Most businesses focus on prospecting, marketing and expanding their customer base. If that describes your business, don't overlook the value of your existing customer base - and the role that email can play in staying in touch.
It is expensive to prospect and to develop new customers from scratch. Advertising, sales calls or telemarketing, and the customer's vendor approval processes all make new client development time and cost intensive.
Your existing customer base, however, is an asset that you already own. Email campaigns can help you extract new value from that asset.
Your existing customers have huge economic value to you for several reasons. They're "fully developed" as opportunities. They know your company and they are familiar with your company, your products and your staff. The customer already has goodwill toward you. And your customers already use your products, so there may be latent cross-selling and up-selling opportunities available, as well as re-supply of consumables, or new versions or revisions of products that your past customers can use.
If you have only focused on individual sales to new customers in the past, then you may be ready for a change. You should consider how you can move from a "transaction focused" sales model that emphasizes one time individual sales, to a "relationship driven" model that extracts value from these proven customer relationships in an ongoing series of interactions.
Email is a primary tool for maintaining and enhancing these customer relationships. In this installment we will give you some ideas for using email campaigns as an effective, low cost tool to leverage your existing customer base.
Why Email Follow-up?
One of the primary reasons for slowing of repeat business is that your customers simply forgot about you.
Why? Because they never heard from you after their order. This is exactly why some businesses send mailings such as catalogs and flyers.
One primary reason that email campaigns are an attractive proposition for existing customers is because you already have a business relationship with the customer. Simply put, you can email them with information or new offers legally. Anti-SPAM laws will generally not apply to an existing relationship. (This is not legal advice. Please research the applicable laws and regulations governing email for your jurisdiction. And, never irritate your past customers! Make removal from the email campaign easy and quick.)
What Should Go Into an Email Campaign?
This is a big subject, and one that we will cover in detail in the future installments of this letter.
Briefly, there are two main categories of corporate email outreach:
- Offers and Corporate News - sales oriented copy: specials, temporary price reductions, and other campaigns that attempt to create customer interest that leads to new purchases, license renewals, sales of new models or versions, etc. In short, you send customers notices of sales, and you send "coupons" to customers.
- Informational - containing news, observations and discussions. This type of email does three things to help your business. First, the information supports your company's image in the customer's eyes as their champion and partner, by providing useful information. You are a "good guy" for helping. Second, a newsletter can be used to personalize your company to your reader. Third, the news items that you include in your emails can create fresh demand for your products and services, by recommendation of new tactics or tasks that will benefit your customer.
A well crafted email campaign to existing customers is a very modest investment of your time and money, that can pay huge dividends to your business. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to see us explore how email campaigns and newsletters can support your marketing effort.