Fast Food Fridays are all about specific things you need to do to make your business and presence stronger. Each week I'm sharing a new "brand-builder" to help you make 2018 your best year yet. I get that everybody is busy, but I also know that just working on your imaging skill set isn't enough to make your business a success.
For the most part, you're "right-brain" artists with little interest in focusing on the operational side of your business. So, just like a diner with a daily blue plate special, I'm breaking the business down into small doses of fixable challenges. This is number seven in the series, hitting another easy to fix component of your business.
On the menu for today is relationship building, not just with new clients, but your past customers. As you're strategizing on how to make your business stronger, don't forget those people who have already worked with you and know you.
Your Past Clients Are Your Most Valuable Resource
Assuming your past clients liked working with you and were happy with the results, they're the first place you need to start to reinforce the potential to grow your business. Spend the time to support your own database before you move into new territory!
- Personal letters: As we come out of winter and essentially start a new season, send a personal letter to your past clients reminding them about the services you offer.
- New skills and announcements: Pick up any new skills in the last year? Let's assume you're working on diversity and have expanded into children's photography - this is the perfect time to share that information.
- Establish a loyalty program. We're all in point clubs with our credit cards, so why not start a frequent buyer's club of your own?
- New products? Check with your lab and album companies. What new products are out that might be exciting to your past clients.
- New products of your own. Let's say you were recently at WPPI and decided to invest in a large format printer. What a great group of people to inform about your ability for better on-site support/service.
- Use your blog: Your readership is right at the top of the charts with past clients. Use your blog to plant the seeds for gifts ideas and the importance of capturing memories. Keep your readers informed of new products and special offers.
- Active in the community? Let your clients know about things you're doing to give back and even enlist their support. People like buying products from companies they perceive as giving back.
- Referral programs: We're a word of mouth business, and there's so much you can do to encourage past clients to help you spread the word, but you don't have to give them additional discounts. Instead, think about a referral awards program utilizing other products, maybe one of the new things your lab is offering.
One of the best books about marketing I've read to date is UnMarketing by Scott Stratten. There's a new revised/updated version now available co-authored with Alison Kramer, but the tagline on the original book still says it all - "Stop Marketing and Start Engaging." Of all the marketing tools at your fingertips, in a world that's impersonal with communication being driven by texts, emails and social media, NOTHING is stronger than relationship building!
You've got to look for new clients wherever it makes sense, but this one group, your past clients, is so ignored. While most of what I suggested would go in a personal letter, don't forget about using the phone! It's another forgotten tool, too often over-shadowed by the craze of social media. There's very little that trumps a personal phone call to catch up with a past client.
Your past clients are your most valuable resource - treat them right, build relationships with them and don't forget how powerful word-of-mouth can be as they share their experiences of working with you with their friends.
they insist their friends do business with you."