Summary: Regular, meaningful contact with customers and prospects should be the engine for generating new business for your company. This series of posts provides a guideline to quickly create a customer contact plan for your business. And you can click here to listen to last week’s webinar with Heidi Tobias from Constant Contact and myself.
Quality content is critical. You have one chance (maybe two) for someone to open your newsletter, email or direct mail piece. If the reader doesn’t find the material relevant or personally useful, he or she is unlikely to open subsequent communications.
At this point you do not want to craft the final text, but rather decide on an overall theme to your message. What information would be useful or informative to your intended audience?
It is much better to have short, well-written tips and “you-should-know” notes rather than generic, shallow but lengthy communications. If you decide on a newsletter, plan out at least 8-10 topics in advance so your newsletters flow and you do not end up “dry” for new ideas in a few months.
But the best source for ideas should be your clients and prospects themselves. What do they want to know more about? What do they find interesting? Poll or ask for input everywhere you can (website, blog, social media, newsletters, retail locations, employee suggestions). You will never be at a loss for fresh ideas.
A Few Final Suggestions
Avoid any suggestion of spamming: Regardless of the method, you want to always allow the customer or prospect the option to “opt-out” so no one can feel pressured or harassed. The opt-out process should be simple and easy to do.
Measure your results: Just the fact that you have a plan in place means that you can now track the usefulness of your customer contact strategy. Look at open and opt-out rates on electronic newsletters to measure their appeal. You can also provide incentives with promotion codes tied to each piece to directly measure sales results.
Regardless of the method of your contact or length of your list, the fact that you have created a plan and set priorities means that you are much more likely to stay in touch with the people that mean the most for your business’ future.