The best way to turn leads into clients and turn clients into lifetime customers is through relationships. It's a no brainer, but it's much easier said than done.
Imagine there are two coffee shops right next to each other with equally good coffee. Coffee Shop A has friendly enough staff with pretty good customer service. But the baristas at Coffee Shop B know you by name, remember your order, and always have a bit of conversation with you while they make your order. Whenever you leave with your coffee, you feel as though you've done something more than just pick up your morning coffee. You've had an experience.
Which coffee shop are you going to go to each morning? B, right?
Chances are that you are already trying to build relationships like these with your leads and clients. And no matter how successful you are, it's time consuming and draining.
You have to send emails, make phone calls, wish your clients happy birthday, and stay in touch with them on a regular basis. This is all important, but it's not scalable––as your business grows, this relationship-building takes up more and more of your time, eventually so much of your time that it drags you down.
So how do you effectively build and maintain relationships without it turning into a time drain?
Automated communications and marketing campaigns are nothing new––in fact, they've been around for years. But that's not cutting it anymore. As marketing automation grows, generic emails to your contact list aren't compelling enough to make your leads and clients take action.
Instead, when automating your communications, you have to speak directly to them, and this doesn't mean just addressing them by name. Speak directly to their interests, their struggles, and their desires. Don't just tell a coffee shop about a promotion you're running––tell them how this promotion will help them sell more coffee and increase their sales.
When you speak directly to your leads and clients, you build those relationships that'll grow your business. And when you automate them, you can do it without it turning into a massive time commitment.
What does this look like?
Take Netflix and Amazon, for example––two of the most easily recognizable company names in the United States. Both are massively successful, and they share a key approach to increasing sales: their recommendations.
When you log onto Amazon or Netflix, you’ve probably been blown away at how accurately Amazon can anticipate what you’re going to buy and Netflix can suggest something new for you to watch. As you’ve probably guessed, there’s no one person handpicking suggestions for you over at Netflix Headquarters. Instead, there’s a team of marketers and programmers developing complex algorithms to figure out what you want––before you even know you want it.
This is an extreme example of marketing automation, much more complex than any average small business owner needs. But it’s worth taking a look at a couple of aspect of it to examine the core of what they’re doing––and why it works:
They know what you like
Whether it’s by analyzing what products you’ve purchased or what TV shows you’ve watched, they use your previous behavior to learn more about you and your interests. This can translate to your business not only by tracking what products and services your clients purchase but also by paying attention to what links they click in your emails or what they’ve indicated they’re interested in. When you know what your leads’ and clients’ interests are, you can tailor your communications to specifically address those same interests.
They take a chance
If Netflix suggests 10 TV shows that you might like, chances are that one or two of them are complete outliers––shows you have absolutely no interest in and that seem completely left-field. The strategy is worth paying attention to, though, because what they’re doing is taking into account your interests and providing you with options that are different than what you’ve watched previously, but very loosely related. They know that if you only ever watch The Office, that once you finish that series, you might unsubscribe from Netflix. So they do everything they can to get you to watch different types of content; the more content you watch, the longer you’re likely to be a subscriber. You can translate this into your business by suggesting new and different products and services that you think they might be interested in.
Imagine that you’re a baker and you supply a local coffee shop (maybe Coffee Shop B) with freshly baked muffins each week. In your monthly check-in with the shop, consider offering to supply quiche as well. Muffins are standard fare for a coffee shop, but quiche is a little bit less common, so talk to the owner about how it’s a logical next step because it would bring in hungry customers through lunchtime each day.
As you’re connecting with leads and clients on a daily basis, consider how you might automate that connection without sacrificing the human touch. Whether you get an automatically generated reminder to call a client, or your CRM system sends an email for you, try delving into the world of automating your business.