Do Your Customers Secretly Dread Hearing From You?

Newsletter

I have to be honest; there are times when I have to stop watching the news altogether.

I know it’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the world, but I tend to get caught in a very negative cycle when all I see are news reports that remind me of what an awful place the world can be.

There might be a good story thrown in every now and again, but the overwhelming negativity can be a lot to handle.

To balance society’s negativity, I try to be a positive voice in the business world. But I personally witness crimes happening in business all the time.

One of the most common crimes is committed by businesses that mean well, and even do great work, but fail to add any value to the lives of their customers outside of whatever product or service they sell.

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re doing business with a company, and it’s a great experience.

You’re happy with your purchase and satisfied with the service. One week after making the purchase, you get the bill, which you promptly pay.

Now, one of two things is going happen at this point:

  • You never hear from them again, which is a crime
  • You get emails and direct mail pieces, but every communication is a sales message, which is also a crime.

Companies that operate under option B remind me of an in-law of mine. The only time he calls me is when he wants something, be it money or help.

You likely have a person like that in your life as well — the one you dread hearing from.

You know the one I’m talking about. When you see their name pop up on your caller ID, you know a request for a favor or a “loan” is coming your way.

You try to duck and dodge this person, but they always seem to track you down. If I didn’t know any better, I would wonder if the GPS on my phone was being tracked.

Now that I have annoyed you at the thought of your special someone, let me ask you for a favor. … Just kidding!

But really, isn’t this exactly how most businesses operate? Businesses send bills to request money, and they send ads or other sales material to request repeat business … and that’s it! If you’re a doctor, maybe you send a recall card, but that is still a request for a patient to spend more money with you.

When so many businesses act like the special someone we all try to avoid, is it any wonder that customers don’t refer as much as we would like, defect to the competition, or simply stop coming around?

You might tend to believe that your customers and prospects only do business with you because of the excellent product or service you offer. While that is a core component, it’s not all that influences their decision.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. I’m not certain who first coined this expression, but I’ve found it to be exceedingly true in my business.

The people I have a relationship with are more loyal clients, refer others to me, and truly trust the advice I give them.

Their continued business is not just because I have an excellent service and product — it’s because I have a relationship with them.

One of the best ways to build this relationship is to communicate at times other than when you want to push your latest sale or share a promotion.

This is where your content comes in — what does the content you’re publishing say about your business and priorities? Are you all about the money, or do you truly care about your customers as individuals?

To win lifelong customers who love to refer and will happily spend more money with you and your business, you have to focus on helping and entertaining both customers and prospects with the content you offer across all channels.

There are a few key areas of content you’ll want to closely examine from the perspective of customers and prospects :

  • Your blog
  • Your emails
  • Your direct mail campaigns

Your blog, while it is a great way to talk up the benefits of your product and services, should be more than a testimonial to what you have to offer.

The best business blogs focus on bringing value to the reader’s life. Our blog at The Newsletter Pro offers advice on business growth, strategies for increasing customer and prospect engagement, and practical business tips that can be used in any industry.

Email campaigns, while they are often lost in the clutter of the busy professional’s inbox, can also serve as an additional way to build connections.

One of my favorite ways to do this is with a “Weekend Reading” email. We send one out every Friday (without fail) to both prospects and clients.

It purely contains interesting content. We curate hard-hitting articles, I write a personal intro, and we never ask for a sale or push a special.

This email is exclusively for building value in the relationship, and stands separate from our promotional email campaigns.

When it comes to a killer direct mail campaign, you may have guessed that I’d recommend a monthly print newsletter that focuses on building relationships with your customers and prospects.

While I don’t want to get too carried away preaching about the value of newsletters, I need to make one major point:

If you want to fail with a newsletter, all you have to do is not be personal, and talk entirely about your business. Customers don’t want to read your industry journal, so don’t make your newsletter sound like one.

One common question I get about using content to build a relationship with customers and prospects is, “What is the right amount of frequency?” With the newsletter, you MUST mail monthly.

We have tried quarterly and it simply doesn’t work. To prove it to you, all I have to do is ask you a question:

How many good relationships do you have with people you only speak to once per quarter?

To put it another way, if your special someone sent you a note only once a quarter, would it change how you felt about them?

With our email marketing, we send a relationship-building piece weekly (the aforementioned “Weekend Reading”). That piece gets a 30 to 45 percent open rate.

We also get many nice messages from people letting us know how much they enjoy getting these helpful emails.

But typically, one to three times per week with interesting content and a few offers from time to time works best.

The quickest way to kill your business is to be boring and too salesy, which basically ensures your customers dread hearing from you.

There are so many places to do business — if you annoy your customers, they will simply go elsewhere.

If you are looking for long-term customers, you must work on building relationships and improving the lives of both customers and your prospects.

Improving their lives starts with sending the right content, communicating with your customers frequently (like you do in any good relationship), adding value to their lives, and, of course, asking for the sale when the time comes.

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Shaun Buck

Shaun is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur.com and has both published his own book, The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters, as well as collaborating with marketing guru, Dan Kennedy, to co-write the No B.S Guide to Maximum Referrals and Customer Retention. He currently owns and operates The Newsletter Pro, based out of Boise, Idaho. In just six years, Shaun and his 60+ member team have grown the company into the nation’s largest custom print newsletter company—printing and mailing millions of newsletters annually for diverse industries spread across four countries. Learn more by visiting Thenewsletterpro.com

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