There are at least three phases to every successful customer acquisition. They have many names, but let’s just call them – 1) before the sale, 2) during the sale, and 3) after the sale. Note that I said successful acquisition.
Small business marketers seem to get the before and during parts, but so few get the after. Making the phone ring and closing the deal are important, but what you do once someone says, “yes, I want to be a customer” is often what sets one company apart from an entire industry.
You must view the transactional details of your business as a marketing function.
In my book, Duct Tape Marketing, I offer a description of something I call the New Customer Kit. This is simply a set of documents that you might give to a new customer to orient them to everything they might need to know now that they are “in the family.”
I received a very nice example of this from the Courtyard by Marriott in Newark, NJ. I believe this was an individual manager taking the initiative as I’ve not seen this done during any of my stays at Marriott. The day before my check-in I received an email with a travel packet attached. This packet gave me driving directions, airport shuttle details, travel between airports and into NYC details, visitor highlights and restaurant recommendations.
This packet was very easy to put together and not only did it make me as a user feel much better about my decision to stay in this hotel, it probably eases the normal customer service related phone calls to the hotel to ask for this type of information.
You don’t have to stop at simply providing details with this packet, add surprise gifts and special offers from strategic partners too – exceed your customer’s expectations at every turn and marketing will get pretty easy.
So, how could you turn your sales transactions and customer service functions into proactive marketing functions?