Acquiring new customers is the “show biz” side of direct
marketing. The marketing budgets are much larger, you get to be
more creative and perhaps use a broader variety of media.
There’s this problem, though: It costs 5 times as much to find a new
customer as it does to keep an existing one.
That’s why, in the Age of Accountability, smart organizations are
focusing more of their resources on keeping and growing current
customers. The key:
Here are 10 ways to
You’ll be surprised how much this matters.
Say “thank you” to new customers within days (or if it’s
online, within hours) of receiving your first order.
If it doesn’t make sense to
offer thanks for every
Order, make sure you
do it at least once a year.
Remove some of the necessary barriers you set up for suspects
and prospects (e.g. automated email and voice response, long
Think about a dedicated
phone line for repeat
customers. Some companies
Have different web sites
for customers than for
You can afford to give long-time customers discounts,
special services, and red carpet treatment. Don’t think so?
Do the math. In many cases, it’s not even necessary to invest in a
formal “loyalty” program.
Recognition can go as far in
expectations as rewards.
Stage and invite best
customers to “inner circle”
events, even if the
customer has to pay
for the trip.
Think about how good it feels when the waiter at your favorite
restaurant greets you by name and knows exactly where you want
to sit. You return again and again and always tip more than
The same thing works even with hardened enterprise IT buyers.
Give them advice, counsel And
Content specific to their needs.
Most direct marketers have
the content and technology
to deliver one-to-one
Most people want their opinions heard. And they’ll like being asked
for their point of view. The act of surveying your customers
communicates the meta-message that you care what they think
and what they want.
When you report the results of the survey back to them, that’s a
double confirmation of your
Concern. While you don’t want
to do format surveys too often,
you can get feedback after
particular transactions which
can inform your more
Score your customers as you would prospects and leads.
You can do this in many ways – everything from the old standard
RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) to share-of-wallet.
Once your customer files are scored, break customers up into
distinct groups and build mini-marketing plans based on the
segments’ unique needs, previous behaviors, established
predispositions and potential
to grow. Be sure to establish
Control groups within each
Segment so you can see the
Incremental value of your
New marketing efforts.
New customers have different needs and expectations than those
you’ve had for years.
What’s even trickier is that new customers acquired today will
probably have different needs than the new customers you acquired
three, five or ten years ago
Do the research
(see reason #5) to
understand and respond
to these differences.
Happy customers will, for the most part, be more than
happy to refer you to people like themselves.
Identify “Apostles” among your customers and empower
them to crusade for your
product or service.
Build a customer panel and/or an advisory board and invite
customers to join.
You’ll be surprised by how many will join, share, refer and buy
more as a result of their
If you listen and act on what
They have to say, that not
only builds their loyalty but
makes them more willing
to reach out to prospects.
Make sure everyone knows how important the customer is, and
develop foolproof communications that reflect the knowledge.
You don’t want to have one of your representatives
thanking a customer one day,
and then having the customer
being treated like a prospect
the next day