Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Keeping in touch

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     from personal experience starting-up, solving problems, and growing small businesses.

     You already know the value of keeping in touch. You call friends. You stop in to see a relative. These are personal friends.

     What about business friends? These are people who have depended on you--your products and services. These people are your customers and clients. 

     A single word from you can go a long way in business. Literally. Keeping in touch reminds your customers/clients who you are and the good experience they had dealing with you. And they spread the word, bringing you referrals.

     You can keep in touch in many ways. Here are some reminders.

     Facebook is the new kid on the block, along with other social media possibilities. Facebook is a very effective way to reach out and keep in touch. You should be snapping pictures every day of your creations (artists, artisans, chefs, bakers, landscapers, etc.), the inside of your store or office (racks of clothing, cases of jewelry, equipment set-ups, etc.), the street scene outside (flea markets, parades, car shows, etc.). Selfies can be fun. Post these pictures on your Facebook page, not every day, but a couple of times each week. 

     Emails sent to your regular customer list can be effective in announcing sales and other events. Too many emails can be a turn-off, however. Emails should be about your client or customer and THEIR interests, not yours. Keep it brief, and don't send them too often.

     Blogs can be a very effective way to keep in touch. I know many business people who write a blog once a week. I write this blog every weekday morning. Blogs can be a way to personalize your business. Concentrate on things that the reader is interested in--more information about a particular subject, new things happening in your industry. A blog meant for customers/clients is NOT a personal diary. Keep your material fresh, optimistic and simple.

     Newsletters are more involved. Some are placed on websites, others are printed and mailed. (Yes, some businesses still mail newsletters, but today most newsletters are on the websites.) Unlike short blogs, newsletters tend to be more formal and they are longer, covering several different subjects. They can be useful in communicating difficult subjects. Attorneys, tax experts, consultants, medical specialists and others find newsletters to be an effective way to explain in depth the ways in which they can help clients--and attract new attention.

     Phone calls are personal, and they can be annoying. A phone call from someone you know and have dealt with in the past can be an effective reminder. Use phone calls sparingly. Phone calls to a list of people you don't know and who don't know you are definitely a turn-off. And recorded phone calls are a no-no. But phone calls to remind people of appointments, upcoming sales and special events can be very useful--and appreciated.

     Keep in touch, but do it smart. You don't want to come across as a nuisance. Keeping in touch with short reminders, colorful pictures, and clear explanations of some aspect of your business can grow your business.

     Done right, your customers/clients will appreciate being reminded of who you are and what you can do for them. And they will refer others to you. 

     To grow your business, you want to extend your reach in the community you serve. Keeping in touch is a valuable method to put in your business toolbox.    

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