Customers, Abandonment & Lifelong Love
In today's session I help a lonely little sausage who misses their customers desperately.
Selling one off or high ticket items means repeat business isn't always forthcoming for our wounded soul. Or is it?
There's nothing wrong with asking for more business providing you do it in the right way.
The right way being not to immediately call up your recently satisfied customer and ask for more money. Unless they haven't paid you, then fine.
Keeping in touch with your existing customers not only makes it way easier to maintain the relationship but it also makes it way easier to generate repeat business.
How do you achieve this?
I thought you'd never ask. Click below to listen to my latest titbit of advice.
Kenda Macdonald - Marketing Agony Aunt Podcast: Getting Customers that Love you for Life
Welcome to the Marketing Agony Aunt. I’m your Aunty - Kenda Macdonald.
In today’s session, we’ve had a letter in about the struggles of getting customers to come back time and time again, how to educate them about all the products and services you offer, and how to keep a connection - all without annoying them with marketing/ sales emails.
So come on in and take a seat on the couch - grab a drink if you need some fortification - and let’s get agonising.
Now to our letter from the lass just looking for a connection:
Dear Kenda, Ninja extraordinaire,
My customers keep forgetting about me! 😥 emoji, cry emoji
Here’s the deal. We sell and install great products. Which means they last a long time. And we often don’t hear from customers for YEARS until something goes wrong.
There is ongoing maintenance and consumables (eg. chemicals) associated with most of these products. But after the sale, our customers forget about us and seem buy online where it’s cheaper and more convenient.
- How do we keep a connection with our customers?
- How do we remind them that we are here for all their needs, not just when they need someone trusty to help with a breakdown.
- How do we do this without annoying them?
We want to share the highs with them. Not just help with the lows.
All my love.
A lass just looking for connection.
Thank you so much for writing in lass!
Well, this is a chunky problem. So I’ve gone and got myself a lovely gin to sip while we tease this one out. It’s a gorgeous Dorset Dry Gin called Conker Spirit.
The marketing on the bottle is awesome too, I’m such a consumer whore… It says “That’s the spirit” And “Conkering since 2014” - but like a conker! Totally got me. And just so you know - I’m not sponsored by Gin companies! I wish - I’m sure we could make it happen…
Any Gin peeps out there… hit me up!
Right! Onto our chunky problem from our lass looking for a connection.
So for all the questions you have asked, there is one main contributing factor. Lack of customer journey. Now, here’s how I came to that conclusion:
One: you’re struggling with top of mind with your consumers. They’re not turning to you for EVERYTHING they need within your speciality.
Two: Your customer lifetime value is low, as they are making a large purchase, and then not returning for some time. And three: you’re worried about annoying them.
If you had a GOOD plan and customer journey in place, all three of these would be a non-issue.
Before we dig down into the problems and how to solve them, let me just reassure you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS.
I see this problem all the time in our line of work, so much time and focus is spent around getting leads in, getting the right content out, getting the right ads and lead magnets together etc, and then getting those leads to convert, and then you’re like, phew - customer! Job done! Who’s next?
And you run all the way back to the beginning again and work on getting the next lot of leads in.
That customer is all like, wait… I thought we were going to be friends, and you just breezed out of there. You used them for their sale. Don’t be a user.
Your job is far from done when a sale is made. Because now you’re at the point where you can be seriously profitable - and everyone wants that right?
And of course, this is not helped by consultants that go into companies and set up the all the cool lead gen stuff, when really - the money is in your existing customer base.
Here’s why I say this: according to Bain and Co. across most industries, customer retention explained more profit than ANY other factor. Which makes sense.
But how much sense only becomes clear when you really begin to crunch the stats. There is the oft-quoted stat that it costs 5 to 7 times more money to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, but I can’t find any good data backing that up…
But we do all know that building a new relationship is MUCH harder than developing on an existing one, and the data does back that up: The probability of selling to existing customers is 60 to 70%, compared with 5 to 20% for a new prospect (Marketing Metrics).
That stat is very cool and makes total sense, but here is my favourite one: Lowering your customer churn rate by 5% can increase your profitability by 25-125%. (Bain and Co.) Just keeping 5% more of your customers could double your profitability.
Like holy shit right? But you already know some of this… and that’s why you’re writing in for help with it. So at the risk of outstatting you, here is the one that I really feel is going to float your boat - the average repeat customer spends 67% more in their 31st to 36th months of their relationship with a business than in months 0-6. (Bain and Co.)
That right there is what we want to get you to.
In order to do this, we need to get you out of the habit of separating out your prospects and your customers when it comes to content/ value add.
The first issue you raised was that people tend to go quiet up until the point that something goes wrong, that they forget you exist. And then secondarily, that they go off and buy products at more convenient places - ie online.
Here’s how you overcome that. When your customers have *just* purchased something, they go through a second research point. That research point is almost as big as the initial fact find that they set out on when they decide they are going to buy something.
And that research point is all about how to best use the thing they have just bought. This is the perfect opportunity to wow them with amazing on-boarding content.
And not just the facts, you need to show them how to get the best experience out of using their product.
At the risk of giving the game away as to who you are, dear lass, say you’re selling hot tubs. At the point of purchase, install, and the first usage - you have a MASSIVE research point.
People are now like, oh… what do I do now? This is where a good company would provide awesome content as to aftercare etc. But you can go well beyond that.
Find out what they care about - and engage them that way. If it’s entertaining, what are the best ways to decorate a hot tub?
How do you host the best outdoor dinner party with a hot tub?
How do you make sure that the hot tub is as inviting as possible for guests?
If it’s family and kids, what are the best family-friendly ways to make more use of their hot tub?
How do you make sure your tub is as clean as possible for kids?
What hot tub friendly toys are out on the market? If it’s exercise… and so on.
Then of course. Work out how you will take the information for what is of value to them, and work it into their customer journey.
In order for people to get the best use of their product, they need to do x, y, z. They need to drain the whole tub once every 3 months, they need to balance the water x times per y.
Use marketing automation to help you remind them to do that. Pop them a message that says, it’s been 90 days, time to clean up! Here’s how you do that, and here’s a discount on x product to help.
Call them, “hey Mr Tub, our system has just told us that today you’ve had your hot tub for x amount of time, have you drained it yet?”
You can review all the cleaning products, and let them know why you suggest one over the other.
All the same value-add and relationship building strategies that apply to getting them as a customer in the first place, apply to keeping them.
And when they get to certain points, because you’re sending them so much valuable content, they won’t mind the occasional sales email at all.
This is how you become the go-to for all the things in your industry, how you build the connection and show you care.
Bundle your products up, offer a monthly chemical product bundle to be sent to them in time for their other lot running out so they don’t have to go somewhere convenient.
Be more convenient, more helpful, and more knowledgeable than anyone else in your space.
And of course, make sure you track all the data too. Here's a question for you. Do you know your Customer Lifetime Value? If you didn't immediately shout yes, we got some work to do 🙂
Here’s how you work that out:
Customer revenue over x period of time they will stay with you, minus the costs of acquiring and serving the customer = CLV
Work out what your current one is, and then what it could be if a % of people took a chemical bundle, maintenance package, and all the other little things you offer. And then compare and contrast them.
You’ll be super surprised. It’s more than you think and well worth the effort you need to put in to continue educating them over their lifetime.
That’s the basics, then you can adapt and change as necessary for multiple purchases, behaviour patterns, engagement etc.
I could go on about the importance of this, and strategies to make it happen forever, but with all that covered - let’s summarise and write back to our lovely lass:
Dear Lass looking for a connection,
What a big, heavy problem you’re dealing with. Thank you for writing in with your concerns about your connections.
When you’re struggling to create connections, and you’re feeling lost and forgotten - you can feel taken for granted.
This, of course, leads to animosity and resentment for your customers, which will only serve to alienate you more - so we need to get this solved quickly. Let’s get that weight lifted.
Your main concerns are that your customers forget you exist, they don’t come back to you for repeat sales, and that you feel like you’ve lost the connection with them.
You’re also worried about annoying them if you get in contact about your services.
This is a tough place to be, but fortunately, you already have all the tools you need to get yourself connected.
As a starting point, you need to change your mindset when it comes to follow up. Your customers want to hear from you, they want to know what it is they should be doing with their products.
Identify what it is they care about, and add value to them by combing that with how they can best use their product.
All the same strategies and tactics that you used to get them as a customer apply to keeping them for the long term.
If you continually provide value you will always be welcome in their inbox. Work to being more convenient, more helpful, and more knowledgeable than anyone else in your space.
Combine this with a good customer journey, and help your consumers to utilise their products. You can also bundle some of your products and services together to help be more convenient for them.
I prescribe that you work out what their customer journey is, and where they could do with more of your products and services. Contact them at these points, and be as useful as possible. Around this continue to provide valuable information and content on the things they care about.
If you do this, you will never annoy your customers.
And finally ensure you know what your existing CLV is, and where you’d like to get it to, so that you’re always working towards a strong goal.
I hope you are feeling enlightened, invigorated, and excited about your connections again.
Your Marketing Agony Aunt
What a great chunky letter from our lovely lass! And customer life time value being my favourite metric too! - much agonising in there. Thank you lass.