Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ten Tips for “Sharing the Love” in Your Marketing Plan

2-14-11 Ten Tips for “Sharing the Love” in Your Marketing Plan

Make others feel important. Put them first. You need to make sure plan puts the WIFM, (What's in it for me?) thoughts in their minds. Emphasize the advantages you can offer them.

1.     Guarantee, have you thought about what kind of guarantee you give your customers?  100% Money Back Guarantee and the conditions.  The Amway Corporation does a great job of this.  They guarantee that if you are not satisfied for any reason, they will not only refund your money but also your postage.  They give specifics as 120 days or 180 days.  Not bad and very specific!

Customer Appreciation party theme from
2.    Customer Appreciation Days are great ways to show the love and add them to your plan.  Banks and offices around the country do it, they have open houses and banks will put out cookies and coffee for their clients.  Add something into your plan at least once a year, maybe quarterly, maybe even once a month.  Keep it within your budget and understand your goal in doing this—keeping in touch with your client, letting them know you care and creating a fence around your herd of customers.  One of my clients Villa Southside in Pittsburgh, Pa., just had a huge Customer Appreciation Day, Pig Roast and Luau.   They invited both clients and new customers and all of the food was free.  It was such a festive event, not only the customers were excited about it but so was the neighborhood and they not only pleased their old customers but added some new ones.

3.    Loyalty Programs

Don't just celebrate birthdays!
We all celebrate special occasions in our lives including birthdays, anniversaries, and special holidays. Are you taking the time to get in touch with your customers and showing them you care about them whenever these special occasions occur? Do you send out cards and letters regularly?

Try this – remember the date they ordered from you, and celebrate it as an anniversary of your business relationship together. Similar to a wedding anniversary, the day your customer chooses you as provider to earn their business is a day that should be remembered. After one year, send your customer a special gift, a one year anniversary present, and profess your absolute appreciation for their business. Remember, they’ve given you one year of business if you want that relationship to remain strong, and if you want to earn more revenue, don’t ever forget their anniversary!  If your budget is strong there are actually automated programs out there that can do this for you or put it into your calendar with automated reminders.

But remember, that’s just one day of the year. If you really want to impress your customers and keep them thinking, and talking, about you, you’ve got to do a lot more than that. Send them special cards and letters for celebrated holidays and occasions! If you consider the cost, it is a very small investment to make to completely earn and build a much stronger relationship with your customers. Show them you care so much about their business, and who knows, perhaps they’ll start talking about you to their friends.  Send Out Cards is a great way to automate this and actually save money on it.  The price of a card is much less than going to a card shop and they address it, mail it.  You can even create a campaign.  Remember now when you do your marketing plan to add the cost to your strategic marketing budget.
4.    Be open to feedback. Encourage it. You need to be available to your customers. Automation is good, but make sure you answer feedback promptly and whenever possible with a personal touch.   Send out periodic surveys and give a reward to those customers who fill them out.  By all means, though do something with the information.  You can create free surveys that will tally the answers for you at:  the basic plan is free and I believe you can ask up to eight questions.  If you need it, you can get the pro plan later.

5.    Plan to Deal with problems and conflicts quickly and positively. 

No one wants to deal with irate customers. Look at a problem customer as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a thorn in your side. Your business will benefit from the experience. Analyze how the problem can be avoided in the future.  Conflict resolution and customer service procedures should be part of your business plan.  Everyone once things to always go great with customers but put a plan in place ahead of time in case it does not.

6.    Give your customers special offers and discounts.

And this isn’t about your own special offers and discounts, but offers from your partner companies. Use the relationship you have with your customers as a way of introducing them to other products and services they might find useful. If you do this, keep the offers relevant, customize it to suit your customers, and don’t make it come off as SPAM! Offer them solutions to problems, and make it somehow connected to your own business and service but just make sure it is non-competitive to your business.  I put out a PositivelyPittsburghPerks newsletter periodically where my online magazine clients or radio show hosts of my Monday night show, PositivelyPittsburghLive, can give a free or discounted offer to my online magazine vendors and subscribers.  Create a part of your plan to allow for cross marketing with synergistic non-
competitive businesses.

Be transparent!  Make it easy for your
customers to contact you.
7.    Your Service:   Eliminate the customer obstacle course. If you asked many customers of businesses today they’d say that the obstacle course for figuring out who to talk to and how and when to get service is over-complicated, conflicting and just plain out of whack. Make plans in your plan to create several ways for
Your clients to reach you do business with you and communicate with you.  Radio and TV stations are very good at this; they let you know who takes care of advertisement, distribution and news.

8.    Your Website –find ways to make it clear, make information accessible, contact information on every page, Give good helpful content that helps your clients make decisions—not necessarily selling them.  Here are a couple of good examples.  A good example of a website that is really helpful:  eHow - eHow is an online community dedicated to providing visitors the ability to research, share, and discuss solutions and tips for completing day-to-day tasks and projects.  Guess how they make their money? Advertisement, they give out good information, people go there to get it and then other businesses pay to advertise.  Could you possibly add something like this to your model?

9.    Guilt Free Customer Service

Don't let your customers look like this, give them
a reason to smile!

 There is a growing case of corporate memory loss that annoys and aggravates customers every day as they have to strong-arm their way through the corporate maze just to get basic things accomplished. Consumers have to fight for their rights with both many large and small companies.  I just recently complained about a cell phone and all of the issues I had with it, what a hassle.  I have a technology show, the TechnoGrannyShow with quite a few listeners; you would think they would want to make me happy not just as a client but also as a media person.  They did not get it and when my contract is up they will not get my renewal.  At all costs, put this in your plan, a guilt free customer service plan.

10.   Share the love.—Get  testimonials and use them

If your customers sing praises about your company, make plans to share it on your website. If you’ve made a customer happy, they’ll have no problem putting their name online for you. Customer testimonials are a great way to attract new customers. Determine how you will collect your testimonials. Maybe there’s an open-ended question on your survey or you can have an online form. Don’t be afraid to ask, but always make sure you do. Testimonials are a true testament of your love.

Make that call with a smile on
your face.
11.  Plan to: Pick up the phone and call your customers.

Today there are so many business processes that are automated, it seems that we have forgotten the importance of something as simple as sending a personal greeting to those we do business with. Is your customer worth a phone call, how much will that cost you?   What can you do to instantly build a stronger relationship with them? Put this in your plan, a program to contact x amount of customers each week to ask, how are you doing, congratulate them on a success, wish them a happy birthday.  Hey you might even ask how your service or product is working out for them.  In this day and age, they will be surprised and delighted.

And what do you get out of this special gesture? For one thing, it is totally unexpected and comes off as a unique and personal approach, communicating just how much you care for your customers. Now how much value does that add to the relationship?

12.   Plan: An amazing, entertaining and informative newsletter should be part of your marketing plan.  Deliver it regularly. 

 Think about how many times during the year/quarter/month a customer needs you, or your products or services, and let that be your guide to determining how often to reach out and touch your audience. Think of this number as a minimum, and then build from there.  Newsletters have always been used as a tool for businesses to stay in the minds of their customers.   You need a newsletter that is engaging and fun and makes people want to open it.

If you don’t like to write, then add it into your plan to have a freelance writer or newsletter specialist to write it for you.  Add their fee into your strategic marketing budget.  You need a newsletter that is engaging and then add a touch of your company’s personality to it.  A good newsletter is one that clients will take time to read and possibly forward to friends.

Print or e-mail newsletter makes no differenc
just so it gets read!
My company produces “done for you” newsletters with engaging content and the addition of your own dynamic story and offers directly from your company.  For additional information contact me at:  412-628-048 or

Since it is roughly six to 12 times less expensive to sell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, the value of customer loyalty and repeat business is just too compelling to ignore.  There are many more tips for sharing the love in your strategic marketing plan, watch for the upcoming E-Book?

Watch for upcoming E-book on this subject, “Choosing Your Customers, Marketing to Them for Life.”
Additional information at:
Expected release date September 1, 2011.

You can listen to a fifteen minute audio version similar to this blog at:  

For More on this Topic:
 "Folly of Marketing Plan in Your Head, 101 Compelling Reasons to Write One" 

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2011, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048

Or on its unique radio channel at:
Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
Follow at:

Phone:  412-628-5048

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