All businesses have one thing in common – they have customers. Some have a handful, some have millions – but they all fight hard to retain existing clients and acquire new ones.
Hidden within your customer database are the keys to help keep existing customers happy and also acquire new business.
Keeping existing customers happy
It is a proven fact that it is cheaper to keep an existing customer than find a new one. The key to stop customers straying is to keep them engaged, informed and active. It is a common mistake to concentrate your marketing budget into finding new customers only, whilst investing nothing in customer retention. An existing customer is generally far more receptive to new initiatives, offers and products from a company where there is an existing relationship.
Here is a selection of ways of keeping your customers active:
- Invite them to exhibitions/open days
- Inform them of new products and services
- Invite them to give invaluable insights by means of a customer satisfaction survey
- Send regular email newsletters
- Engage with them on social media networks
- Educate them with case studies/blogs/webinars/seminars
- Ask them to recommend you
- Call them regularly - keep records – invite feedback and listen.
Not all of these ideas are appropriate to all businesses but the principle is sound. With just a few day’s work you will reap the rewards, whether this be in the form of improved sales, customer feedback or some other interaction – you are keeping your company/brand name in front of your customers – which, should help in achieving a long lasting business relationship and prevent them straying to your competition.
How do I find new customers?
Your existing customer database can hold a wealth of information that will help you target future marketing activity. It is a good idea to profile and segment your customer database. This will help you understand buyer motivations, activity and attributes. Understanding your client base can help in the following ways:
- Segmenting your data (say, by age group or business sector) can help improve campaign targeting, which in turn can have a huge impact on conversion rates. For example, there is no point in sending details regarding an insurance policy aimed at the over 50’s to a household that is populated by a young couple in their mid 20’s. This ‘blanket’ approach, whilst easy, is hugely wasteful and can be avoided with some careful targeting. Campaigns that get the right product to the right person at the right time will offer the best chance of success. Better targeting will equate to beating your sales targets.
- By having a profile of your existing customers, it is fair to say that you can assume that other consumers or businesses with a similar profile are likely to be interested in your products or services. This may seem obvious, but it is a simple way to help find new prospects. Indeed, geographical profiling may help you identify new growth areas where you are currently underrepresented – again this means that you can target an area – maybe to try and poach some customers from your competition.
- Identify areas within your existing client base to perhaps cross sell or develop new product lines. A customer may love your existing service, but is having to use another supplier for a related item.
- Re-engage with lapsed customers – it may be that your original contact has moved on or that they don’t require your service any more. Either way, you can ensure your database is kept up to date by replacing the contact name or removing the record. Both are positive outcome in improving data quality and future campaign efficiency.
Customer profiling can result in a comprehensive report on the geographic and demographic attributes of your customer database. For businesses this can be business classification, turnover, number of employees etc and for consumers this can give you a wealth of lifestyle information such as leisure interests, pet ownership, travel preferences or newspaper readership etc. All of this extra information can be tagged to your existing data to enable effective segmentation and improved targeting. Understanding the profile of your existing clients will also prove invaluable when trying to seek new customers.
At Quartz Data Services we believe that looking after a customer database and harnessing the information within as well as appending relevant attributes, can prove a powerful tool in your sales and marketing armoury. Looking after your main business asset is vital in maintaining and growing your customer base and increasing sales.
About the author : Ian Inman
Ian Inman founded marketing data consultancy Quartz Data Services Ltd to help businesses make more of their most prized asset - their customer database. With nearly twenty years experience of working with many clients across a spectrum of sectors, Quartz Data are well positioned to assist in achieving success with your next marketing campaign.