One of the missed opportunities (notice I didn't say "mistakes"; it's the PR guy in me!) I see so many business owners make is this: spending too much time, effort and money on acquiring new customers...at the expense of communicating with, and servicing, existing customers.
Repeat this Savvy Marketer mantra after me: Your best customers are your best customers.
With TPC, I suggest a systematic, regular system of customer communications. Here's how to build this marketing program:
1. Create a database. This records the customer's key information, such as name, email address, etc. This can be as simple as Excel spreadsheet, or utilize one of the many software programs or online resources.
2. Regularly and at every opportunity add to and refine your database. This includes both updating and adding information for contacts already in the database, and adding new contacts.
3. Communicate regularly with your database. The key here is "regularly". I suggest client communications should happen ideally every month, and at the worse one time per quarter. The communication doesn't have to be expensive or always the same. In fact, I suggest variety. It would be easy to plan for the year ahead an every-other-month customer communication program made up of emails, printed materials (such as a letter or newsletter), a holiday card, a 'thank you' gift, and so on.
4. Provide value. Your communication should ideally be something the customer would want to receive. Avoid way-too-generic information, or information that's obviously pulled from an association or other third-party. (My dentist sends me every quarter a newsletter. I struggle -- struggle -- to find one piece of that newsletter that (a) engages me in any way and (b) is personalized for his dentist office. KEY TIP: Sending generic information to your customers sends the message that you provide generic service.
To build your business, begin by establishing a regular communication program with existing customers, then and only then focus on reaching new clients.