Then why do you need new ones?

Or…do you bang your head against the wall trying to get new customers?

The best marketing technique in the world is (drumroll please?)…

Marketing to the customers you already have!

Here are a few questions to ask your business and tips to make it better:

1) How many times do your customers do business with you in a week/month/year?

Customer frequency is even more important than getting new customers! That’s right. I said it…the very thing you may be focused on should not be your primary focus. Calm down…I didn’t say remove your focus.

Take an auto shop for instance…most shop owners who I have spoken with over the years are always asking me “Joe, how do I increase customer/car count?” when the better question is “Joe, how do I make each of my customers/cars count?”

My answer to that, and this applies to any business, is to put in place a program or series of programs with focus on retaining customers, or welcoming back old ones. For example, you may implement a type of VIP Membership program for customers who have done regular business with you. To gain membership, a customer could meet criteria that you have set (i.e. sales dollars, number of months a regular customer, etc…). In some businesses and markets, customers would be willing to pay for such a membership.

Make sure your program includes an element to give the customer something as a member of your VIP program. As humans, status means a lot. Having a frameable certificate or a membership card is important to the success of this program. Also, be sure to include benefits that “ordinary customers” do not get. Discounts, access to professionals in your company, a free newsletter, and other items to make membership a percieved value to your customer.

2) Do you have more to offer each customer?

Single product sales are tough. If all you have to offer a customer is a single product or service…an easy answer is develop a series of reports or cd study courses within your field of expertise. This will give you more opportunities to sell something to the same customers that you have already “warmed up” to your company. You will find a higher Return On Investment (ROI) on your marketing dollar with your current customer base than you will marketing for a “fresh” customer. Which leads me to the final question for this month’s tip…

3) How are you allocating your marketing budget?

For newer companies with less established customer bases…this one is tough…but as you continue to add customers to your database, you need to devote more and more of your marketing budget to re-marketing to your current customers.

Do you necessarily need to sell them product?

Nope. You can solicit referrals, getting the easiest business possible from your easiest source of new business possible. Be sure to include an incentive that motivates your customers to refer business.

This could be as simple as a thank you letter, or as complex as a report that adds value to the referring customer’s business or life. You can also survey them, and find out what they think of you and your business. I know that sometimes we don’t want the brutally honest information, but we need to hear it so we don’t lose customers.

Offer them a free report or other giveaway that has value for taking this survey. It will make marketing for new customers a whole lot easier.

Your budget should be evenly distributed between sourcing new customers, and retaining/re-marketing to your current customer base. If you don’t sell something to your current customers, your competitor will!

Joseph Ratliff