Your 50-cent marketing plan
Ever feel like marketing your business is something you just don’t have the time or money for? Dean Parker welcomes you to the 50-cent marketing plan.
A new customer has just purchased from you. This means your marketing activity has paid off. Pat yourself on the back! It’s even better when they come back for a second or third visit, isn’t it? And how good is it when they refer new customers to you?
Don’t take these people for granted. You need to hold on to and encourage them to keep advocating for you. Here’s where the first phase of my 50-cent marketing plan comes into play.
Pick up the phone and call them. Thank them for giving you their business or referring new clients to you. A phone call shows that you appreciate and have time for your customers, and will help build your relationship with them – it’s also one of the most effective low budget marketing decisions you can make.
We’re human, mistakes happen. The point of difference your business may offer is that it admits to mistakes and then corrects them. If you’ve made an error, take the front foot and use the 50-cent plan. Get on the phone to your customer, admit the mistake and propose a solution.
By nipping the mistake in the bud and talking to your customer to rectify it, you’ll often strengthen your relationship and keep their business.
How would you react if an organisation you dealt with actually rang you, gave you warning of a delay or problem, then worked out how to fix it? You’d be slightly annoyed at the mistake but majorly impressed with the service, honesty and commitment. Making that 50-cent call could save the relationship and lead to additional sales.
Say ‘Hi, I haven’t seen you for a while’
It costs five times more to obtain new customers than it does to retain existing ones. So while attracting new customers is important, it’s worthwhile thinking about your customers in terms of their lifetime value to your business. To calculate this, simply take the average yearly revenue received from them, subtract the costs of servicing their needs, and multiply that by the average length of the customer relationship. For example, if a customer averages $750 per year in purchases from your business, costs you $50 per year in administration fees, and does business with you for 15 years, their lifetime customer value is $10,500.
When customers leave or stop purchasing – and they will – it’s time to implement the 50-cent plan. Pick up the phone and call them. Outlaying 50 cents to try to salvage a lifetime return of $10,495.50 is an investment that you’d be crazy not to make.
Recently I urged one of my clients to implement the 50-cent plan and call those customers who hadn’t used her service during the last six months. She was amazed that many of them came back, and often said the only reason they hadn’t been in touch was that they were too busy to call her. She now says that the 50-cent plan is an easier, less stressful and less expensive process than advertising for new clients.
Say ‘Please don’t go!’
Over the past 25 years, I estimate that I’ve given over $25,000 to my insurance company, but I recently got fed up with them increasing my premium every year. I searched around, found a better deal somewhere else and sent an email to advise that I was switching. In return I received an auto-reply email advising that they’d cancelled my policy. That’s it. No call. No questions. And yet, I see them on TV advertising for new customers almost every night. Wouldn’t it have been better for them to spend 50 cents on me?
Contrast this with the experience of a colleague who cancelled her cable TV subscription. They called her back, asked why she’d cancelled, and offered her a new package that better suited her needs – at half the original subscription rate. She stayed. The 50-cent plan worked a treat.
Do you use the 50-cent marketing plan in your business? Can you think of any additional applications for it?
For more from Dean Parker head to www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's solo and micro business community.
Based in Glen Waverley, Victoria, Dean is a marketing consultant with Four P’s Marketing Solutions.
Four P’s assists small business with all marketing activities including planning, corporate branding, website content, trade shows, advertising and promotional strategies. Dean combines 15 years of marketing experience with a masters of marketing degree to help small and medium business owners maximise their profit. To find out more visit www.fourps.com.au