Author and Director of Heart of business Jackie Jarvis shares a sample of one of the Quick Wins from her new book. Published by Little and Brown, Quick Wins in Sales and Marketing
This is the book that every business owner should have on their desk to inspire ways to get MORE leads and win MORE clients.
It is easy to read, full of examples from business owners just like you, who have made these ideas come alive and work for them.
Quick Win No. 24 – Keep in Touch
“If you care enough, you keep in touch”
In order to keep any relationship alive, you need to keep in touch. We all have so many different business relationships, that if you don’t physically see or talk to someone regularly it can be easy to lose the connection.
You may meet some potential Alliance Partners who could be great to work with, but if you see them once and then don’t keep in touch in some way, you disappear from each other’s radar. This means that when an opportunity comes up to work together you will probably be forgotten.
It is the same with any potential networking contacts you meet there may not have been a need at the time to do business with you, but 5 years later on a need may have arisen, and if you have not been in touch, it will be unlikely that you will be contacted.
There are so many different ways you can keep in touch with your colleagues, alliances, customers, and friends these days that it should be relatively easy to keep those channels of communication open. All you need to do is to put the system in place and then work that system.
To keep in touch you can use:
• Social media – Facebook and LinkedIn
• A regular customer bulletin or newsletter
• Free tips and information that could be valuable
• A friendly email
• A call occasionally
• A referral
• A coffee – lunch – or invite to a special event
Keeping in touch, however you go about it, reminds your contacts that you care about their interests and needs.
What system do you have in place to keep in touch with your important relationship?
It does take time and focus to keep in touch with people and to do it with care. It is time well spent if the relationships are worth keeping in touch with.
The starting point is to have a plan and then create some systems around that to enable you and your team to implement a number of ‘touches’ that both maintain and build your relationships.
Your plan may include:
A Communication Calendar
A Communication Calendar is your plan for all the individual touches you plan to make over the course of any twelve-month period. It is a complete schedule of events and activities. It could be through email, social media, blogs, newsletters, information updates, telephone calls, social events, free talks, direct mail promotions, or website links.
You require a calendar which offers exactly the right amount of touches. Your customers will not want to be bombarded with information.
Each part of your plan should ultimately fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Each element can support and link to each other.
Your newsletter or bulletin can be used to deliver useful information as well as promote an aspect of your business that your customer will find of value.
The promotion that you choose can them be linked to your website and links provided in the newsletter to encourage traffic.
Telephone calls to update customer records can be linked to invitations to events or customer needs reviews.
Direct mail and email updates can be run concurrently enabling one to support the other.
Creating a newsletter
A newsletter is something that you produce and distribute to your customers usually once a month. Newsletters can be distributed electronically using a system like ‘Mail Chimp’ or in a traditional hard copy format by post.
Newsletters are one of the most powerful tools for keeping your name uppermost with your contacts, customers and colleagues.
It is an easy way to reach a large number of people. I won a number of clients after 5 years’ of receiving my Sales & Marketing tips and ideas, who all felt that they still knew me and had a relationship with me.
What makes a newsletter work?
This will give it an identity and brand of its own and will become memorable to the receivers. The name needs to convey value to the receiver.
Content can be made up of news, answers to questions, ideas, tips, Case Studies, articles, recommendations, updates, and anything that has perceived value which your customers will look forward to receiving.
The right length
Most people will tell you that they suffer from information overload, so consider how you can make your newsletter both interesting and easy to read.
Headlines with snappy titles and ‘Read More’ links are more powerful than reams of copy.
People will read what they are interested in, so make your newsletter relevant to your audience.
A well-planned and delivered social media strategy has numerous touch points, but it can be time-consuming and you do need to know what you are doing for it to work well.
I would advise focusing on the social media channel that is most likely to be viewed by your target audience. LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with your business to business contacts, whilst Facebook and Twitter tend to demand daily attention and work better for consumer-led products or services.
If you are going to do this yourself do get some expert training so that you know how to set your profiles up correctly and can use the vast array of free tools available.
The other option is to outsource your social media delivery to an expert who manages and delivers it for you, or to recruit a marketing assistant. For many busy business owners this may be the preferred option.
Having someone in your business who is focused on maintaining and delivering your Communication Calendar is important.
By keeping in touch, I won a new mentoring client who I had first met 5 years ago at a training course. At the time we swapped business cards, and I asked her if she would like to receive my monthly newsletter. She said ‘Yes’, so I entered her onto my newsletter database and connected with her on LinkedIn.
At the time her business was very small and she operated from home. Five years later, her business had expanded significantly, with an office in London and a healthy turnover of nearly half a million pounds. At that stage, she gave me a call as she was looking for a business mentor to help her and her team to move to the next stage.
I got the call because I had stayed in touch and kept the connection. She felt she still knew me, and what I had to offer.
I have many examples like this, where keeping in touch has retained enough of a connection, be it for a business owner I may have met at an event, at a talk I delivered, or whilst networking some years back. By remaining ‘present’, they consider me when they do need some help to grow their business.
I encourage my mentoring clients to create a ‘keep in touch’ strategy, and those that do find that it pays dividends in the long-term.
• Create a Communication Calendar
• Come up with idea for a newsletter or expert tips bulletin
• Explore outsourcing your social media
If you would like a copy of Quick Wins
You can order now from Amazon here