This is a guest post by Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing.
Which is more valuable to a company: eight customers who each visit once and make one purchase, or one customer who returns eight times and makes a purchase each time?
While both factions are worth courting, it’s the loyal customer who deserves the most attention. This person has shown faith in your business and will likely be open to receiving (and helping to spread) your marketing efforts. Entrepreneur and business guru Seth Godin put words to the idea of ‘permission marketing,’ but it’s really just an age-old concept gaining new respect in a world where consumers have largely learned to tune out the constant chatter of advertising.
From sitcom TV to website sidebars to print ads, the traditional means of getting the word out are hurting. They’ve been largely replaced by social media, where much of the world’s knowledge is now shared and disseminated. However, having 10,000 ‘likes’ on your Facebook page doesn’t necessarily generate more revenue than having 1,000, if the smaller page’s followers are more actively participating on the page.
Interested in switching your marketing outreach toward a ‘permission’ based approach? Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling:
1. Start With Who You Have
Back in July, Susan posted pictures of the wooden egg she sent to clients earlier this summer to celebrate Egg’s birthday. That’s a perfect example of permission marketing. Would it be cost effective or even feasible to send an egg to everyone in the phone book, or even a spreadsheet full of potential clients a PR firm provided? Probably not. But by regularly reaching out to people who have already shown interest or utilized your company, you foster and strengthen a relationship that will ultimately lead to future business and strong word-of-mouth referrals.
2. Don’t Miss an Opportunity With New Customers
If someone has visited your website or physical location, you’ve already accomplished the hardest step. Don’t let them pass in and out anonymously! If you’re in retail, keep an e-newsletter sign up sheet at your register. A simple, clear link on the front page of your website accomplishes the same thing. To entice people to give their email address, offer them a freebie or a worthwhile discount just for signing up.
3. Make Your Outreach Worthwhile
With a growing email database in hand, commit yourself to a monthly newsletter. Take notes throughout the month of items that interest you to include or write about — they don’t (and shouldn’t) have to all be about products or services you’re pitching. Make sure that each month, you include a deep discount for readers — think Groupon-style 50 percent off, not just 20 percent off. The idea is to engrain your newsletter into peoples’ minds as something they do not want to miss out on, or risk missing some terrific deals.
4. Engage With Followers
One of the worst mistakes businesses often make is in setting up an attractive Facebook or Pinterest page, or opening a Twitter account, and then ignoring it because they get too busy. The other most common faux pas is to only post marketing material. If every status update or Tweet is strictly promotional, people will quickly grow accustomed to tuning you out like they would any other type of marketing. Instead, don’t be afraid to go off topic. Point out items in the news that interest you or pertain to your business and seek feedback. Ask questions and participate in the back-and-forth. The goal is to get conversations rolling within your social media outlets and create a community. When that happens, customers look to you as an expert, building trust when it’s time to make a purchase or hire you.
When was the last time you made a purchase due to a telemarketer’s unsolicited phone call? These days, we’re so inundated with advertising that we’ve learned to block it out, resenting it when direct marketing manages to infiltrate our daily lives. The solution for a small business owner is to think of marketing as a big collection of individual relationships. Foster each one constructively and you’ll build a model that has sustainability beyond the ever-changing landscape of advertising trends.
Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing. At Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of custom pens and other promotional items such as custom USB drives, Christopher is focused on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size and large businesses. He regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.
Photo: MidnightA on stock.xchng