If you're like me, working to grow a small, local business in your community, then you know that referrals are life. Referrals are literally keeping the lights on. You're likely not running any national tv ad campaigns during the Super Bowl to get your name out there. You may be running some advertisements locally, and those can absolutely help with brand recognition. But the likely scenario is that satisfied customers recommending you and your service to their friends and family is your bread and butter.
Why, then, when we discuss marketing for the purpose of growing business, do we tend to focus so much of our time and dollars on NEW clients? Don't get me wrong, I obviously understand that they are the ultimate goal. But by marketing our services and businesses primarily to new clients, are we really using our resources optimally?
Consider the benefits of marketing directly to past clients. Maybe they will be repeat customers. They've already shown an inclination to come to you previously. Maybe just seeing something from you will be enough to put you front and center in their minds when someone they know asks for a recommendation.
It's 2020. Nobody in this great day and age ever makes a decision to buy something or pay for a service without learning what other people think of it. Sometimes the people weighing in are even complete strangers on the other side of a screen. A 2015 Nielsen study found that 83% of consumers say they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services – making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness.
Provide your customers with a great service or product and stay in touch with them. Consider setting up regular outreach with a newsletter or email campaign. Reach out a month or so after the sale or you finish working with them to see how they felt their encounter went. Let them know what new stuff you have cooking, and let them be walking marketers for you every day of the year. Chances are your marketing dollars will stretch a lot further AND will come back to you even quicker.