The following guest post was written by Anne C. Graham.
If you’re an entrepreneur growing an online business, you know how hard you have to work to get a new customer. You network, put out great content on social media, buy ppc ads, have great opt-ins, develop solid sales funnels and more. And then, you blow it.
You get so caught up in attracting new customers that you put your existing customers into the appropriate autoresponder sequence and assume that will do the trick. It’s not enough. The most successful online marketers find ways to maintain that 1-1 relationship, even in an online world. Here are the 5Rs of Customer Relationship Management that work in the offline world, and they’re just as effective in the online world too.
R1 is Retain: Just a 5% increase in retention can put 95% more on your bottom line
Great, you got ‘em in the door, but will you keep them? Too many of the online marketers I’ve experienced think that an opt in or a purchase gives them open season on my Inbox, with “Sell, sell, sell” messages. I opt out of those in a hurry. The best ones give me value-add content and allow me to specify how often I want to hear from them. Periodically, they make me a good upsell offer. If they notice I’m not opening their emails anymore, some send a personal note saying “how can I serve you better”.
Stop selling, start serving. Stop pushing, start pulling them deeper into your world in a value-add way instead. Invite them to connect with you outside of your autoresponder list, i.e. on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest – whatever is appropriate for your marketplace, so that even if they opt-out at some point, you can still reach them. Let them know that when they join you there, they get special content. And go vice-versa. However you get a new client, even if it’s 1-1 rather than online, give them compelling reasons to connect with you on social media and an equally compelling offer to opt-in to your mailing list. You never want them connected to you in just one place.
In my case, my weekly email gives them provocative questions to liven up their otherwise-boring management meetings – that serves a busy leader well by giving them fresh discussion content. Almost every week, there’s a free resource of some kind, plus something interesting or entertaining that comes from someone other than me. As they click on my resources, I know what’s of interest, and I can fine-tune future content to better meet their needs, or reach out with an opportunity to connect at a deeper level through a 1-1 Strategy Call..
R2 is Ramp Up: This is low-hanging fruit, and you have a 67-70% chance of success with this strategy vs a 5-20% chance of success closing a new customer.
Once you have a customer on board, OF COURSE you want to serve them better by doing more business with them. The research shows that at any point in time, between 5-30% of them could be doing more business with you, and the fastest way to Ramp Up their profitability is with a 1-1 strategy session by phone that strengthens the relationship and uncovers the deeper needs and wants your customers don’t even know they have. If you’re selling inexpensive ebooks or affiliate programs, this strategy may be too time-consuming, but if you have low-end and high-end programs, its perfect for you.
Make sure you have an online calendar that makes it easy and welcoming for them to do business with you. My favorite is Schedule Once http://www.meetme.so/AnneCGrahamCalendar, and its included in my regular emails as well as 1-1 communication. If you feel called to connect with me there, please do so!
R3 is Restore to Breakeven or Better
In 5 out of 6 cases, “fire the customer” is the wrong choice to make even for customers who are costing you more than they’re worth, and its tough to do in the online world if they’ve already paid you.
This may or may not be a problem in your online business model, if you sell a product or service where you collect payment upfront and then simply deliver the product. However, if you have a blended business model (where you’re providing coaching for example), some clients will be high maintenance (likely unprofitable) or unpleasant to deal with. Our time is short here but if you take a look at p. 172 of my #1 Best Seller, Profit in Plain Sight, you’ll find a handy 6-cell matrix which shows you exactly how to get them back to being profitable instead of having to fire them.
R4 is Regain
A customer may have opted out for a variety of reasons, but if you’ve connected with them through social media, now’s the time to reach out personally and ask them why they left. Perhaps they felt spammed or had an issue with your product or service. Perhaps they got want they needed and are ready to move on. Perhaps they didn’t get what they needed and they’re looking for another solution. Perhaps you’re still the answer and they just don’t know it.
Finding out why they left is a powerful yet often overlooked tactic for being able to retain the rest of your customers for longer or to uncover new product or service offerings you can use in the Ramp Up strategy.
It’s your job to make it easy for them to do business with you again, even if they left because of an issue. Take the time to developing an effective outreach, listening, and win back strategy and you’ll almost effortlessly grow your business.
R5 is Reactivate
Do you have a big database of customers you never hear from anymore, or can you track who has stopped opening your emails? These folks are often dismissed and overlooked, but there’s often hidden gold with them. Think of your business as a radio station. We often assume that “broadcasting” is enough – as long as we’re sending emails, and more, these customers will do business with us again “someday.”
Unless they’re tuned into us, they can’t hear us no matter how much wattage we use.
How much junk mail and email do you simply ignore every day because what’s being pitched isn’t top-of-mind for you in that moment? We all tune out when what we hear is just noise.
Proactively finding out if they’re “dead or just sleeping” and developing value-focused reactivation strategies is the secret to creating a dog whistle that breaks through the noise and gets their attention. Otherwise you’ll incur huge marketing costs for no good reason other than wishful thinking.
Reach out to them in some way OTHER than email to find out if they even want to keep hearing from you – you need to break through their coma. Often, people stay on mailing lists through inertia OR worst of all, use the Rules option in their email to redirect all your emails to a dead-end folder. Hopefully, you have another way to reach them – through social media, through a mailing address, through a phone number. A clean mailing list is a profitable mailing list. Find out who should be on it, and let the rest go.
It’s your responsibility as a leader to create your future
In this age of high tech instead of high touch, showing you care and learning how to add more value is what builds a high level of trust and partnership with your clients and a barrier to entry that your competitors can’t penetrate.
Transform your business with the 5Rs
Mastering the 5Rs is the 20% that your competitors aren’t doing. It’s the 20% of opportunity hidden in plain sight that makes all the difference. Find out more about the 5Rs with this complimentary 3-video training resource. Here’s to your success when master these simple yet effective strategies!
Anne C. Graham is a Baby Boomer, #1 best-selling Author, international Speaker, and Accelerator. She is on a mission to build online and virtual programs to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee or more in less than one year.
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