The Importance of Following Up

Updated: February 4, 2020

How to Stand Out by Following Up with Your Customers

While we believe that small businesses can be inbound marketing superstars, a common complaint we hear is that it’s hard to target customers when competitors have larger budgets and a bigger team.

This is a prime example of working smarter and harder. Effectively following up with existing customers may take time, but it builds stronger relationships, which drives more revenue.

But, staying competitive against your bigger rivals with greater resources requires some creativity. Thankfully, you’re on the right (web) page. Let’s start with the value of consistent communication.

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Inbound Marketing Requires Consistent Communication

Great results don’t come after one interaction with a customer. Company growth and increased purchases require consistent effort over time, and this occurs in two ways.

First, through your “owned” spaces like email. Regular email newsletters that share relevant information for your customers can keep you top of mind while also providing value.

Second, consistent communication can happen on social media. While not all customers will be following you, it’s still a viable way to help your customers remain aware of you between purchases. Post three to five times per week using a mix of photos relevant to your industry and product or service, and be sure to respond to commenters! Use these posts to drive traffic to your website to continue their education and your appreciation.

One of the ways to use this consistent communication is to remember your ABAs.

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Always Be Appreciating: Inbound Marketing Edition

You wouldn’t be here without your customers. It’s time to show your appreciation! Instead of “ABC”, or “Always Be Closing”, make it “ABA”, or always be “Always Be Appreciating”. When people feel appreciated, they’re more likely to engage. And engaged customers make more purchases.

Show your appreciation with a thank you email with any purchase, and consider hosting customer appreciation days with special offers. The caveat, though, is that this has to be genuine. If customers smell insincerity, they’re going to head to your competitor.

Once those customers leave, you’re going to have to fill those gaps with new ones. And that can get expensive, because it’s cheaper to re-sell to a current customer than to bring in a new one.  This is why following up is so essential for all companies.

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Transactions Aren’t Complete Without a Follow Up

So, if maintaining relationships with current customers will save you time and money, how do you do it? There are three ways.

The first way is to personally call customers to check in and see how they’re doing. This works for both service and product-based companies. Be sure to ask if they were satisfied, what they think you could have done better, and end by thanking them for choosing you.

Even as a small business, you can make this an efficient process. Set aside time for yourself or a member of your team to spend 15 minutes a day on calling customers. If they don’t answer, send a brief email checking in on how they’re doing and thanking them.

The second method is sending automated emails based on the length of time since their purchase. This saves you time while maintaining a personal touch. Thank them for their support, and ask how they’re enjoying the product or service. Then, add a call-to-action for related products or services at the end.

This needs to be small, but cross-selling your products can help introduce your customers to new products they ordinarily wouldn’t have discovered.

The third way is the most time intensive, but it makes the biggest impact. Sending a handwritten note is an effective way to thank your customers and stay top of mind because they’re a rarity today. You’ll stand out from the noise.

Janie Montague, a follow-up expert, explains, “A physical card, and possibly a gift, shows your appreciation.” This technique can help build stronger relationships with your customers so they continue to purchase your products or services.

Following up is more than sending a few communications and assuming that your customers will remember you when it’s time to repurchase. Effective, thoughtful follow-ups not only help you remain top of mind, but also helps you better understand your customers’ needs, preferences, and wishes regarding your product or service.

Make following up a priority for your company by bringing on a marketing partner who can shape your social media and email marketing strategies to fit your needs—and your customers’. Send us a message or give us a call at (415) 640-8009 to get started.

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By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.

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