Keeping in Touch - From The Heart
In the past I’ve written about how to develop a Keep in Touch Strategy, as a way of helping move your prospects or clients from one stage to the next. Of encouraging natural progression to a first purchase, and on to complimentary or logical next step purchases.
However, my thinking has moved on since then.
It’s not that I now think this is a bad business idea…..It’s more subtle than that.
My purpose and intention for doing so has changed.
Previously I was coming more from the viewpoint of myself and my business - a great way to get more clients and money coming in.
And now my intention is on understanding my clients and prospective clients better and seeing how to help them best; whether through me supporting them, by signposting them elsewhere, or simply by allowing them to ‘lurk’ until they feel ready to take action.
I’m interested in building a true relationship with the people in my community, based on my genuine curiosity and love for them (regardless of whether they become clients), and my desire to be of service where I can. Which is more than simply being interested in them as numbers in a game called client attraction, retention, or upselling!
The former treats people like human beings, the latter like a commodity.
And although I’ve never consciously viewed my clients and prospective clients as commodities, I have certainly fallen into the trap of ‘push’ marketing: trying to persuade people to buy, to buy more and more often.
So, as I said, it’s more a subtle change in intention, and a focus on the people I might be able to serve, rather than an inward focus to see how I can get the most for my business.
Work for me has always been more about impact than business results, but now I embody that in my intentions, attitude and in all my business activities. And the more I shift my focus to this, the less I worry about whether something will work, and simply focus on the person or group in front of me.
What’s interesting about this approach is that the byproduct is often better results.
Yet the aim and intention is not to persuade, but to inform. Always to be authentic and genuine in my communications, interactions and offerings, so that people know who I am and how I operate, they see what I offer, and can decide for themselves and come to me, without needing to be persuaded.
Here’s my blog post from 2014 on the subject of developing a Keep in Touch strategy….Please remember to read it with a loving, outward-looking intention rather than an internal focus, and the process itself will feel more enjoyable, irrespective of results.
Developing a keep in touch strategy as part of your business model will help move your prospects or clients from one stage to the next. It will encourage natural progression to a first purchase, and on to complimentary or logical next step purchases.
Yet many small business owners focus their efforts in the wrong place. They focus on getting more new leads, paying insufficient attention to the leads they already have, and to current and past clients.
It’s important to pay attention to and engage with your leads because they’re either already in the market for what you provide and are undecided, or they’re likely to be in the market soon. Also, you’ve already spent time, effort and possibly money, to get them to this stage of expressing interest or raising their hand, so it’s a missed opportunity and an increased cost to put your focus back on generating new leads.
Having a strategy to keep in touch with these potential clients will help you build trust and credibility, whilst keeping in touch with clients past and present will help you stay front of mind and build relationships.
When you demonstrate your knowledge and the fact that you care and are genuinely interested in helping people, they will be more inclined to trust and like you. And your trustworthiness and likeability in turn influence their decision making – they watch, listen, read, and make judgements about whether they believe you or don’t believe you, then they place a value on that judgement. And, of course, if you’re not keeping in touch with them, then they’re making these judgements and decisions on other people and on other companies.
So if the purpose of a keep in touch strategy is to encourage and move people to make their first and subsequent purchases. And you do this by building trust, credibility and likeability, and keeping your company (rather than your competitors) front of mind. What does your business need for the strategy to be effective?
How to plan and run your ‘keep in touch’ strategy
The first essential element is a system to capture prospective clients’ details – how much information may depend on client value (or perceived value) and on how you wish to follow up with them – online, offline or a combination of both.
Once you have a system in place to capture contact details there are certain elements to incorporate into your content and messages to ensure its effectiveness. You must:
- Demonstrate you know and understand your ideal clients , by using their language, not yours.
- Show you know what they’re looking for – what they want, and their underlying motivations.
- Know where they look when they want the service you provide.
- Understand the triggers or events leading up to them wanting your services.
- Articulate why they should choose your company – why you’re the best choice, your point/s of difference, your uniqueness
When you do this, and when you use the 80/20 rule i.e. providing education and information (about them) 80% of the time, and calls to action (what you want them to do as a result of your message) and sales messages (about you) 20 % of the time, you will develop interesting messaging that is valuable both to you and to your ideal clients.
You can use a mix of media to keep in touch, such as
- Telephone calls
- Text messaging
- Personalised email
- Drop in or client appreciation events
- Auto Responder messages (pre-set, automated emails scheduled to go out at predetermined intervals or on specific days).
And a range of on-line and off-line methods, such as
- Blog posts
- Updates – products, services, team members, causes you support, news, what’s coming up, reminders
- Frequently asked questions
- Special offers
That way you’re more likely to appeal to individual preferences for capturing attention and absorbing information, helping to maintain interest and encourage engagement, particularly if you’re consistent in your approach.
Your current customers will tell you what else they need if you listen to them, and your prospective customers will indicate when they’re ready to buy, providing your strategy really does inform, question, listen, and lead them to take action.
Does it pay to keep in touch? Absolutely, when done strategically and with a genuine focus on the customer!