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LAST UPDATE: 6/17/2014

The Advisor
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YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMER BASE
A Powerful Resource For Potential Profits
by Terry Williams

In our daily business activities we are constantly trying to create sales to new customers. But something that we fail to do is talk to our existing customers, as they are free resources to create additional profits. Let's take a few moments and look at this marketing opportunity that many businesses fail to capitalize on.

We all know it takes quite a bit of resources to create a new customer, especially online, as you are dealing with many issues. For example, a customer cannot drop into your business and look around or talk to you. All of the interaction you have with prospects and customers takes place online via email or by telephone. This makes trust and confidence harder to come by. Many of us make our buying decisions based on emotions and senses, especially using sound and sight. Since online business does not lend itself to using these senses, it takes a bit more time and effort to turn an interested prospect into a valued customer and once you have accomplished this it is much easier to go back to that customer and resale them. This is one of the most under utilized marketing opportunities in business today. Why do you think that you receive mailers from retail stores you have purchased from before in the form of preferred customer offers, because they understand this very powerful marketing tool.

Existing Customers: How Do You Resale Them The most important tool in dealing with your customer base is communication. You need to let them know you appreciate their business and want them to purchase from you again. You have overcome the biggest obstacle of getting them to purchase your product in the first place, now offer them additional opportunities to purchase again and again. But how do you go about doing this? You need to develop a marketing plan for your customer base just as you did when you began offering your initial product for sale. Here are a few elements you need to develop in order to be successful.

1. Getting Your Customer To Buy More Of Your Product. Once your customer has determined that your product will fill their needs and they place an order, why not offer them more than 1. There are plenty of ways to offer multiple purchases. One of the most effective is to offer a bulk purchase discount. Offer a discounted price for the purchase of 2 or 5 or 10 units, whatever your product is best suited for. Remember here that you want to make the offer of multiple units attractive to your customer so they will take advantage of it. There needs to be a reward for them to spend more. Even though you may not receive as much profit margin per unit you are making additional profits for free so it doesn't hurt to lower your unit profit margin.

2. Getting Your Customer To Upgrade Their Product. Many businesses offer packages of products and this is an excellent opportunity to upgrade your customer. For example, you are offer a series of weight loss products that you sale for $29.99 each. Your customer wants to buy 2 of these products, why not offer them the opportunity to purchase more at a discounted price, offer them a price of $24.99 for a purchase of 5. This is a savings of $5.00 per product and $25.00 for the package. This creates a value to your customer and also creates more sales and profits for you. Just remember not to give your product away but you will need to create a value for your customer to change their purchase and upgrade.

3. Getting Your Customer To Purchase Additional Products. Most businesses offer more than 1 product and when you ship out your order to your customer why not include a flyer or an opportunity for your customer to buy additional products you offer. This can be a product catalog, a list or whatever means you want to present to your customer. Just make sure there is an additional offer along with their order. This customer has decided to purchase from you so make sure you give them the opportunity to purchase again from you. Repeat sales create more profits.

4. Getting Your Customer To Buy Again Immediately. This is the key to getting multiple purchases for your customers. You want them to reorder immediately. The best method for doing this is by offering your customers a preferred customer discount. But you must also make a time limit on the offer to get an immediate response, usually 30 days or less is what you want to offer. If you make the offer period too short the customer just will not respond and on the other hand if the offer period is too long then it doesn't create any urgency for them to order.

5. What To Do Before You Drop Them. Many businesses make the mistake of dropping their marketing efforts to their existing customers too quickly. I am not recommending that you hound your customers, but keep them informed of additional products, future offerings and the like. There are some very good methods you can use like a mailing list, either via email or regular mail, to all of your customers updating your products or services, telephone marketing, contests, or a free gift or information. Decide which method is best for you and make sure you contact these customers at least every 30 days so they remember who you are and what you are offering. Your customers will tell you if they don't want to be contacted again, but this usually doesn't happen very often if you are providing valuable information to them.

The most important point, however, never remove them from your mailing unless you first tell them you are doing so. Don't assume they are not interested because they haven't purchased from you again, they might just be waiting for a better time financially or they don't need the other products at the present. You never know, tomorrow they might.

6. Develop Your Marketing Materials. This should be considered and developed before you begin marketing to your customer base. You want to take the time and decide on pricing, special offers, and how you are going to keep in touch with your customer base. Then write your special offers and sales materials and have them ready for your customers when they order. Also you want to decide how you are going to deliver these offers, via email, flyers, telephone, fax or mailing lists. You want to be flexible and try a few or all of these methods to find out which ones work best. I have found that flyers works very well when they are inserted with my books for multiple purchases or discounts for my other products.

When you write your offers make sure you use the same techniques used in creating your initial offer. Hit the benefits and what they will do for your customer, use customer centered wording about what you and your products will do for them, and add customer centered testimonials of other happy customers of yours. These testimonials should be focused on the results that were achieved by those customers, what they got out of your product.

7. Start Today. Maybe you haven't been using this tool, it's not too late. Go back and contact those customers you have sold to before and re-acquaint yourself with them. Ask them how they have been doing and how they feel about your product. You might be surprised that not only will you get additional orders, but you will also get some very good testimonials. Don't be afraid to talk to your customers, if you build a good relationship with them they will become customers of yours for a long time to come.

It's all too easy to forget about your current customer base. If you understand what is necessary to stay in contact with your existing customers and do what's necessary to resale and recapture customers your profit margins will increase significantly. I guarantee it!

(Terry is the publisher of the "Internet Marketing Issues" a Bi-Weekly newsletter, books and information reports. Learn more about his books and other related information at his website: http://www.intersuccess.com/)

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