So we’re one month into a brand-new year already and I hope I truly do that 2019 is shaping up to be what you imagined it would be so far-however if it is not meeting your expectations and you are feeling a little despondent then do not fret…
January can be a tough month- not for all businesses of course but one of those dry months everyone just wants to ‘get out of the way’, though in my line of work- networking, it happens to be one of the busiest months, as many are motivated to get themselves signed up to a new business network/take themselves out of their comfort zone to try networking for the first time or simply incorporate a new marketing strategy this year and so for me this is when I really need to invest time in conversations and be as efficient as possible in our marketing, so as to build upon the positive ‘stuff’ happening within the business. Have you noticed it is so much easier to shout about the good things that are happening /case studies/testimonials/real life examples as they happen, rather than creating potential scenarios in a desperate attempt to attract attention to your already quiet business? Riding the wave is the way to go in every aspect, but that wave can sometimes crash and you suddenly find yourself drifting with no real plan or solution to get more customers- Hello January.
Searching for new customers is not an easy task- yes we can all put together a super shiny new marketing plan for the year, spend thousands on advertising with no guarantee on return or spend 75% of our day on social media telling anyone who will listen just how great we are. Just putting it out there- what about your existing customer base?
How can they help you ask? Well you technically already have a network around you- your happy customers, suppliers and connections who you have invested time in cultivating a relationship with, built trust and impressed them with your knock-out skills and service – why not ask them to help spread the word for you?
A happy customer will tell an average of nine friends and contacts about you naturally anyway, but going one step further to request their assistance would in most cases be welcomed…
This could be anything from creating a ‘refer a friend’ or ‘bring a friend for free’ scheme, (something that we operate at our events), a loyalty scheme- all of which reward with a gift of some kind (I have gifted anything from hampers, bottles of wine to vouchers and extra value on our services, as a simple thank you for passing over converted customers) or if none of the above appeals then why not ask your customers for a simple testimonial- let them shout about how great you are- then post them on your platforms and use them within your direct mail- perhaps you have a wish list you plan to target this month– a video testimonial would work just as well- particularly if you are a tech /visual/creative company- it shows forward thinking and many people love to watch short videos on their phones these days.
Bottom line ask yourself what are you doing to gain new customers – RIGHT NOW.
If your answer is not a lot, then take my advice- you have nothing to lose and perhaps a lot to gain.
- Look at your existing customer list.
- Look at it again.
- Create and action a scheme to go with it, which involves making direct and personal contact- personal interaction goes a long way.
- Don’t forget to reward and thank your customer base for their efforts.
- Watch the new connections roll in and convert as necessary.
Fiona Duncan-Steer, RSViP