To stay in business, you need customers. Too often, though, people focus only on bringing in the new customerâ€”marketing and communicating to those with whom theyâ€™ve never done business. While thatâ€™s essential, it is equally important to retain existing clients.
Acquisition of a new customer can cost you up to five times more than keeping your existing ones happy and coming back. Granted, if youâ€™re in wedding photography, you might not have a returning customerâ€¦but a referral has much more weight than any number of full-page ads.
Consider the following steps you can take to strengthen existing client relationships (see the full article here):
- Calculate how much you spend to get a new customer and keep it in mind.
- Review your existing client list.
Know and thank your most loyal customersâ€”the ones who refer new clients to you and who continue to use your services. Then, start to reestablish contact with the others and update your contact informationâ€”so they will not miss any information.
- Establish a follow-up system.
You want to ensure that they are fully satisfied with the service and make sure that any outstanding issues are resolved. That simple follow-up can please customers to the point that they mention your service to friends.
- Decide on a promotion or exclusive event that you will offer to your existing clients, like a return or referral program.
- Start an e-mail campaign.
Once a monthâ€”or even once a quarterâ€”is sufficient to keep your name and service in their minds, announce new products, open communication, etc.
- Examine your Web site with your existing customers in mind.
If existing customers return to your site, they will likely be looking at your gallery or home pageâ€¦trying to see whatâ€™s new and any special promotions.
- Schedule an event for your existing customersâ€”a â€œcustomer appreciation partyâ€ or â€œgallery event.â€
Notice how many of the above steps revolve around a form of communication? Remember, great photography is just one of the elements needed for a returning and referring client. And as always, PPA is here to help you fine tune every element of your business.
Director of Membership, Copyright & Government Affairs
P.S. The full article, â€œ7 Steps You Can Take Right Now for a Stronger Existing Client Relationship,â€ includes more details on these steps, so be sure to check it out. You might also want to ask your fellow photographers what has worked for their own customer retention/referral (post on www.OurPPA.com).