The following is a guest post by Maribeth Kuzmeski, author of
And the Clients Went Wild! How Savvy Professionals Win All the Business They Want
Getting new clients can often be stressful and intimidating, but it doesn't need to be. Business development isn't a secret formula, instead it is about doing a few important things well. Here are 10 ways to electrify your clients to help win more business and retain current clients.
2. Create your simple, repeatable statement of value. A simple marketing message is transmitted easily and without degradation of the meaning and content. A short, clear message is best. When creating yours, ask yourself: Who am I? What is my business all about? Who are my customers? What is something unique about my business?
3. Brand consistently. The variety of marketing efforts available today could easily confuse customers, send conflicting messages—and result in a fractioned brand. Every interaction a customer has with your brand must be integrated across all marketing channels. For example, your website content and e‐mail campaigns should be fully incorporated with your offline efforts. All should proclaim a single, clear branding message and design throughout.
4. “Wow” your clients with frequent communication. In today’s world, the more frequently you contact clients, the better the relationship is likely to be. For important clients, make sure there is always a “next activity” scheduled. You could give them a call, invite them to lunch, e-mail them, or simply drop a note in the mail. Plan your next contact or appointment with a client during your current one; it is a sure-fire way of maintaining consistency and implementation.
5. Find the compelling benefits. Compelling benefits answer the question, “Why should I care?” But do you even know what your clients truly care about? And do your marketing messages address this? List benefits based on what your customers—not you—believe is valuable. Remember, every word needs to show the reader “What’s in It for Me.”
6. Create surprising offers and people will pay attention! If you offer something of real value for free, people will listen. In fact, “free” can convert price shoppers into loyal customers. This is the model that online print company Vistaprint used to generate over $500 million in revenue in 2009. The “free” offer the company makes has a certain appeal to their target market: small businesses. While these companies need printing, they’re often very cost-conscious customers. So Vistaprint offers 250 business cards for free, with a nominal $5.67 shipping and processing charge. Today, 66 percent of Vistaprint’s business comes from returning customers. In the first quarter of FY 2010, they acquired 1.4 million new customers—many who started with a free order.
7. Create a website that is as unique as your business. Recent statistics indicate that people form an opinion of a website in seven seconds, and will decide within that timeframe whether to browse within the site—or move on. Keeping this in mind, it is important to have a website design that downloads quickly, is aesthetically pleasing, and tells users right away what’s in it for them. Simply put, your site needs to stop visitors in their tracks.
8. Stay out of SPAM folders. Ending up in the SPAM folder is the kiss of death for any e‐marketing piece. Before you send an e-mail or e-newsletter, be wary of the things that can get your e-mails deleted before they are even opened. All e-mails receive a SPAM rating that is affected by a variety of factors. As your SPAM rating increases, so do the chances of your e-mails being sent directly into recipients’ SPAM folders. To avoid the “forbidden folder,” watch the words you use (e.g., excessive use of “win” and “money” can send you straight to SPAM), avoid flashy colors and designs, and use a SPAM-checking service to review your messages.
9. Call them to action. Make sure that your marketing messages include a clear and specific call-to-action. Your audience needs to feel that they are part of a select group that’s been chosen to receive a special offer or value, and they need to be convinced after they put your piece down that the sooner they respond to your offer, the better. To call your customers to action, provide a specific offer such as a coupon or discount, add a sense of urgency, and repeat the offer at least three times in the marketing piece.
10. Become the media. One of the most powerful ways to gain exposure, increase your credibility, and get people talking is to get media coverage. Fortunately, today you don’t have to wait for the media to come to you. You can become the media. You can do so by using some newer tools that are available for free and right from your desk: Create your own blog . Host your own recorded radio show. Write your own articles or opinion pieces.
Photo Credit: Kyle May