Keeping in Touch With Your Customers

ClintH · February 3, 2003 11:55 am

Keeping in Touch With Your Customers by Donnie Christianson, aka silver No matter what your business is, you need to keep in touch with your customers and prospects. There is an 80/20 rule, that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. Repeat sales are your biggest profit center. It's easier to keep an existing customer, and keep them happy, than it is to gain a new customer. Of course, you always want to gain new customers, but not at the expense of your satisfied clients. Following up builds a relationship with your customer, one where your customers trust you to deliver what they want, answer their questions when they have them, and solve problems to their satisfaction. Building relationships builds repeat business. You can build good customer relationships by regular and consistent follow-up. Most of us here on Renderosity rarely use our phones to engage in our business, so this article will focus on email and instant messaging. Here are some ways to keep in touch!
Email Email is the most effective sales tool on the 'net today. Pretty web sites, cool graphics, flashy scripts - they all pale in comparison to a well-crafted, order-pulling sales message. Plain 'ol text is still head and shoulders above them all. Here are 10 quick tips to using email effectively.
  • Use a Good Email Program.
  • Eudora, Outlook, Entourage, which one to choose? There are many choices. What program to choose depends on how much you want to accomplish with it. Eudora and Outlook are available in both free and retail versions. For basic email, just go with the free versions. This is sufficient for most needs. Both programs are available for Windows and Macintosh. I use an iMac for my Internet and Email. Outlook Express 5 for Mac works fine for me, and I send and receive tons of email. You can also configure Outlook Express to check your Hotmail Account, and link everything together with your MSN Instant Messenger. If you are signing up for traffic exchanges, ffa pages, etc., you should use a web-based email such as Hotmail, Yahoo, etc, for this. It will keep your main mailbox from overflowing with spam. But if you want full capability such as advanced formatting, autoresponders, advanced list and message options, etc., then you'll need a full-featured email application. And if you use autoresponders, go with a professional-grade email program such as the full version of Outlook, or if you're on the Mac and running OS X, Entourage.
  • Use a fixed-width font like Arial or Courier.
  • If anyone on your list uses AOL, keep the message size under 24k - otherwise, AOL will flag it as an attachment, which most folks either don't know how to open, or are wary of viruses.
  • Pay attention to the formatting and punctuation. It WILL make a difference.
  • Proofread your messages before sending them.
  • Test any promotions before doing an expensive mass-mailing.
  • This should go without saying, but use professional language.
  • Use the "BCC" (Blind Carbon Copy) field when sending to a list - folks don't want their email address blasted all over the 'net.
  • Use a spellchecker.
  • Finally, don't spam your customers - only send them relevant messages spread out over reasonable periods - once a month is usually good.

Instant Messaging via Renderosity IM is a useful and quick way to check with your customers and see how they are doing, if they need anything, or just to say hello. There will be a small percentage of your customers that you may not ever see on Renderosity after their purchase (for various reasons), so email is the preferred choice. However, an IM is a great option for your regular buyers who are also active in the forums, or at least spend a good deal of time surfing Renderosity, since they will receive a notification that messages are waiting when they log on to the site. Make your IM's short, and archive important ones. Better yet, copy and paste these IM's into a text editor and save them to a customer folder - it keeps your Renderosity message archive small, and you can refer to them when needed.
However you keep in touch with your customers, always be polite and professional. It's hard to establish the "tone" of the conversation in email or IM, so a careful choice of words is required. Following up on a regular basis will establish that all-important relationship you have with your customers - and you both will benefit. Happy Marketing! Donnie Christianson / silver Author of Marketing for Merchants, an e-guide designed to help boost your Marketplace sales! Vist silvers: MarketPlace Store Home Page Art Gallery

Article Comments

andix ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

Excellant stuff, as usual Donnie. We've been keeping a special eye open for these marketing tutorials ;-), as they're always well thought out and informative. And doesn't a copy of anything you send with the R'osity function automatically go to admin as well? I was under the impression it did, which is why we've only used it once in 12 months. many thanks for more useful advice, Andi 3dmodelz

WorldbuilderMedia ( posted at 12:00AM Mon, 03 February 2003

Thanks Andi, glad you enjoy the articles! I believe the site admins could answer the question on the email options with more accuracy, but I do believe that they are CC'd on it. Don't be afraid to use the email function - it's there for marketing upgrades and new offers, as long as you don't spam. And you guys at 3dmodelz don't strike me as the spamming type. :) 9 out of 10 times, I can expect a batch of sales within a couple days of emailing everyone on my list. To expand on the column, I like to message or email folks individually rather than en masse for most communications. It takes a little longer, but provides a personalized message, and folks always appreciate that. For something like a generic update, though, the Email All Buyers at once totally rocks. If you are unsure about what's allowed or not, definitely ask the admins. They'll help you determine the best way to go about it. Hope this helps! --Donnie

ClintH ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 04 February 2003

Hi Andi, Yes admin gets a copy of all E-Mails sent out using the E-Mail all buyers option. Clint

andix ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 04 February 2003

Hehehe....thought so, good job we're very careful about not abusing such a great marketing tool. thanx guys Andi

bonespro ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 08 February 2003

I have emailed alot of people who I bought stuff from and never got back me at all, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. The only ones is really cool and got back to me is Magnet and Billy-T.

WorldbuilderMedia ( posted at 12:00AM Tue, 11 February 2003

Yes, unfortunately bonespro, you will find merchants who must not care about their customers. It's rare but it does happen. Merchants, whenever a buyer emails you, take the time to write back and thank them (if you haven't already!)

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