I'm meeting with a coaching client and he tells me he doesn't have any system setup for regular communication with his customers. He's just waiting for them to contact him and occasionally posting pictures of his work on social media.
He doesn't have an email list.
He doesn't even have a phone list.
But he needs to grow his business.
I told him if he isn't engaging in regular communication with customers, he's leaving money on the table. And that's not good for his business — or yours.
I know. Some of you are afraid that if you start an email list, people will unsubscribe when you start actually sending them email.
Get over it. This will happen. It's nothing to worry about.
This is what will actually happen:
- They unsubscribe. Again, this happens all the time and isn't anything to fret about.
- They read your email and realize how cool you are, so they keep reading your emails.
- They read your email and realize you're products or services are the answer to their prayers so they buy what you're offering.
So what's stopping you from reaching out?
Maybe you don't know what to say.
That's where you do your research. But what does research look like?
Join online communities where your customers hang out and read what they're posting about your industry. Maybe you're starting an educational publish company for math teachers, so join the online Facebook groups and forums related to your professional organizations. See what teachers are asking for help with or what resources they are seeking. Then work on developing those lesson plans, units, or professional development opportunities.
Find a few customers locally and ask them what they need that you're offering. Perhaps you offer card classes. Your customers might be looking to learn specific techniques or how to use a newly released card-making product. Setup those services and then let the rest of your customers know what you're doing.
Check out your competitors to see what they're doing. Maybe they're offering advice on which candles are the best to purchase for the holiday season. Or maybe they're writing to their customers about how to prepare their yards for the winter. Or maybe they're offering lesson plans to help students engage in the writing process in the three weeks before the holiday break. Take notes, look at how you can make a better offer (Note, I did not say cheaper. I said BETTER.), and then message your customers!
Develop a system to maintain regular communication with customers
One of the most effective ways to maintain regular communication with customers is through email. Of course, this will vary depending on your market.
Some markets are very internet savvy and have at least one email address they check regularly. Other markets may have a significant number of people with no email or who check it infrequently — but they have cellphones and can receive text messages.
Some people check their social media more often than their email.
Once you know how your ideal customer wants to be contacted, you need to setup your system.
For email, I recommend an online email marketing solution. I've used all of the ones I'm mentioning below, but am favoring ConvertKit.
I use this email marketing software to manage all my mailing lists. I love their subscriber-based approach which means that I only pay once, even if a subscriber is on multiple lists. ConvertKit also has better automation tools than some of the other solutions and includes split-testing of email subject lines. It's easy to use, also. They also have a free version up to 300 subscribers.
I started out using Aweber for my first mailing lists almost two decades ago, but have not worked with them in several years. They've been around forever and have maintained great deliverability. However, unlike ConvertKit, they are more list-centric, which means that if a customer signs up for more than one of your mailing lists, you could end up paying for that person more than once. They also don't allow split testing of subject lines. Aweber has a free version up to 500 subscribers.
I use Mailchimp on a very small list I run and I know several teachers who use it for small projects they manage. I understand why because their email design interface is very easy to use. They also offer more than 100 email templates you can use. However, since I only send plain text emails (with just a logo or images added to in some cases), I don't need fancy templates. MailChimp has a free version for up to 2,000 contacts.