By Bruce Freeman The Small Business Professor
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Michael F. Sciortino Sr., the founder and CEO of the firm Gratitude Marketing, provides some cost-effective marketing tips for small businesses. Some of the good old fashioned tips include writing thank you notes and reaching out to clients on significant dates like birthdays and anniversaries. The Small Business Professor
Q: I have a small business with a limited marketing budget. What are some cost-effective ways I can build more meaningful, long-term and personal relationships with my clients?
A: Successful small businesses grow in a deliberate and measurable way by first targeting and selecting the clients they want to work with for the long term and then consistently nurturing those relationship.
With the cost of acquiring new customers about seven times higher than what it costs to retain happy, loyal clients, small businesses that focus on nurturing relationships with their existing clients can realize sustainable growth while increasing retention, referrals and revenues.
In the six points below, Michael F. Sciortino Sr., the founder and CEO of the firm Gratitude Marketing, provides cost-effective tips:
-Write three thank-you notes a day. If you want to do more business, start by regularly thanking the people who are already giving you business. I've found that the appetite for a sincere thank-you is unlimited. Let's do the math. If you write three notes a day, five days a week, four weeks a month, you'll wind up producing 60 thank-you notes each month and 720 notes over the course of a year. Imagine the ripple effect on your business. You never know when a few kind, sincere words will impact a life.
-Call your clients on their significant dates like birthdays and anniversaries. While gratitude is often unexpected, it is always welcomed. Each call deepens your relationship and enhances your customer experience. Make it personal. Every client is unique.
-Make it a daily habit to be prepared to listen and listen to be prepared. People do business with those who take a sincere interest in them and listen to what they are saying they want and need. Clients who feel like they're being listened to feel accepted and appreciated. They feel like they're being taken seriously and that what they say matters.
-Cultivate and refine your referral system. This is one of the most efficient and cost-effective marketing strategies to attract and retain high-quality clients. If you provide the most relevant and timely service to your clients, receiving a regular stream of referrals is an extra side benefit.
-Show up in a big way. Oversized postcards produce terrific results. Send out the largest one the post office allows. Every Door Direct Mail allows your business to target specific geographic areas.
-Focus and keep doing what is working. Sounds basic, doesn't it? Yet small businesses often get bored with what works long before their audience does. Stick to what you have planned on your marketing calendar and just execute.
The key is consistent implementation. This, combined with consistency of your marketing message, breeds comfort and familiarity for your clients and prospects. In the end, it's the personal, memorable experiences you create for your clients and prospects that they remember. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of "Birthing the Elephant" (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications.