Grow Your Business with Existing Customers


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The best way to grow your business? Through your existing customers. In this white paper, business consultant, Pam Slim, shows us why our current customers are the most value and how we can grow our offerings alongside of them to get more value out of them.

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Grow Your Business with Existing Customers

  1. 1. Pamela Slim Grow Your Business With Existing Customers Pamela Slim Small business strategies
  2. 2. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Table of Contents Introduction Start a new customer engagement off right How do you make new customers feel like winners? Brick and Mortar Environments Online Environments Nurture and engage your customers to educate them about you, and learn about them The Logical Product Path An Example of a Massively Intelligent Email sequence: BabyCenter Expand your products and service offerings to meet the needs of current customers Wikipedia explains the origins of the product funnel: Work With the Systems You Have Tie it all together About the Author About gotomeeting About gotowebinar 3 4 6 6 7 9 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 2
  3. 3. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Introduction When we think about growing a business, we often focus on getting new customers in the door. Should we advertise on Facebook? Speak at live events? Blog? Create a local television commercial? While many marketing techniques will bring new customers through your doors, you may be overlooking a huge source of potential growth: your existing customers. Your existing customers are most likely divided into two categories: 1. Those who do business with you on a regular basis. 2. Those who purchased something from you a long time ago. This group may not be aware of your existing offers, but if they knew about them, they would be interested in purchasing. In the next few pages, I am going to help you do two things: 1. Examine your existing steps and systems to welcome a new customer into your business and suggest improvements. 2. Inspire ideas for developing new products and offers for your existing customer base. By doing this work, not only are you likely to generate more business with little effort, but you will also make your customers feel wel- come, valued, supported and understood. Let’s begin! 3
  4. 4. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Start a new customer engagement off right We spend so much time getting a customer to the place where they are ready to buy. When they do buy, it is so exciting! Watching sales receipts print out or email confirmation orders pile up in your inbox is extremely fulfilling. Especially when you have been working on a sale for a long time, it can feel like a momentous final step. But let’s put ourselves in the position of the customer. They were flirting with our consulting service. They circled around the idea of buying our product, services, or powdered sugar-topped donut for quite a while. And then they did it–they pulled out their credit card and made the purchase. They are feeling a little bit nervous and may immediately ask themselves: • Should I have done that? • Can I really afford it? • Do I really need this thing? • Is this thing any good? At this moment, it is your job to make them feel four emotions: • Understood • Safe • Appreciated • Smug for making such a brilliant decision 4
  5. 5. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim And you also want to do the single most important thing to cultivate and nurture a great relationship with your customers: confirm you have a current email address and mailing address so you can follow up with valuable information and offers. An email address is the key to staying in touch with your customer and providing them with useful and relevant information, including your future offers. A mailing address is great for sending personal touches like hand-written postcards and small gifts, as well as promo- tional materials and fliers. If you don’t already have this information, find a creative and non-pushy way to get it (a coupon, a promise of a goodie in the mail, etc.). Too many business owners get customer email or mailing addresses and never use them to deliver regular, consistent communication. This is a huge missed opportunity for sales. 5
  6. 6. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim How do you make new customers feel like winners? 10 Ways to Make Your New Customers Feel Like Winners: Brick and Mortar Environments 1. Keep your place of business clean, warm and inviting 2. Hire great employees who truly enjoy serving customers 3. Encourage employees to use a genuine and non-pushy greeting with an offer for help as soon as the customer comes through the door 4. Understand customer needs by getting to know them. What brought them here? What do they do? What do they need? 5. Have employees show genuine interest and appreciation for the order through positive body language (eye contact, smile, not chewing gum or texting on their cell phone) 6. Use unique and beautiful packaging 7. Slip a coupon or extra goodie in the bag 8. Say “thank you” in a warm and genuine way 9. Hold the door for them when they leave 10. Say “I hope to see you again soon!” when they leave Happy Customer John Corcoron said: “We went into a new ‘Nothing Bundt Cakes’ that had just opened in San Jose and were having trouble deciding between two fla- vors. We finally decided on one flavor and the owner took both out of the case and put them in the bag but just charged us for the one. Pretty cool move. ” 6
  7. 7. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Online Environments 1. Create a clean and friendly website 2. Minimize the amount of clicks required to get to a purchase screen 3. Use security protocols, and clearly display that right under the purchase button 4. Provide payment options and plans where possible 5. Post purchase, direct them to an attractive and uplifting “Purchase Successful” page 6. For service businesses, make a welcome video on the “Purchase Successful” page 7. Send a confirmation email with details about the order 8. Follow up with a message to make sure they received the order and are able to access it 9. Provide multiple ways for customers to get a hold of you, including email, social media, chat, and phone 10. Make the return or money-back process clear and easy to understand My friend Kyeli Smith let out a squeal on Instagram when she got this image after her first sale in art commerce site 7
  8. 8. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim But perhaps no one does personality-filled customer emails like CD Baby, who sends this to their first-time customers: “Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible con- dition before mailing. Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, July 6th. I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” The lesson here is that a little creativity and fun in the way of thanking your customers can go a long way to ensuring they’ll come back. 8
  9. 9. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Nurture and engage your customers to educate them about you, and learn about them Congratulations on creating an excellent first impression with your brand new customer. They feel great about buying something from you for the first time, and you should feel great about delivering an excellent customer experience. Your next task is to create a useful, logical set of offerings that mix free information and paid products and services. The starting place: What do your customers need? Take out a pad of paper and put a big box in the middle labeled “My Customers.” Then ask yourself: What do they really need? Customers often have a mix of different needs, some pragmatic like getting access to useful information that solves their problems, and others that are more emotional, like feeling supported or accepted. Generating as many ideas as possible, create a mind map of different things your customers need. Then you can start to look for pat- terns or overarching categories. As an example, one segment of my market is corporate employees who want to quit their job and start a business. They have four ma- jor needs: • Knowledge: How do you work through each stage of creating a business? What are the most efficient/effective ways to get things done? Whom can I trust? 9
  10. 10. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim • Encouragement: Giving up a job is mighty scary. Many people are racked with self-doubt. So ongoing doses of “you are not crazy,” “you go girl/guy” and “you are almost at the finish line” are very important. • Community: It is very isolating to make a big change by yourself. The more positive, supportive people surround you, the quicker you will make progress and launch your business. • Promotion: Once businesses get up and running, they need well-connected people to spread the word so they make enough mon ey to quit their day job. For those of you with product businesses, think about what would compliment your products. If you have a jewelry line, do your cus- tomers need personal styling advice to ensure they choose the perfect outfit to showcase their jewelry? Would their overall look be highlighted with sparkly makeup or good-smelling perfume? Do they need suggestions of where to go since they now look amazing? Would they be inspired looking at pictures of other customers wearing jewelry? 10
  11. 11. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim the logical product path Once you are clear about what your people need, you want to build a product/service map that follows them through the logical path they walk as they are trying to solve whatever problem you are helping them with (personal finance, starting a business, designing a website, organizing their garage). It may help to visualize a person looking down a path, with steps along the way. Starting with the first product or service you offer, imagine what logical needs your customers would have once their initial problem was solved. So in the case of someone who offers personal finance advice, a first step in the logical product map would be a course on reducing debt. Once the customer got rid of his debt, then logical products that could follow would be: • How to automate your bill payments to eliminate late fees • How to reduce your tax liability • How to increase your income • How to invest for your retirement Or in the case of a website designer, the first product to offer would be the design of the website. Once that was done, logical follow on products or services could be: • How to drive traffic to your website • How to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) • How to use social media • How to build your mailing list • How to convert website visitors into paying customers Imagine how useful and comfortable it would be if your customers had the exact information and support that they needed as they took each step on their path. They would feel like you were reading their mind, and that is because you took the time to define a logi- cal product path. 11
  12. 12. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim An Example of a Massively Intelligent Email sequence: BabyCenter A perfect example of a company that really gets this “logical path” perspective is a service called BabyCenter (see sign up at right under “Your Pregnancy Week by Week. “) When you enter in your expected due date, each week you get an email that explains exactly how the baby is growing. It also includes tips for what you should eat at each stage of pregnancy and connects you to a discussion forum with other pregnant women. The service itself is free, but there are plenty of links to paid services and adver- tisements targeted to your specific needs. The service continues after your child is born up until they are 9 years old. They have hundreds of thousands of mothers getting this same sequence of automatic emails, timed according to individual due dates. Isn’t that an elegant, non-pushy solution? 12
  13. 13. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Expand your products and service offerings to meet the needs of current customers Now that you know what your customers need and the logical path they will walk, it is time to build your “sales funnel.” The concept of a sales funnel was originally created in 1898 (then called a “purchase funnel”), and has been changed, developed and expanded as commerce has moved online. The idea of a modern-day sales funnel is that you have an array of different product and service offerings at different price points. At the top are free offerings to draw your customers into your business, which can be everything from a blog post to a sample chocolate truffle. The sales funnel is then divided into three or four segments, with the lower priced offerings at the top and the most expensive at the bottom. 13 free $ $$ $$$
  14. 14. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Wikipedia explains the origins of the product funnel: In 1898, E. St. Elmo Lewis developed a model that mapped a theoretical customer journey from the moment a brand or product attracted consumer attention to the point of action or purchase. St. Elmo Lewis’ idea is often referred to as the AIDA-model - an acronym which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. This staged process is summarized below: • AWARENESS–the customer is aware of the existence of a product or service • INTEREST–the customer is actively expressing an interest in a product group • DESIRE–the customer is aspiring to a particular brand or product • ACTION–the customers is taking the next step towards purchasing the chosen product This early model has been evolved by marketing consultants and academics to cater for the modern customer and is now referred to in marketing as the purchase funnel. Many different consumer purchase models exist in marketing today, but it is generally accepted that the modern purchase funnel has more stages, considers repurchase intent and takes into account new technologies and changes in consumer purchase behavior. The Purchase Funnel is also often referred to as the “customer funnel,” “marketing funnel,” or “sales funnel.” The concept of associating the funnel model with the AIDA concept was first proposed in Bond Salesmanship by William W. Townsend in 1924.[4] The purchase funnel concept is used in marketing to guide promotional campaigns targeting different stages of the customer journey, and also as a basis for customer relationship management (CRM) programs. 14
  15. 15. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim Tie it all together So how do you tie the needs of your market and its logical path together in a business model that generates repeat business from your customers? 1. Define the specific needs of your people. Take a piece of paper, put them in the middle, and ask yourself “what are the major things they need to fully solve their problem?” 2. Sketch out the logical path they walk as they address their problem. Think of a typical client who comes to you for help. What is the first problem they want help solving? Once that problem is solved, where do they tend to go next? Create a path of steps that ends with them realizing their goals. 3. Create a combination of great, free information and paid products and services at each step along the way, in a tiered product funnel. You have wonderful tools like blogs, podcasts, tweets, ebooks and videos to create useful, valuable content which helps your peo- ple solve their problems. Couple this with more intensive support (paid online classes, workshops, tutorials, coaching, retreats) and they will have everything they need to be successful. Remember that many of your audience will solve their problem using your free stuff. But there will always be people who are willing to pay for more specific and individual support. 4. Sprinkle the products and services with the specific things that your people need. Think of ways to strengthen your paid offerings by adding in the specific things your people need. As an example, the way I meet the needs of my people is to offer knowledge with blog posts, programs, workshops and retreats. I give them inspiration with speeches, interviews with experts and cool people just like them who have made the leap successfully, daily Tweets, Facebook updates, emails and free calls. I give them community with online group programs, and invitations to lots of live events where they can gather with like-minded people. I give them promotion by Tweeting and blogging about their businesses, mentioning them in my press interviews and making introductions with mentors and customers. 15
  16. 16. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim 5. Organize your product roadmap in a clear and compelling manner and promote the heck out of it! Depending on the communication style of your market, you can develop a whole range of promotional materials, including a web-based product map, or a nicely designed set of printed materials. Organize your back-end email autoresponders so that after someone buys a product or program that solves a specific problem, they will be invited (in a non-pushy and genuine way) to the next set of free information/paid offerings in the logical path of their journey. In summary Customers who feel supported, appreciated and well cared for are much more likely to give you repeat business. To be the best ven- dor to serve your customer, you have to know their current and future pain points. You have to grow your services and products with your customers’ needs. Do so and you’ll enjoy the kind of customer loyalty that keeps companies around and profitable for longer than most. If you have specific ideas or examples to share, please visit me online at: 16
  17. 17. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim About the Author Pamela Slim is an award-winning author, speaker and leader in the new world of work. She spent the first 10 years of her solo prac- tice as a consultant to large corporations such as Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems, where she worked with thou- sands of employees, managers and executives. In 2005, she started the Escape from Cubicle Nation blog, which is now one of the top career and business sites on the web. She has coached thousands of budding entrepreneurs, in businesses ranging from martial art studios to software start-ups. Pam has been an active community builder since college, where she majored in International Service and Development. She produced a year-long cross cultural collaboration between Japanese and Brazil- ian dance groups, co-founded a 250 participant at-risk youth martial arts program, directed technology and change management projects for more than 50,000 employees across the globe, and developed and cultivated a passionate online community at her site Escape from Cubicle Slim is frequently quoted as a business expert in press such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, En- trepreneur, Information Week, Money Magazine and Psychology Today. She was named one of the top 100 Women on Twitter. She is a proud suburban mom in Mesa, AZ who enjoys the look on people’s faces when she tells them she is also a brown/black belt in Mixed Martial Arts (it comes in handy when fighting for the last good bunch of kale at the grocery store). Find Pam at 17
  18. 18. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim About gotomeeting Online Meetings Made Easy. GoToMeeting is the extremely simple, extraordinarily powerful web conferencing service from Citrix. It integrates HD video conferenc- ing, screen sharing and audio conferencing, allowing you to collaborate effectively online in a face-to-face environment. Hold unlim- ited meetings for one low flat fee and attend meetings from a Mac, PC and mobile devices. GoToMeeting will change the way you work–and perhaps a whole lot more. To learn more, visit 18
  19. 19. GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH EXISTING CUSTOMERS © Pamela Slim About GoToWebinar Webinars Made Easy. Citrix GoToWebinar is the easiest-to-use do-it-yourself event tool that projects your message to up to 1,000 online attendees. With GoT- oWebinar, you can reduce travel costs, generate more qualified leads at a lower cost and enhance communication with customers, prospects and employees. Host unlimited webinars for one low flat fee and give attendees the option to join from a Mac, PC or mobile device. GoToWebinar Premier Event is also available to provide custom-built solutions for thousands of attendees and available with video streaming. To learn more visit 19