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Don't Ignore Your Existing Customers

New is nice, but existing customers offer word-of-mouth referrals and higher chance of additional sales.

May 10, 2021

3 Min Read
Customer first on speedometer
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By Hope McCluskey

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Hope McCluskey

Every business wants to make money, but sometimes in our drive to acquire new customers we lose focus on what is another significant – and perhaps more important – revenue driver: our existing customers. Consider this: It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one and the probability of selling to a current customer is 60 to 70%, while it is 5 to 20% for a new prospect.

Of course, we all want new customers, but there are obvious advantages to retaining customers and building a loyal relationship – primarily because they will keep using your services and can even help you draw new customers through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Keeping up these relationships is vital to running your company and worth putting some extra resources into your marketing efforts. Getting to know your customer and regularly showing your value through outreach and education should be a significant part of those efforts. Here’s how to do that:

Getting to Know Your Customers

Understand who your customers are. Keep a file on your customers that includes basic background information, including what kind of business they run, where they are located and other organizations they are involved with such as consortiums, local associations and vertical groups. You can apply this same rule to the business owner or the person at the business with whom you primarily do business. When is their birthday? Do they have children? Where did they go to school? Ask them what about their business keeps them up at night to see if it’s a pain point you can address.

Keep your customers educated on your products/solutions and industry trends. Your customers are always looking for new updates and information that will help them run their business better, whether that’s a new software upgrade to one of your solutions that they use, or a new trend that is happening in the market. Keeping them apprised by sending them relevant articles or blogs or product updates will help them stay ahead of the game and show that you are a trusted partner who cares about their success. Additionally, set up virtual “lunch and learns” for an opportunity to talk about the latest technology solutions. Keep your brand current and your value proposition front and center. Make sure your customers know why they chose you and make them aware of the value of your organization outside of their business, such as your CSR efforts or support of local organizations.

Engage in a fun way. It’s important to keep your customers updated about your products and solutions but connecting in a way that is separate from the business can be a fun way to build relationships. For example, set up virtual happy hours or arrange other virtual events like escape rooms, poker tournaments and mixology classes. Offering incentives, holding contests or partnering with your customers for a philanthropic organization can also build up connections.

Follow up. Don’t make your outreach a one-time event. Follow up and be consistent and ready to assist. A once-in-a-blue-moon strategy is ineffective and in the long run will do you more harm than good. Market at least monthly to your existing customers.

Today most company owners wear multiple hats while running the business. They’re the president, tech support, sales and accounting, all rolled into one. Understandably, this means marketing usually gets put on the back burner and little effort is made to reach out to existing customers. But keeping these customers should be a part of your marketing plan. It’s important that you continue the dialog and stay relevant. If you don’t, your existing customer could become a past customer.

Hope McCluskey is director of channel marketing at ESET. She previously was director of client services and marketing manager at Ingram Micro. Follow her on LinkedIn or @ESET on Twitter.

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