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Business Growth Business Wisdom April 24, 2015

6 Simple Ways Your Business Grows Through Followups

There is a tendency in all aspects of our lives to treat that which is newest with the most interest, enthusiasm, and favor.

Whether it’s a new shirt, a new puppy, or a new friend, it’s not uncommon to give a little more attention to the "new" new thing and neglect some of the older things we’ve had around for awhile.

The same goes for marketing.

We put a lot of energy, creative thinking, and money to bring new shoppers to our business. It's easy to focus on these recent signups while pushing your older clientele to the back-burner.

This is a normal thing to have happen, and many a business will go through this phase at some point or another.

It's not a bad thing necessarily.

It's proof that you're growing, are ready to take on more sales volume, and can be a great motivator for you and your sales team (if you have one) to keep driving forward and improving your business processes.

But, whether sales and growth are rapid, have slowed or are stable, you shouldn't neglect those who got you there; especially if your sales depend on repeat or recurring purchases. 

Easiest, Cheapest, Most Effective

Your revenue will benefit more from a higher customer lifetime value than from a few dollars saved on your cost per acquisition. Plus, your customers' happiness will be greater when your focus is less on growth numbers and more on maintaining the existing relationships.

Some of the key ways to engage with and market to your existing customers are through "Thank You" messages and requests for feedback.

As conventional wisdom shifts towards maximizing every customer message's effectiveness, the short "Thank You" is often replaced by product fliers, upsells, and far too much sales material.

When you bust out the unexpected, informal check-in, it adds a personal touch to your brand; plus, it separates you from everyone else who is only sending out transactional and "strictly business" emails.

Any type of message, Tweet, or Facebook post will do, but emails are my favorite. It's a very personal channel and usually one that is going to be seen and opened.

The other type of followup is a request for feedback via email or social. Feedback requests have an even greater potential impact on your business than the "thank you". Where a thanks (for the most part) is geared towards making a relatively one-directional touch, feedback requests are bi-directional communications.

They open a conversation with your customers in which they feel like they are in control and can voice their opinion. These conversations can lead to all sorts of beneficial outcomes from product improvements and pricing changes to completely original ideas.

Let's explore the 6 primary reasons you should check in with your customers on a regular basis.

How Followups Help Grow Your Business

Here are some of the ways you'll profit from checking in.

1. Reinforce Purchases

Sending multiple messages related to the same purchase beyond the initial "thanks for buying" can help your customer know they made a great decision to purchase from you. A personal thank you after purchase is not just a good brand builder, it's almost expected. A check in is less expected and makes your customers feel like it's a genuine interaction more-so than a piece of business.

2. Head Off Complaints

When you check in, you are starting a conversation. If a customer is upset because of something your product did or did not do, with the right calls to action and phrasing you can invite their feedback and release some of that pressure. It's much better to have that conversation 1 on 1 and try to solve it rather than having that customer voice their frustrations via a negative review or a bunch of angry social posts.

3. Get Product Feedback

You've done some hard work building and marketing your product, so you know exactly why it's valuable to your customers, right? Sometimes your clients, users, and customers will surprise you. As great as hearing “I love this product” is, you’ll get more value out of an “I love this product because X, Y, Z".

This can very easily happen in a customer check-in conversation. You need only to ask! In the same way that you head off complaints, asking specific questions about features, use cases, and outcomes can lead to valuable customer insights.

4. Prompt Shares and Referrals

Once you’ve identified a happy customer with a check-in communication and started a conversation with them, you’re in an excellent position to get social shares, reviews, or referrals to their friends. You've been buttering them up with open communications (for weeks now hopefully) so gently asking them to share the love is far more likely to succeed. What's even better, if you have some sort of referral bonus / offer on the table you are still offering value for their actions, not just grasping for exposure.

5. Gauge Demand for New Products

As you start more and more conversations with customers, you’ll begin noticing those who are the most attuned with your brand, products, and ideal audience. You’re now in a position to sample this group and ask for feedback on products, services, or site changes that have yet to be released.

6. An Opportunity to be Informal

One of the biggest points that I've left out is that these marketing communications can be far less formal. It helps to think about them in terms of a goal or resulting action, but they don't have to be driven by big data, conventional tactics, or rigid consistency standards. It's more about working to engage your audience often.

The most valuable members of you target market are your customers (literally, they are the ones that have paid the bills). It's easy to forget that they are, in fact, a part of your company and not some "converted segment" that can be ignored.

Sometimes, in chasing our next customers, we don’t give this segment the attention they need (and deserve). This can inadvertently reduce their goodwill and excitement towards your brand and reduce the value of that relationship.

Why Following Up Can be Difficult

You've got a list of customers somewhere, right? If you are like most ecommerce businesses, you keep customers, their purchases, and their relevant information in a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM).

Most CRM’s are "dumb" databases that basically just accept data and allow you to access it when you need it. The primary issue is that it's all based on you knowing exactly what type of engagement you are looking to do and when to do it. So you want to stay on top of your check-ins and social engagement but need an alternate solution for managing these alerts.

Making Check-Ins Easy

By now, I hope to have demonstrated the power of the check-in. The part of the equation that's missing is how you can make this a priority without spending hours managing these personalized interactions.

We believe so strongly in the power of this kind of customer engagement, that we built a personalized "Check-In" feature into our Retailer CRM platform Lumiary.

Lumiary not only dynamically brings in all your customer data from your ecommerce store, email provider, Google Analytics and point of sale system, but gives you reminders to reach out and thank or check-in with your customers every week. We also provide recommendations for other types of engagement like for lapsed customers or for ones who’ve viewed and carted specific products.

Learn More about Lumiary

"Check-In" with Lumiary and visit their profile to learn more about their awesome customer engagement features in their powerful Retailer CRM.

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