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
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
(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:
Return to top of page