There’s no need to launch a huge marketing campaign to attract new clients. You have wonderful opportunities sitting right in your client list. Marketing to your current customer base is one of the best ways to add to your business’s bottom line.
It costs 6 to 7 times more money to find a new client than it does to maintain an old client (source). So why not make the most by getting new work from old clients?
Here are four keys to making those existing client relationships work for you.
1. Set the stage with good follow up practices.
After you complete the scope of a project, what happens next? Do you disappear from sight or do your clients feel supported after their final invoice is taken care of? Establishing a follow up practice once projects are finished will help you continue your customer service.
You can establish a follow up practice in a few ways:
- Send a final thank you note a few weeks after the project is finished – bonus points if it’s hand written through the mail!
- Create an email newsletter that you send out at least once a month with helpful tips, insights and insider information that will help your clients – along with potential project suggestions.
- Use a CRM system (like HighRise or BatchBook) to remind you to follow up every three months and keep track of key client information. You can also rely on a more streamlined system like Boomerang or Followup.cc that integrate directly into your existing inbox.
Whether you use all of these strategies or just one, you’ll maintain those all important client relationships and set the stage for future work.
2. Mention the “next step” as you get to the close of a project.
There are probably a few other projects you can complete for a client that would be a natural next step for what you are doing. As you approach the close of your first project, it’s a good idea to introduce these ideas. They will not only help your client’s business growth but you’ll get another project for your books.
For example, if you are a web designer finishing a large site project for a client, you can suggest a branded social media presence with a Twitter background, Facebook header and more. Since you’ve already created a logo and branded “feel” for the client, it won’t be that hard to extend that design to the social media branding.
3. Keep your eye out for resources and information that will help your clients.
The best thing you can do for clients is show them that you are in their corner. A good way to do this is to link them with helpful information and resources that will help their businesses grow. If you see a blog post, resource or interview request that lines up with your client’s business or goals – send it along to your client with a short note.
If you specialize in a specific niche, this is easier. For example, if you’re already keeping your finger on the pulse of the green industry, you’ll be able to catch relevant news, helpful articles and press opportunities for your clients in the eco-friendly field. Google Alerts can help you keep tabs on different industries if your client roster is a bit more diverse.
You’ll stay top of mind and be offering some value before you inquire about doing a new project with them.
4. Get in contact when you add a new service or product to your line up.
As you expand your product and service offerings, give your clients a chance to be the first in line. You can promote your new products or services with your regular newsletter – but a much better approach is to email clients directly that you think you will benefit the most from your new offering.
Here’s a example of how that looks in real life. As a small business consultant, your main bread and butter has been coaching clients in small groups and individually. However, you’ve decided to offer laser targeted training sessions on specific marketing techniques – like social media marketing.
Send a personal email to a specific client to introduce this service, like:
I hope you’ve been well! I’m really impressed with the way that you’ve implemented the blogging strategy that we outlined during your coaching sessions. I’ve been recommending those posts to my Twitter followers.
Speaking of Twitter, I wanted you to be the first to know that I’m offering some targeted social media training starting….(and share the details)……”
Taking the direct approach will help your old clients feel valued and help you launch your new product or service will flying colors.
With these four strategies you can lay the groundwork for new projects with old clients and pitch new projects without feeling pushy or “sales-y.” Don’t waste your money on an expensive marketing campaign! Fish in your existing client list first and see what comes up.