Good Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a nice-to-have. In fact, companies who want to grow MUST practice good Corporate Social Responsibility, aka, CSR. Those brands who don’t face losing sales.
Driven by millennials who prefer to do business with brands who have ethical and sustainable business standards, the recipe for sales and marketing success changed dramatically. So now, all generations have an increased expectation that companies who want to earn their business must practice sustainability. Is your brand adapting, or dying?
According to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).” Because of these factors, companies not yet engaging in good corporate social responsibility are losing sales.
Practicing Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Great for Business
“The whole corporate social responsibility ideal is trying to graft something onto the old profit maximization model. Now more than ever, we need is a transformation [in] the way we think about business, what it’s based on. People want businesses to do good in the world. It’s that simple…. We now need a deeper, fundamental reform in the essence of business.”
So, traditional advertising won’t work with Millennials. Conveying CSR efforts to Millennials requires authenticity, and a unique approach. Since Millennials grew up with the Internet, they want their voices heard. And they expect a two-way, open dialogue with companies and their brands.
Millennials and many of the customers from other generations want to buy from companies who give back. As a result, brands who want to attract more customers and keep existing ones need to have a good corporate social responsibility program.
Question: What is the source of highest profit sales? Most likely, it’s your current and past customers. Next question: What is your customer retention process?
You’ve already attracted these customers to your brand, built the know, like and trust factor and earned a purchase from them. You successfully converted a lead to a paying customer. And it cost you money to do that. Maybe a lot of money. How much less expensive is it to keep good customers than acquire new ones?
Download the free Lifetime Total Customer Value calculator soyou can get the maximum ROI from each customers this month.
In an article posted on Entreprenuer.com, Eric Sui said, “According to Bain & Company, it costs 7X more to attract new customers than it does to keep them. Additionally, if you retain just 5% of your customers annually, you can generate up to 125 percent more profits. Retention strategies truly pay off in the long run and help you build a sound business over time.”
I’ve outlined 13 keys you must have for your customer retention funnel to be effective so you can score more sales.
1. Make retention a top priority.
Prioritize the highest ROI activity your company does, which is most likely customer retention.
2. Measure life time value of customers.
Determine the life time value (LTV) of your average customers. The additional purchases, upgrades, replacements and referrals they send to you add up to a much bigger dollar amount than just the first purchase they make. Download this free LTV calculator here.
3. Provide amazing customer service
Have you noticed that even the cable companies want to “delight customers”? They finally get the importance of keeping current customers happy because it’s way less expensive to keep customers than to acquire new ones.
4. After the sale nurturing
Create a system for following up after the sale at regular intervals. Depending on your business, that may be a week after the sale or a month. Pay attention to how your customers are engaging with your brand, it’s product and services. Respond quickly to customers. Always. A good customer retention funnel has as process that everyone who touches the customers uses to continue nurturing the relationship after the sale. Continue delivering high value content and service and you’ll score more sales.
5. Budget for customer retention marketing
Since the ROI on keeping customers is so much higher than on acquiring new ones, it makes sense to assign some budget to marketing efforts aimed at retention.
Without a good CRM, your customers may be on the business end of an ill-timed phone call from an inside sales rep pitching an upsell, when that customer is currently threatening to leave if a dire problem isn’t solved. Not a good customer retention play.
Since the beginning of CRM time, having a 360 degree view of the customer so that companies could avoid this type of mistake has been the goal. You can’t manage an effective customer retention funnel without a good CRM.
7. Communicate frequently
Your customers want to feel valuable after they’ve spent money with you. Communicate with them frequently to show you care. Birthday greetings, holiday messages, news and updates are great ways to show them you care. Remember to only email customers who have opted into your email list.
8. Engage on social media
Social media is the equal opportunity soap box everyone can use to rave or complain about their experiences with a company. Monitor social media and quickly respond to any complaint. Also, quickly thank customers who sing your praises. You can also use social media to ask your customers about what’s important to them and nurture relationships.
9. Convert complaints into opportunities
Everyone remembers the companies that handle their complaints with such concern for making the situation gone wrong into an experience that feels right. It’s interesting that what’s memorable is how great it felt to the customer that the brand went above and beyond to solve the problem, and not what went wrong in the first place. Be a hero to your customers when they complain and watch that same customer become your advocate.
10. Create a customer loyalty program
Rewarding customers for their patronage is a great way to develop their loyalty. Provide added value, special promos or offers that your customers want. The rewards need to be easy to earn and redeem. Keep things simple. Score more sales by rewarding your current customers and nurturing them to send referrals.
11. Host an event
Show your customer appreciation by hosting an event. An open house, after hours event or guest lectures can provide powerful incentives for your customers to spend more time with your company. Having fun and feeling valued has a way of bonding people tighter together. Events work whether they are virtual, like a podcast or live, like an open office social gathering.
12. Corporate social responsibility
Many customers choose to buy from brands that give back over brands that don’t. If your company already has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, share progress and successes with your customers. If not, get one. Select a cause that is consistent with your brand and aligns with your customers’ values and interests.
13. Upsell and resell
Since you’re paying attention to how your customers are using the products or services they purchased from your company, you’ll know what’s important to them. When the time is right, offer and upgrade or replacement product that has high value and will help your customer achieve their goals.
Email marketing with calls to action and free demos or trials, just like regular marketing campaigns. Incent the customer to try new add ons, upgrades and eventually replacement purchases, in some industries.
Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to follow-up and convert those new contacts into customers produce the gold.
Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer? Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too.
If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.
Follow-up is SO valuable for converting sales
Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email.
Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. So, it’s not surprising that follow-up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. For example, comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. This is more good evidence of your effective listening skills and which creates the know, like and trust factors
Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. So, if your follow-up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Because appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. And that is more know like and trust development:-)
Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss.
Ready for more ideas on how to use follow-up to close more sales?
Need more customers? Download free! “From Cold to Sold”, the ebook with 17 secrets for getting more customers.
Subject lines determine whether people click of don’t, so they matter. A lot! I recently created an email campaign for one of my clients and we saw very strong open rates, which has everything to do with great subject lines and brand name recognition. For this particular campaign, we were inviting the recipients to an event. Our most effective subject line was:
You’re invited! [Company Name] [Event]
Subject Line Determines Email Open Rates
It’s pretty important to find the optimal subject lines. Who cares how brilliant your email is if no one ever sees it? Test, test and test. Try different subject lines and track open rate performance. It’s almost shocking what a difference the subject line makes!
Some good subject line formulas:
Your Guide to [Industry-Related Topic]
How To Get the Most Out of [Product/Service]
5 Tips to Extend the Life of Your [Product/Service]
Another technique that motivates readers to open emails is calling out the hot industry topics. Of course, any good marketer is creating content that address the issues that are top of mind for their prospects, so including those terms in the subject line should be automatic.
Read more on how to improve your open rates immediately with this post from Amelia Showalter, on CXL. Once you’ve figured out the formula for fabulous subject lines, you may be interested in learning more about writing wonderful emails. Check out this post “Anatomy of an Awful Email” for a guide on what not to do.
Oh, and don’t forget to optimize the emails and landing pages for mobile. With mobile device use continuing to rise, demand generation efforts need to be responsive as well. You know the numbers: According to a Google Survey, 61% of site visitors using mobile device are likely to leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. With a third or more emails being opened on tablets and smart phones, marketers can’t afford to not optimize.
It’s not too late to get in on using Instagram to promote your business. There’s been lots of buzz about this fast growing social media platform and there’s still time to take advantage of all the good Instagram can do for grow your business.
Some companies have already done well with it, but it is my opinion is that Instagram has more big growth waves coming.
Use these Instagram tips to bring major growth to your business
Some techniques may #surprise you. Thought hashtags were so 2012? They’re back!
Max Woolf studied 120,000 photos and likes on Instagram and discovered that using more hashtags actually does correlate to more reach and likes. So, spamming is good?!?! Well, not exactly. Spamming isn’t considerate of others and tends to annoy people. But using many hashtags that are closely related to your post on Instagram is worthwhile. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags and it’s unclear how many is too many. My advice? Test what works best for your business and use keywords efficiently and liberally. Since long tail keywords tend to be the best, try a few of those first.
#2 Identify Instagram Influencers
In her post “How to Promote Your Business on Instagram“, Danielle Prager talks about collaborating with social media influencers. “As a small business, you should actively research which Instagram influencers are a great fit for your products. Chances are, their followers have the same interests and are potential customers”, Danielle says.
#3 Collaborate with Influencers
Have some fun brainstorming about partnership and collaboration ideas. Are there influencers who could benefit from your service or product? Could the followers of those influencers benefit from what you offer? If not, there may still be a way to nurture a relationship with them. You may be creating content for your own marketing that could be very useful to a potential social media partner.
For example, I have a client who films weddings and is looking to build his referral business with venues and event planners. These businesses want to show the world how beautiful their events are. Since many of them have a lot of followers on social channels, my client upped his social media game to increase his brand recognition.
Because he is one of the first certified videographers in his area to use a drone to shoot aerial footage, he is promoting this market differentiator across Instagram. Also, he noticed that very few venues and almost no planners have any video of their events on their websites or social accounts and even fewer have aerial video.
Recognizing a great opportunity when he saw one, this videographer uses drone footage he already had to help his potential referral partners so that they could market their businesses. As a result, they are blown away by the gorgeous video they have to use on Instagram and Facebook. Also, they are extremely appreciative of the wedding filmer’s generous gift. Relationship nurturing is easy when we help others achieve their goals.
#4 Share Marketing Content
He has a library of stunning drone video from several weddings at a wide variety of venues. We created a business development program for him to reach out to these prospective partners and offer to provide them with this gorgeous aerial video to share across social channels and websites. It gives them a beautiful piece of marketing and sales content to share, it nurtures the relationship for my client and it cost him nothing. This is all goodness for his brand. Helping his customers grow their digital presence increases the value of his relationship to his customers and prospective customers.
#5 Use Apps to Simplify Posts
Who’s got time to schedule posts on a bunch of different apps? Instagram doesn’t play as well with social media scheduling tools. Grum is a fun app that allows scheduling Instagram posts from a desktop. About time! I like how Grum makes it easier to manage followers and following. Plus, the app provides an easy way to deliver scripted direct messages to new followers. Grum has a cute little messaging like interface.
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In the era of customer experience is king, successful relationship building is key. Some people are naturally gifted in this art and some are not. We are all different, which is what makes the world an interesting place.
So, if you don’t already have relationship building skills honed to a fine point, there’s no reason to feel badly about yourself. We can’t all be ace at everything. (For example, don’t ask me to file your taxes. Orange is definitely not my best color and I doubt it’s yours).
If you find that pleasing others interferes with your own happiness or success, you’re not alone. Many of us have a tendency to be people pleasers. And it doesn’t have to be a permanent condition:-) I’m a reforming pleaser and discovered steps that help me experience more joy and peace by reprioritizing my thoughts and actions. I share these steps in my ebook “Stop Pleasing Others and Get More Joy in Life” and invite you to download a free copy. Click the link below to get your free ebook:
Here are 3 simple and impactful steps I use to nurture relationships. Try them out and let me know how they work for you.
Be intensely curious about people. Ask a lot of questions about them. For example:
How do enjoy life when you’re not working?
What projects are you working on right now?
How do you define success for yourself and your business?
What challenges are you dealing with?
What do you enjoy most and least about your work?
Since people love to talk about themselves, this is easier than you might think. Their answers will give you insight to what they care about and the problems you (or someone you know) may be able to help them solve. Showing an interest in someone is the ideal first step to great relationship building.
Have you ever tried the experiment of listening more than you talk in a conversation? If you have, did the person you were “talking” with say, “You are so easy to talk to”? If you haven’t, try it out sometime. The results can be a fascinating illustration of how much people love feeling heard.
Because people enjoy focusing on themselves (and that’s not a bad thing) it’s naturally a good thing to let them share ideas and insights with you. It’s a human thing to connect, share, listen and feel heard. When you’re building relationships with humans, understanding this quality is invaluable. We are wired to connect and share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences with people.
Now that you have established some rapport and discovered what your contact values, the most important step is to follow-up with them. Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship. Call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. I also suggest mentioning something specific they talked about.
Also ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.
The magic of successful relationship building is to continue nurturing.
Now you have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship. Use social media to develop your new relationships by liking, reposting and making comments (positive and insightful, never negative). I suggest doing this within the first week, and then at least every couple of weeks after that.
Finally, since nurturing a relationship takes time, stay in touch with your new contact by email or text regularly. You don’t want to stalk your new contact, but you do want to stay in touch. so I suggest checking in with them every month or so.
Referrals are awesome! You know you’ve done a good job nurturing business relationships when your referral rate goes up by 400%! That’s what one business coaching client saw as a result of the marketing and social media efforts. Watch the video below to see how we did it!
Hint: We didn’t have a marketing budget or dedicated marketing person. I worked with my client to create a plan that HE could implement and feel GOOD about. At first, he was worried he would dread contacting colleagues in his industry to network. He thought, “Ugh, I hate calling people to ASK them for something.” We needed a plan my for building up referrals that my client could enjoy. Sound familiar? I knew the secret to his success would be making this process easy…and maybe even fun.
I’m serious. Connecting with other people in your field can and should be fun. Referrals are so crucial to the success of most entrepreneurs and yet, I find many business owners avoid networking like the plague.
Social media can be a great way to expand your network. It can also be a tremendous way to waste precious time, so learning how to use social platforms efficiently is the key to success. In my recent post, “The 1 Thing to Do on Social Media Today”, I outline how to focus your content on the highest value you can deliver to your prospect.
LinkedIn offers very powerful tools for finding new potential referral partners and prospects. The advanced sear tool is incredible – but using it can be overwhelming. To unlock how to use LinkedIn’s search tool to find more referral partners and leads, click here.
Do you have some techniques that work really well to grow referral networks? Share them below in your comments.