By Sally Glick - So much of the time we define “marketing” as branding and communication activities with a goal of generating quality leads and obtaining new opportunities. We think of the firm’s web site, collateral materials, blogs, programs, sponsorships and networking as tools for attracting prospects. It is a good idea, though, to remember that marketing is equally as important for client retention.
Think about this: who opens mail from you? (Perhaps not a prospective business owner who has never heard of you.) But a client who recognizes the name and the value of an existing relationship with your firm often reads the mail, replies to the e-mail, is likely to attend programs and may refer colleagues. When you send information to a client, you can have a reasonable expectation that it will have an impact. This is not always the case with direct mail campaigns to a list of purchased unknown names. The statistic used to be that you could expect somewhere around a 2-3% response rate on cold calls and mailings. On the other hand, a significantly higher number of clients typically respond when you reach out to them to share something of relevance.
Intuitively it may seem obvious that your first line of defense is to market to the people who already know you, like you, respect you and trust you. However, the point is easily forgotten. So in tough times, as well as in times of plenty, it is a good idea to connect or re-connect with the people you are closest to. Never take for granted the wonderful clients who brought you to the dance in the first place. Apply the same marketing tactics, energy and ideas to interact with existing clients – you will be pleasantly surprised at how appreciative they are. You may even end up with a referral from a loyal and satisfied client!