This is a post that I began writing some time ago and then I got caught up in other things and don't believe it was ever posted to my blog. As you can see, I've been busy and haven't had an update here in a few days. I was busy doing productive and profitable stuff but far busier wasting time on socializing and not striking the right balance between making conversation and making money. When I read this post as a note in my to-do file, I was inspired to complete it and post it here as a reminder to myself and advice for others.
It's so easy to get caught up in developing new business and working on new projects that you may not realize how much you're neglecting your current clients and loyal customers. We've all been guilty of losing track of time and not keeping in contact as much as we should. It seems the busier you get, the easier it is to stay busy but you've got to make the time to keep in touch.
It does take discipline. It also takes an organizational system. Whether a calendar, electronic organizer, contact management system or assistant (real or virtual), you need some help to make sure that you are an effective manager of time and relationships.
Some of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers leverage what you're already doing. Here are a few quick ideas:
- If you have a website that features news or a current events or topical weblog, either syndicate your best items or posts from a specific period of time and send those to your customers in an email summary.
- If your product or service would be even better if your customers only knew of some common shortcuts or tips that would help them analyze, evaluate, install, own or use (A, E, I, O, U) your product, send these tips over a series of notes or messages or offer it as a free and helpful guide. This might also be a way of generating some viral traffic by including a link to your site and products throughout the compiled document.
- Use an email service to offer a course or series of articles that your customers would find helpful. Like the shortcuts and tips idea above, this offering shows for concern for your patrons and builds some reciprocal goodwill that will pay dividends in the future.
- Commit to an editorial calendar and publishing schedule that makes sense for you with all you have going on. Track the frequency of your messages and try not to lose touch with your customers for more than a month. Find complimentary offers and products that you can offer for free so that your messages are received positively and eagerly.
- Respond to comments and messages from others on your social networks at one time during the week during a period dedicated to this activity. It's important that if you join these networks that you also contribute and communicate with friends but you have to manage the time you spend on this or you won't get anything else done.
Effective communication is an art but the systematic efficiency of your communication is where you need to apply some science. Create a methodology that works for you and as you follow through on keeping in contact, you'll create a networking habit that will become second nature and solidify your bottom line.