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34 Keeping Customers Is the New Lead Generation

Used to be that we could go out there and hunt down new leads and customers with a measured precision. We found a message that worked, found a medium that reached the right folks, tested, measured, refined and bingo – turn on the tap to growth.

Image Neil T via Flickr

And then a couple of things happened. Our prospects developed tools wise enough to block and ignore messages, social media platforms turned the equation into a dialogue vs. a monologue, and the worst recession in years crippled our prospect’s confidence.

Customer churn, something that might have been acceptable at some point in your trajectory, is devastating in today’s market reality.

Today a lost customer costs in two very significant ways.

First, replacing a customer has become harder to do and, perhaps more importantly, a happy customer is the greatest lead generation tool available. A thrilled customer is the most potent marketing asset your organization can leverage. Smart marketers realize this and explore ways to collaborate, enable and grow with their existing customers as a powerful lead generation channel.

Keeping a customer happy doesn’t stop at delivering on your promise. While not every company even passes that test, there is an expectation that you will deliver. To turn your customers into a collaboration partner you’ve got to up your total customer experience game.

I know everyone talks about that, but what does it really mean in the practical every day world.

It’s more than just creating a fun and exciting experience. I think those are important aspects, but turning your customers into committed partners requires an experience that possess mutually beneficial elements. They must get something in return for their commitment.

Below are some of the elements I think you need to consider in an effort to draw your customers close enough to turn them into committed partners.

Personalize the follow-up

You need to stay top of mind, you need to keep in touch, but that’s a minimum level effort. If you want to stand out you need to personalize your follow-up by connecting with your customers via social networks and exploring ways to tailor your message to their world. You need to ask them frequently about what they need to know, hear, read and consume and find ways to deliver that.

Review results

Your marketing and customer service processes must contain a way for you to help your customers realize the impact of working with you. You must gauge this for your own sake and so that you can find and fix occasions when something didn’t work as planned. Imagine how much business leaks from organizations because clients don’t have the time, energy or desire to find out how to get what they thought they were going to get. If you don’t do this step you’re throwing money away.

Publish together

Every one of our customers has a suite of publishing tools available to them. They can blog about us, create video product demos, review us, and tweet sweet little nothings with very little effort or cost. Oh, and the search engines really kind of love to find all that stuff too.

So, if you want to draw your customers in deeper, get in the publishing game with them. Teach them how to use these tools and then find ways to shoot success stories together, let them guest blog post and respond to comments, show them how to write reviews and find other great resources on review sites. Most importantly, find a way to show them why doing this is good for them.

Pair with peers

One of the greatest gifts you can give your customers is to facilitate their networking efforts. In most cases, some segment of your market consists of customers that are peers in some way – all small business CEOs, all purchasing agents, etc.

What if you found ways to create roundtable discussion communities and brought these peers together to discuss meaningful developments in their industry? What if some of these were customers and some were not? Do you see how you, your customers, and your lead generation efforts could benefit from this?

Be shareable

One the easiest ways to power your thrilled customers is to make your content assets as shareable as possible.

Add sharing plugins, Like and Retweet buttons, and make it very easy to pass your ebooks, slides and email newsletters.


A couple times a year take groups of four or five of your customers to lunch. You don’t have to do much more than bring them together and let them meet. You will be surprised how often they find ways they can help each other.

Once in a while bring as many of your customers together as you can. Acknowledge your referral champions and create a video booth where they can share their testimonials and success stories.

2 Weekend Favs December Four

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Image credit: Brikarus

Good stuff I found this week:

7 Factors That Drive People To Share Content With Their Social Networks
– Good list of things to consider when trying to make your content more shareable

Greplin – still in private beta but sign up to get on the list – this is a browser search add on that will allow you to search all the places you have content on the web.

Wakeupdialer – Wakerupper is the web’s easiest telephone reminder tool. Schedule reminder calls on the web

19 The Light Bulb Moment for Many on Twitter

Anyone who is an active twitter user may not remember the day that twitter started to finally make sense and you may certainly look at this post as rather simple, and it is, but . . .

I come across folks that are new to twitter or have been on twitter for months and still don’t get why people are so caught up. By the way, a little disclaimer here – I for one am an active twitter user and I see ROI, but it’s just another tool and is not for everyone – more on that this week.

The light bulb moment I’ve witnessed time and time again when I speak is when I show people the ways you can filter, aggregate, follow, and automate searches with third party tools like tweetdeck or tweetie.

Here’s a very simple introduction to how I have tweetdeck set-up on my laptop. It’s always evolving, but this is the starting point that might be enough to take away the mystery of using twitter for someone trying to wade in. (You might also check out my Twitter for Business ebook.)

Have a look at this post on using advanced twitter search to for some more tips.

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76 34 Online Reputation Management Tools

Radically TransparentAndy Beal, co-author of Radically Transparent, stopped by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast to talk about monitoring and managing your online reputation.

People, products and companies today all have two brands – online and off. The problem with this is that the online brand may or may not sync with their offline marketing messages.

User generated media, blogs and discussion forums have changed the flow of information about your company forever.

A new emphasis on reputation management, even for the tiniest of companies, is essential.

Manage Your Identity – Works along with openID to verify your identity on multiple websites. – Link all of your networks together and verify your identity so people know it’s your profile. – Uses .name address to sign you up for sites. – Searches the web looking for mentions of you that might involve identity theft. – Use one username to verify your log in on sites that use OpenID – great for sites where you might otherwise have multiple log ins. – Identity Management System that allows users to access their websites and passwords remotely. – Another provider of the OpenID standard. – Sign up for a free account and use as OpenID

Manage Your Reputation – Sign-up and invite your invite people to write reviews about you and your work. – Look up your reputation, rate others, and they will be invited to rate you in return.

RepVine – Reference and reputation management combined. – A service that attempts to help you get things being said online about you removed – An online reputation service that ranks based on trust scores.

List of message board tracking services:,,,, iVillage, Yahoo Message Boards, MSN Money

Places to find groups to track: Yahoo Groups, AOL Groups, MSN Groups, Google Groups.

Monitor This allows you to monitor and track keywords over multiple search engines. A service that allow you to search for tagged blog posts across multiple blog search engines.

Manage Your Online Profiles – Put your online identities in one place to make it easier to show and find profiles – This site lets you link all your online identities into one account making it easier for people to find you across the Internet. – Another way to display you online profiles. – Very function heavy profile builder that shows off the parts of your profiles you select. – Pull all you profiles together and allow commenting on your profile mat page. – One ID for all your online profiles – Simple URL to show all your profiles – Lets you add all of your online activities, including blogs and comments to one page. – A landing page to show all your social networks