The Secret of Repeat Business is Effective Communication

Maximising your communication with customers and prospects is essential if you’re going to grow your business successfully. But so many people I know fail to simply get in touch and follow-up on a sale.

If marketing and communications is about developing relationships, you need to put time and energy into nurturing the people that come into contact with your business.

My favourite approach is to follow-up with a client after 48 hours of, say, delivering copy or a training session. I get in touch just to check that everything is / was okay and see if they have any questions.

I then put a note in my Highrise (my favourite Contact Management Software) calendar that will remind me to follow-up with them after:

  • 3 months
  • 9 months
  • 12 months

Following up after Three Months

This is an ideal time to remind your customer that you exist! Send them a personal note just to touch base. An email is okay, but a handwritten postcard is a great touch. If you’ve taken time to pick out a good picture, chances are they’ll keep it around their desk for much longer than they would a flyer.

If contacting by email, I like to send a free sample of something tailored to their business, say a Whitepaper or Ebook, that I only distribute to paying customers.

This contact does a lot to start to build the relationship and often leads to more work.

After Nine Months

This is an ideal time to touch base again, this time preferably by email. I try and provide another useful link to free content that they might have missed. Just putting together some of my “best” blog posts into an Ebook can really help. After all, my customers are not active readers of my blog.

This time I encourage them to forward the content to two or three people that they think could benefit from it. You’d be surprised how many customers are happy to do this but it’s because you’re developing an ongoing relationship with them that’s based on value.

Getting in Touch After a Year

Finally, I aim to cement the relationship by calling the client just to touch base and ask them how their business is doing. I give them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have about what’s developing in the online communications industry, and chat about how they’re doing. I make a point not to ask for work or pitch my services.

Apathy is Your Enemy

If you don’t follow up with customers you increase the risk of losing them. Marketing is not over once you’ve made a sale or delivered your services.

Successful communications isn’t just about crisis management, online marketing, and PR. It’s also about building relationships through a variety of channels. And relationships lead to sales.