Don’t forget existing clients in the rush for new
A Special ReportEditor Belinda Kontominas, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday August 17, 2011
Many businesses spend too much time chasing new clients rather than deepening their relationship with existing buyers.
New friends might be silver and shiny but, as the well-known poems go, the old are gold.
Many businesses are missing key opportunities by not knowing enough about their customers.
“A lot of people do not keep data on their customers and that’s the most important thing you can do,” says Maria Cook, executive officer at the Business Enterprise Centre, St George and Sutherland Shire.
“You want, at the very minimum, name, surname, gender, age group – if you can get it – and postcode. You want to know who your customers are.”
Cook comes across businesses “on a weekly basis” with no real idea of their customer demographic and buying patterns.
Knowing your customers allows you to tailor your marketing and woo back old clients.
She cites the example of a discount fashion warehouse from which she buys clothes that keeps track of her favorite designers. When they get a shipment in of her favorite brand, they SMS her.
“If someone understands the things you like to buy and treats you very well when you come in to buy, it makes a big difference,” she says.
Michelle Gamble, owner of Marketing Angels, says the trend of group buying through coupon websites may not be the smartest marketing initiative.
“A lot of people are … offering those really massive discounts to get new customers in the door but they ignore their current customers,” she says. And there’s the obvious danger of putting your loyal followers offside.
Plenty of affordable off-the-shelf customer databases are available, Gamble says.
Financial advisor Robert MacLean, from Equitas Wealth Management of St Leonards (Formerly Magnitude Financial Planning), knows the value of looking after his customers. In his line of work, referrals come from clients and a trust develops between customer and adviser, so does the depth of work on offer.
When the global financial crisis hit, MacLean began sending regular updates about the bigger financial picture.
He uses a mix of methods, including newsletters, email and YouTube, to communicate with clients. “Our business has grown 50 per cent in the past 198 months just from existing clients”, MacLean says.