Quickly, what’s the first thing that came to mind? In most cases, the first thing we think about is something that has to do with bringing in NEW customers.
And this is one of the biggest mistakes many business owners make – they spend all of their time, energy and resources ($$$) chasing after the next new customer – to get the next transaction – without giving much time, effort or resources to maximizing each customer’s profit value by keeping them coming back and sending their friends.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this. In one of my home improvement businesses, over a 3-year period I spent over one million dollars in advertising to get NEW customers. Sure, it worked and we got a lot of new customers, but all we cared about was how many transactions we were completing each week.
We didn’t consider what our customers could or would be worth over the long haul; we only looked at what they were worth that minute, that week, that month. I knew better, but I still did it, and I know now that I paid the price in lost profits and lost business value. My justification for it was that it was working at the time. Sound familiar?
The problem with this thinking is that the real value and profit potential of your business is not just in the one-time transaction with new customers, but in the quality of the relationship your business builds and maintains with every customer.
So many business owners mistakenly believe that once someone buys their product or service, they are now somehow magically loyal to their business and will return every time they need their product or service, or will recommend them when the opportunity presents itself. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Unless you do something to nurture and protect that relationship, to continually keep you and your business top of mind… to reinforce your relationship… to remind them of your existence and the solutions you provide… chances are good that they will forget about you, your business and even the products and services you sell.
As a marketing strategist who has worked with hundreds of companies in nearly two-dozen different business categories, the one constant in every business is the need for staying in touch with customers. In fact, in almost every business (likely including yours), there are tens of thousands – maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars – in untapped opportunity trapped inside your file cabinets.
B2B or B2C doesn’t matter. Your product or service doesn’t matter. If you are serious about long-term business success and maximum profitability, you must allocate a small piece of your marketing budget to consistently staying in touch with your past and current customers.
So, what’s the best way to do that? By far the best way I have found to do this is with a printed and mailed company newsletter.
A printed company newsletter is one of the best ways to maintain and nurture an ongoing relationship with your customers. (Yes, printed and sent to real mailboxes. Email newsletters also have their place, but only as a complement to a print newsletter, never a substitution.)
Your company newsletter can be a powerful marketing tool that, if executed properly, will not only boost your sales and profits, but also elevate your brand awareness and brand equity with the people that matter most.
When done right, there are a number of reasons why newsletters must be an essential part of your marketing mix.
- The ‘magic’ of newsletters is that they are perceived as a publication (NOT junk mail) and for this reason they tend to stay in the home longer (unlike flyers, or direct mail promotions which most of the time end up in the garbage) and get passed along and read by multiple people.
- Most people read newsletters with their guard down, making them quite effective because they aren’t perceived as being just another sales solicitation.
- Your newsletter keeps your company’s name top of mind. With each passing month that you don’t communicate with them, you risk them forgetting who you are and the solutions you offer. Your newsletter minimizes that risk.
- Your newsletter lets you more effectively catch clients when they – or a friend or family member – have a need for your product or service.
- Your newsletter gives you the opportunity to introduce new products in a no-pressure, non-aggressive way.
- Your newsletter provides a vehicle to educate and entertain your customers.
The bottom line is that a good newsletter program is really designed to make your business less dependent on one-time, new transactions (which are the most expensive to make) and more about developing a relationship with those people who have trusted you in the past.
It’s ultimately about nurturing and caring for your customers, so they will nurture and care for you in return.