Marketing isn’t ‘one and done’ – you can’t create a single blog post, a webinar, or a single email to promote something and be done for good. Big brands don’t even stop at running a Super Bowl ad just during the big game – nope, you see that ad through the year now to make the most of all that money spent! Your marketing and communications need to be consistent and repeated to see success. A frequent marketing quote is ‘the money’s in the follow-up.’
I had a chance to have brunch and chat life and business some super smart solopreneur pals and one thing we questioned, nudged, brainstormed and supported each other on was about if, and how, we were following up with clients, customers, and our community members. Each of us had recently offered a training, a webinar, a course, some live coaching, or a challenge. And each of us had had less than 100% enthusiastic participation and worried we had left some of our awesome clients stuck or even just unaware of what had gone on during the challenges and training.
We hadn't done a good enough job at following up. 🙁
We needed more follow-up.
Following up and checking in was the answer and all of us needed to do more of it! We had all fallen in the trap of assuming our people had seen and read all our emails or social posts about what was happening and when. Or we assumed the dates and times we picked would be ok with the majority of our people. We just plain assumed stuff … and you know what happens when we assume! 😁 D’oh!
We whipped out our notebooks (ok I grabbed the Trello app on my phone – I’m a techie geek, you know that’s how I roll!) and made notes about how and when to do more follow-up, including one-to-one, with our folks. [Psst – I know we're taking action as I got two follow-up emails from these same fine ladies 24 hours after our meetup!]
Time for you to pay attention too – because the marketing success (and the money) is in the following up.
In today’s digital world there are plenty of ways to connect and build relationships – but the only way we ‘own’ and control is email. You’re only renting that space on social and your followers don’t belong to you, they belong to the platform (and of course to themselves). Here's one more admonition from me to not build your business on the shifting sands of social media – have a solid website, a blog, and your own email email list where people have clearly opted in to receive good stuff from you.
If you want the one solid way to keep in touch, to nurture and build that long-term customer and client relationship – it’s all in the email. Sending one-to-one emails to prospects, colleagues, connections, past clients, and referrals sources. Building a list and sending emails from one-to-many, to nurture prospective customers, talk directly to all past customers, and generally give great service to the community you are building.
And email is still a powerful, money-making follow-up tool of choice among small businesses, solopreneurs, and yeah big brands too. (there’s a reason my personal email account fills daily with emails from Wayfair, Penzey’s, Southwest, BookRiot, and plenty of charitable causes – because it WORKS!) Email is also a way to follow-up with your blog post readers and subscribers – letting them know you have great new content.
But this isn't wholly a post about email marketing – it's about following up- and email is a great tool for that!
People who read your blog, who follow you on social media, and especially those who have subscribed to your email list and have purchased something from you (products, courses or services) love you want to hear from you. Yes, really! We have to remind ourselves of that. And remember they want the advice, knowledge and expertise we each have and that we promised them when we asked for their email or they purchased from us. Deliver the great stuff they asked for and want! When they give you permission to reach out to them, it is vital that you consistently connect with them.
One – we are busy, distracted, squirrel-brained folks. Shiny objects and information are everywhere, and we dart here, there, everywhere in our lives. We forget. A lot. So following up reminds people of the good stuff they want, that they signed up for, that they purchased, and then got distracted from completing, attending, or using.
Two – building those customer relationships is a lot like dating. No one realistically gets married on the first date! You may get a nice hug but it's not a jump to commitment right when you meet. Sometimes things click instantly, and you can’t get enough of each other. You anxiously wait for the phone to ring or the inbox to alert you that a new message is waiting.
Other times, it takes a while for things to click. Sometimes a customer may not seem interested at all and then boom, they are all-in with everything you have to offer. Or they seem uninterested, but really they’re just distracted by all the other shiny new things and relationships and they forgot for a bit. But when we put something awesome in front of them, boom, they remember why they were attracted and ‘in’ to us! And they want – and NEED – what we are offering them.
No matter when you get a ‘yes!’ from someone, it’s oh so important to keep following up. Don’t drop that person because you got a hot date with someone new! 😁 Back in the days when I worked retail management, we always trained staff to ignore the phone if they had a customer right in front of them at the register. Ask a co-worker, or the manager, to answer the phone, but don’t ditch the person standing right in front of you with a question or holding their credit card.
Follow-up with folks before, during, and after any webinar, course, coaching program, product sale, or project. In the same way other relationships grow and flourish, your relationship with your community, subscribers, clients and customers must be nourished and cultivated.
Stay In Touch – it's easier to follow-up if your messages don't come out of the clear blue. Whether your readers are leaving comments or sending you private messages, it is important to answer and connect with them. The more personalized you can be, the deeper the connection and the bond for your business or product. Don't let those easy opportunities to follow up go by the wayside.
Asking for feedback- End emails with a call to action to connect or engage. Give invites to connect with you on other platforms Be ready when people do. Answer their emails and comments on your content.
Engagement- Offering opportunities to engage is a playground for customers who feel connected. You might consider hosting a social media group where your customers can have exclusive attention or special access to you. Group members will have a sense of insider knowledge and this is a great way to increase engagement and make your customers feel valued.
Making offers- Yes, asking for the sale is a follow up! And we can't assume, we need to ask. It is important to know when and how. Following up with subscribers routinely with free information opens the door for making an offer from time to time. Don't just give away for free – it's an unbalanced relationship, your audience is missing out on ways to be helped further by working with you, and you want active buyers in you community. While it’s not best to only ask for sales, it is completely normal to ask for sales. You ARE in business after all! 😁
Being timely- Whether it is being timely with your email frequency or timely with what is current in the world, sharing content that is timely makes a difference. Customers who feel like you have your fingers on the pulse of what’s going on will likely trust you, which translates to sales when the time is right. Sharing tips and trends in your niche is a great way to follow up and stay top of mind with your prospective clients and your customers.
Add Value – A good follow-up is not only timely and consistent but it offers something of value to the recipient too. Don’t send generic, vague follow-up emails, especially after events. Give value that shows you listened and are thinking of their needs (a timely news article for their niche, a post with resources related to what you discussed, an introduction to a mutual connection, etc). [Some more tips on adding value from Ian Brodie – an excellent consultant and small biz marketing pro in the UK – I’ve been on his list for years and he always gives value!]
Like a lot of marketing – the answer is ‘it depends!’ 😄
But there are some tips from a variety of pros on how often your community should hear from you:
If you have a good offer – for an ebook, a free webinar, a course, a coaching call, your skills on a project – you share it! And if it was good enough to share once, it’s certainly good enough to share multiple times. Remember, your audience of potential clients, happy fans, and past customers are all busy, distracted, going a mile-a-minute and they need your reminders. Follow up before, during, and after your events, projects, and promotions.
Sustained success will depend on consistent follow-up so create a process that works for you and your business's marketing.
Get this FREE pack of 10+ email templates you can use in a variety of instances to follow up after calls, meetings, live events, a webinar, and more.
I want all of my solopreneur pals to feel confident and mighty in their marketing - sharing what makes their work special and so vital to their clients. No B.S. or fluff here. I do the digging and research for you, translate "marketing-ese" into simpler terms, and help you avoid marketing headaches.