Getting the best possible return for each and every dollar is always important, but in a sluggish economy, it’s particularly vital to get the greatest possible impact from each marketing dollar. With that in mind, here are four highly cost-effective ways to invest in the growth of your company.
1 – Target “Best Buyers”
I’m certain you value all of your customers, and treat them all with an equal measure of respect and professionalism (as you should). However, while you may appreciate all of your customers equally… they are not all equal; some of your clients contribute more to the bottom line of your company than others.
One of the most cost-efficient things you can do to grow your company is to protect your relationships with your best clients, and build new relationships with companies that spend big on the kinds of supplies you sell.
Let the very best of your existing customers know that they’re part of an exclusive group of highly valued customers. Don’t worry… you can do it without making everyone else feel undervalued. Perhaps you could reward certain clients with a “Platinum Customer Card” that represents certain privileges. You could offer Platinum Customer card holders extended delivery hours or discounts on introductory products. Consider sending tasteful, modest “thank you” gifts to your very best clients on the anniversary of their first purchase from you. Or, how about simply taking them out for lunch or dinner?
So, how do you attract new buyers with “best customer” potential? The key to building new relationships with high impact customers is tireless, persistent, relentless courtship. Develop a basic marketing plan to communicate with these prospective clients every 2 weeks for as long as it takes to turn them into your customer. There may be some marketing investment on your part, and there will certainly be an investment of your time, but if you’re sure the client is worth the effort, you won’t be sorry. Look for more on this subject in a future newsletter.
2 – Affiliate Partnerships
What (non-competing) companies in your area serve the same kind of customers you serve? Figure out who those companies are, and find a way to work together.
For example, a Plumbing Supply company often serves contractors (and sometimes individuals) who are working on a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project. Often, they must compete with the likes of Lowe’s or Home Depot for sales. Well, a local flooring company - we’ll call them “Johnson Flooring” - also competes with the big box stores, and serves many of the same customers. The Plumbing Supply company could arrange to place a sign by their counter advertising Johnson Flooring, while the flooring retailer does the same for the Plumbing Supply company.
The Plumbing Supply company could pass out discount cards, valid with any flooring purchase at Johnson Flooring, and vice versa. You can arrange to send a sales letter to each of their clients, and vice versa. Get creative. There are many ways to team up with other business to cost-efficiently grow your company.
3 – On-hold Marketing
Marketing on-hold is one of the most cost-effective ways to turn more new callers into customers, and sell more to your existing customers. When callers hear nothing more than silence while on hold, 90% of them will hang up within one minute while callers who hear music while on hold will stay on the line 30 seconds longer, on average. BUT callers hearing information while on hold are likely to stay on the line up to 3 minutes longer! When a new caller contacts your company, on-hold marketing helps you avoid having buyers hang up the phone, only to call a competitor. So you can use on-hold marketing to help convert more new callers into customers.
Additionally, on-hold marketing gives you a golden opportunity to educate and remind your existing clients about all the products you offer. There may be certain products your customers haven’t purchased from you simply because it never occurred to them. There may also be products they buy elsewhere because they don’t know you offer them. Marketing on hold is also a great way to let customers know about brand new products, and it’s a highly effective way to generate traffic for marketing events, such as “Customer Appreciation Days” or “Training Seminars”.
If callers hear the exact same thing each time they call, they will begin to tune-out your messages. So to get the very most from your on-hold marketing, be sure to update it regularly.
4 – Reward Your customers
Why not occasionally surprise your ‘regulars’ with a $10 Starbucks gift card or a gift certificate for dinner at a local restaurant. Now of course, what you give away to a particular customer must be commensurate to what they spend with you. As I mentioned a moment ago concerning your “Best Buyers”, not all clients will be on an equal plane, but try to reward all of your regular customers in some way.
There are a number of online companies that offer customer rewards programs that you can begin offering your clients. Just as you might earn “points” or “rewards” with certain credit cards, these rewards programs allow you to give “rewards” cards to each of your customers, with which they earn points/rewards on each purchase. They can then visit a website to browse and redeem their rewards. Sure, such a program requires some investment on your part, but if it lowers your attrition rate, and/or increases your same-customer sales, it could be a very profitable investment! However you do it, look for ways to reward your customers!
• Target “best buyers”, who can give you the greatest possible return on your marketing and sales efforts.
• Team up with complimentary, but non-competitive, companies to help one another grow.
• Use your on-hold marketing to sell more to existing clients, and convert more callers into customers.
• And reward all of your customers in some way, commensurate to what they spend with you.
Take advantage of these 4 highly cost-efficient and remarkably effective strategies to multiply each and every marketing dollar like never before, and grow your company!