their golf and updated them on coaching services that they might be interested in. The coaches were then asked to follow up with a friendly email summarising the conversation.
The results were fantastic.
One of the coaches emailed Mike the day after his calling session. Of the 25 lapsed customers he had spoken to, 12 had booked another golf lesson; six paid immediately. And seven asked that coach to stay in touch saying they would have more golf lessons in the future. Just six said they had no plans to return to golf coaching.
So why do so many business owners focus their energies solely on attracting new customers in preference to reopening the pipeline to their lapsed ones?
It boils down to:
Fear of rejection. What if they tell me why they stopped using my services and I don't like their answer?
It doesn't occur to them that a lapsed customer can become a live one again with coaxing.
So how can you get in touch with your lapsed customers?
In one lapsed client letter, I began with the headline: "We've missed you!"
Make sure the letter shouts out quality so use 120gsm paper; attach your business card and if you've got a decent quality promotional gift that can go inside the envelope, pop it in! Consider handwriting the envelope. Follow up with a telephone call and find out why they left you in the first place and what their present arrangements are. Then follow up with an email recapping your conversation.
These are simple, powerful and proven tips that should bring some of your lapsed customers back to your business. What's stopping you?
Copyright © 2016 Dee Blick is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing and an Amazon #1 bestselling author of The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book and The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses for your Small Business.
Speaking in public - even about the business you love - is a widely held fear. So how do you turn that fear into confidence?
It doesn't matter whether you speak for 30 seconds or 30 minutes; just take that first step. By taking advantage of opportunities to speak in front of others as often as you can you will break through the fear and in no time you will be unstoppable.
Smile and look people in the eye. Confidence is contagious. Your confidence will make your listeners feel good and soon they will be smiling too.
Your background, your history and your experience are unique. People love to hear others share their unique perspectives. Use material from your past or present so your audience can enter your world and experience it through your eyes.
Leave them wanting more. Brevity is key. You should be able to deliver your message in a few well-considered sentences. If you tend to be long-winded, you will need to work on cutting your speech down. Keep it snappy, focused and concise.
Humour endears an audience to the speaker. But use it wisely - too much and your message can be lost in the jokes. So sprinkle it rather than ladle it.
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can compose word pictures (verbal descriptions that paint vivid pictures) or use real images to illustrate your message.
If you still feel your stomach churning and your legs wobbling act as if you are cool and calm. Don a mask of confidence, smile, look directly at your audience and speak. They will never know how nervous you are on the inside.
A mentor can help you grow through listening, feedback and advice. Someone who can already do well what you dread is the ideal mentor and their experience and skills are just what you need.
Set goals, adjust them and review them. Always set them a little beyond your reach so that you have to stretch.
Try and try again. Keep on getting up and giving it a go. No matter how badly you feel it went (and it is rarely as bad as you think), get up, try again and focus on improving through practice.
Don't always speak at the same events. Go to new events or visit groups you've never met before. This will give you new material, new experiences and new feedback. It creates a cycle of expansion that will help you develop your speaking - and your business.
The "I" word is powerful. Use it to reach out and connect with your listeners. Use it to express feelings, experiences and thoughts. The "I" encapsulates your individuality; the part of your business that no one else can copy.
By following these tips you can overcome your fears of speaking in public. They will take you from pen and page to people and public; and connect you with new customers.
Copyright © 2016 Frances Cahill of Toastmasters International.
In marketing a great deal of time and money is spent on communicating; after all marketing is about connecting to audiences and "speaking" to them about your company, product or service.
Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of marketing will be familiar with the terms tone of voice, share of voice and the need to cut through the noise in the marketplace and be heard. In the digital world that we live in the plethora of tools and channels to communicate with your target market is almost endless, and endlessly bewildering.
But have you ever stopped to think about the sound of marketing? By this I mean what does your company sound like? Don't worry - this is not one of those esoteric exercises that gives marketers a bad name, where they focus on navel gazing and not the bottom line.
So what does your business sound like when it communicates with your target market? Let's break it down a little:
Written word. What sort of language do you use when communicating with customers? Is it clear and simple or does your sales collateral contain lots of technical terms and abbreviations?
Spoken word. When your employees speak to customers or prospects, what sort of words do they use? Is the emphasis on listening rather than speaking?
Images. Are the images that you use in your brochures and on your website engaging and linked to what your company does or offers or are they bland and instantly forgettable?
Video. In a multimedia world, what sort of videos are you sharing with your customers? Are you telling an engaging story to educate and entertain or did your prospect switch off after two seconds?
Audio. Please don't tell me Greensleeves is your music on hold! Maybe I am being flippant but if a picture paints a thousand words, sound enables your customer to create a picture of your company in their mind. Think about the accents they hear and the tone of the voice they listen to if they are waiting for their call to be answered.
What if you are selling abroad? Do you assume your French customers speak English fluently? Unless you are targeting ex-pats everyone knows that local marketing is done best when you use the local language (and it's more than a change of spelling for US customers).
The next time you are planning a new marketing campaign or launching a new product or service, think about the sound of success. As you map out your tactics think about what you want to say and how you want say it.
Look at tools such as videos, ebooks and podcasts as well as your website, email and trusty brochures which you use to converse with your customer. If you are marketing to a global audience think about translation services and using native speaking voice-over artists. It's not just about sign-ups, downloads and transactions, it's about hitting the right note with your marketing.
Copyright © 2016 Armin Hierstetter, founder of Bodalgo.com.
Today, you'll make lots of sales. You might be selling:
But, despite its importance, many of us don't like the thought of selling. It's almost a dirty word.
Perhaps this is because we've all been on the receiving end of an idiot salesperson's pushiness. But there's something else: all the words to do with selling - selling, proposing, pitching, influencing, convincing, persuading - are from the sellers' point of view.
So sellers tend to feel that selling is something you do to someone. And that means the recipient can therefore often feel they're having something done to them.
But selling shouldn't be like that. It isn't one-way; it's a joint thing. You and your customer are agreeing to work together to do what you propose, whether that be to:
So, when you sell, be joint. The easiest way to do this is to start with their objectives and then show how your suggestion fits with them. Keep it short and simple - your preparation needs just two steps:
Do it this way and you both benefit. You both value it; and you both enjoy it. And, since you're both happy, selling has become a joint thing.
Copyright © 2016 Andy Bounds, communications expert, speaker and the author of The Snowball Effect: Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable. You can sign up for his free weekly tips. This blog first appeared here.
Unless you've spent the past year hiding under a rock, you'll be no stranger to the live streaming phenomenon.
Increasingly, businesses are starting to harness the power of this informal, off-the-cuff form of video marketing and get some spectacular engagement. But it's not all about the amount of shares, comments, hearts or props you receive while live - you can take it further.
Live streaming is actually a powerful way to build your email list - and anywhere in social that should be your aim. Your email list is filled with contacts you own, not contacts that could disappear if a platform ceases to exist.
So how can you use live broadcasts to bolster your mailing list?
Whether you prefer Periscope, Blab or Facebook Live, you will always have the option to pop a link in your bio. Take the time to create a bespoke landing page for each platform you use, and use that instead of your standard URL. Use the space to offer content tailored to that section of your audience.
You should also embed a sign-up form here to capture your followers' email addresses.
Once your broadcasts are over, you'll be left with some great video content. Turn those replays into content for the people on your list.
You could also offer exclusive live streams to those that sign up, by creating a private Facebook group with the sole purpose of hosting your Facebook Live sessions.
Blab is great for planning your broadcasts in advance. You can set up your live sessions ahead of time and share the link to your heart's content.
Consider creating a specific landing page for each blab, so that users have to enter their email address to receive the link. You can then provide reminders prior to the broadcast, and offer the replay after the fact.
Live streams are super-simple to share, so make sure you encourage live viewers to do just that to increase your chances of being found by even more users.
With Facebook Live in particular, it's worth your while to get your audience engaging - the more interaction you get, the more organic reach your stream receives.
I'm a direct mail junkie (please excuse the pun!). I cut my teeth on direct mail 33 years ago and since then I've generated some £10 million of sales from direct mail for businesses big and small.
Now I'm no longer the lone voice in the wilderness proclaiming the many benefits of direct mail for small businesses. Direct mail is very much the comeback kid. More of us are reaching for a pen and paper when we want to grab the attention of prospects or clients.
The big worry with direct mail is that your envelope and its contents are going to be chucked away without so much as a backward glance. So how do create mailshots that don't look like junk mail?
Copyright © 2016 Dee Blick, a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing and an Amazon #1 bestselling author of The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book and The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses for your Small Business.