In football, coaches often talk to their teams about staying strong in the 4th quarter. For the coaches and players, the end of September marks the beginning of the heart of their season.
For many entrepreneurs, it means the start of a new fiscal quarter, often the final quarter of a business’ calendar year. And just like a football team, you’ll want to stay at your best to close out the season. If you haven’t already, it’s a good time to reflect on the challenges and opportunities available over the next few months. Many save such reflections for the end of the year, but there’s nothing to be gained by waiting for today’s news to become yesterday’s history.
As summer becomes a memory, the leaves are already turning in many places around the world. The canopy of green will give way to a stunning panorama of color, marking the start of fall better than any calendar. Many people are already picking out their pumpkins and deciding what costume they’re going to wear come October 31st.
While Halloween may get the lion’s share of attention during the month, and deservedly so considering the amount of money spent on it, it’s not the only holiday that calls October home.
In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. So goes the old rhyme that many of us learned in school. On October 12th of that year, Columbus’ ship first set down on what soon came to be called the New World.
Yes, it that time of year again, when ghouls and goblins prowl. It’s also the time of year when many companies do big business. Surprisingly, Halloween has risen to become the biggest adult holiday of the year. Temporary Halloween stores are on the rise. Bars, nightclubs and restaurants are cashing in by sponsoring Halloween related events. And it’s not just limited to particular industries. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 148 million Americans will take part in some sort of Halloween celebration this year. In 2013, the NRF estimated Halloween spending in the U.S. alone at around $8 billion. The average U.S. consumer is expected to shell out $80 on costumes, candy and decorations.
That’s a lot of trick-or-treating.
Lifecycle Marketing is a valuable approach to marketing that has replaced many of the traditional methods. It’s based around two very simple ideas. The first is that it’s often easier to generate more revenue from existing customers than from finding new ones. Secondly, taking care of existing customers costs less than searching for new prospects.
Over the course of our series on Lifecycle Marketing, we’ve taken a look at how it can help your business. The Lifecycle has 8 simple steps:
Attracting Traffic. Customers won’t buy from you if they don’t know you’re there. You need to do more than just advertise. Give them a reason to come through your doors, real or virtual, by creating great content.
Networking has become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years. It’s not just for information technology experts anymore. It's a critical part of the Lifecycle Marketing process.
When we attend a business conference we might talk about networking with colleagues and like-minded entrepreneurs. When we add friends on Facebook or other social media, we’re still networking after a fashion.
For many small businesses, referrals are the most reliable source of new customers. New contacts lead to new leads, which in turn can lead to new sales opportunities. In essence, gaining referrals is networking for your business.
There are many ways to gain referrals, but they all start with a simple premise: asking. For a business to take advantage of customer referrals, they need to not only ask, but make asking an ingrained habit. Your customer already knows you and likes your product. Why wouldn’t they want they want to share that product with the people they know?
In Step 7 of our ongoing series on Lifecycle Marketing, we’re talking about expanding your marketing reach by gathering testimonials from satisfied customers. In our previous step, we looked at ways to increase the value of your existing customers by upselling.
Word of mouth is more than just advertising that money can’t buy. In many cases, it’s more effective. According to a recent Forrester Research report, 70 percent of US online adults place high value on brand or product recommendations from friends and family. The report goes on to say that nearly half of them trust online reviews written by customers, but only about 10 percent feel the same way about company sponsored advertising.
It only makes sense. For example, if we’re trying to decide whether to see a film in the theatres, are we going to listen to a longtime friend or rely on a critic we’ve never met?
This is the sixth step in our 8-step series on Lifecycle Marketing. In step five, we covered how you can follow up with your customers after a sale.
You’ve generated leads and carefully nurtured them through the sales process. With your innovative follow-up campaign, you’re well on your way to creating long-term, ‘wowed’ customers. Why not build on it?
A happy customer is already familiar with you and your business, and over time you’ve gotten to know them as well. Surely there are some other products and services your company offers that they could use. Why not let your customers know about them?
In a nutshell, value is what upselling is all about.
Delivering the Goods: Successfully following up on a sale
Step 5 Time to Wow
This is the fifth step in our continuing series on Lifecycle Marketing. Previously we focused on ways you can convert lead into sales.
As anyone who’s been in business for any length of time knows, making a sale is only the first part of the equation. How you follow-up can go a long way in determining whether you’ve made a short-term sale or created a loyal customer that will stay with you for the long-haul.
At a minimum, your product should meet their expectations and be delivered in a timely manner. A well planned follow up after the sale can help you go beyond those expectations and truly ‘wow’them.
A follow-up doesn’t have to be just an email or a phone call. You can use all the channels at your disposal to reinforce all the points you’ve made during the build-up to the sale and continue to build trust.