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Happy New Year - and thanks for the invoice!

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Do all those automated emails make your customers feel forgotten? Losing an existing customer is potentially damaging - and costly to replace.


As the first business emails of 2018 started to arrive, a familiar pattern emerged… invoice, invoice, invoice - all automated. And a happy new year to you too! It’s great being your customer.

Picture of a robot, marketing automation

OK, so they are the same ones I get each month - but their robotic feel made me reflect on the customer communication I’ve received across the year. And the more I thought - the more I realised they’ve been wasting a great marketing opportunity.

As a customer I have referred these businesses in the past, they are all really good at what they do - but, I didn’t think of them much last year. The reason is that, aside from their invoices, I hardly heard from them.

Do your customers feel forgotten?

I often put the boot in to my bank for this. I’ve been a customer for years - and all I see is new promotions to tempt new customers. It annoys me but I’m not expecting the financial services industry to suddenly become all appreciative. And if I were to leave - would they care - or suffer? I doubt it.

It’s a different story for smaller businesses…

Unlike my big soulless bank, they rely on customer retention and referrals. Losing an existing customer is potentially damaging - and costly to replace. 

Depending on the sector, acquiring a new customer is thought to be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. All the more reason to show a little gratitude - and keep in touch across the year.

If you do one thing this year - invest in marketing to your existing customers

If you are planning to spend money on your marketing this year, this is my top tip. Start with your existing customers - they buy your services and pay your invoices - so remind them of your value. Show you care, delight them with more than they were expecting - and they will be your best ambassadors.

There are many inexpensive ways to keep in touch with your existing customers. Inspired by the lack of warmth in my new year inbox I have today personally contacted all my clients. I don’t have the resources of a big marketing agency - but I can show I care.

And what to do next?

And if you want to do even more, you might enjoy reading about the The Thirteen Touchpoint Leaks™ by Bryony Thomas from her book Watertight Marketing. It’s a model that describes thirteen typical ways that most businesses leak profit in their marketing - and what you can do about it. Looking after your loyal customers is just the start.

As Bryony explains, there’s no point in wasting your money marketing to new customers until you have first plugged leak #1 – Forgotten Customers. After all, forgetting your customers is a surefire way of losing their loyalty. Without customer loyalty, you have a hole in your bucket.

For more customer loyalty tips, you can also head over to my article on the Watertight Marketing blog - ‘10 ways to build great customer loyalty.’

I wish you a happy and successful 2018.

Ben Wheeler is a freelance marketing consultant and content writer working with growing businesses - and an Accredited Consultant with Watertight Marketing. He also helps clients produce articles for LinkedIn.

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