We are about to enter the last quarter of 2020! Are you ready to end your year on a high note – and get 2021 started on the right path? Then it is time to focus on customer outreach and communication.
Why is Customer Outreach Important?
Customer outreach is the process of connecting and communicating with your existing and potential clients. This could involve anything from creating an interactive social media post to calling every customer and finding out how your company could improve.
With so many changes occurring in your business and your customer’s lives, outreach is vital right now. Outreach programs are the basis of sales, upselling, and customer retention.
Additionally, reaching out to your clients and customers shows that you genuinely care about them and their needs. This is an opportunity for growth and connection with every customer.
Ten Outreach Prompts for 2020
2020 has changed how many businesses operate, from putting us all on video chat apps instead of in-person meetings – to ramping up company use of social media to connect with customers. While these are excellent tools, this article is designed to inspire additional ideas for connecting with customers.
1. Send a personalized email to existing and new customers
You likely have a sales funnel set up for new customers, which feeds into a weekly newsletter or sales rotation that all customers receive. While this is fine, most customers know that this is a routine, automatic email system. In fact, you can likely name at least one friend or family member who never, ever, reads promotional emails.
During this last quarter, work to make a more personal connection with new and existing customers by sending them a personalized email.
This may not be possible to do with every single customer working with your company. However, both you and your employees likely know many customers on a first-name basis and can send them an email to just say “hi” and to check in on their family, pets, health, etc. Start by listing five customers you could connect with in this way – and have your sales staff do the same. Verify that your lists don’t overlap and then spend some time on each email over the next couple of weeks. Be sure to also budget time for responses and potential phone calls and future sales, as well!
2. Make some phone calls
On the same token, nothing beats a more “face-to-face” meeting. While you may not want to meet up in a coffee shop or be unable to host a client in-office, there is nothing to stop you from picking up the phone and dialing. If you know a client on a deeper level, or just want to make new customers feel more welcome to your business, pick up the phone and give them a call. It doesn’t have to be a Zoom meeting or even a formal conference call; just a quick “Hey, I wanted to check-in and see how you are doing” can mean the world to a customer.
3. Connect with customers where they “live”
You have marketing metrics and stats to tell you where your past and potential customers live and work online. Use that information to connect up and get into a conversation. This may mean getting personal in an Instagram Story or scrolling through the feed on LinkedIn. Get familiar with the places that your customers like to hang out and get into real conversations with them.
4. Mail a letter or postcard
This sounds like the most archaic, ancient advice. However, a personalized letter or postcard can connect you to a client who is working from home more effectively than an email. A client’s email inbox is crammed with items seeking his or her attention, but the mailbox has lately become most stay-at-home employee’s new best friend. We get our favorite items through the postal system, so why not get a letter or postcard from our favorite company?
If the idea of sending a letter or postcard makes you shudder, think about ways you can ensure that this physical outreach could match with your company culture. For example, if your business is focussed on being green, use paper laced with seeds that can be planted. If your business is interested in personalized outreach, send a nontraditional postcard that features something important to your company – rather than a company logo.
Your outreach can be personalized to reflect your company’s values as well as your client’s preferences.
5. Send customers an unexpected gift
Many of your clients have been stuck at home off and on this year. Some older people or those with preexisting conditions have had to stay home for just about every moment of every day. With that in mind, now is a wonderful time to relieve the monotony. Send some of your select long-term clients a thoughtful gift to help them in their day-to-day life. This may be a bag of local coffee, a fruit basket, a bright bouquet of fall flowers, surprise cookies, a few baking necessities for the winter ahead, a toy for their child, or something else applicable to your company/customer needs.
A thoughtful gift shows that you are thinking of your clients and their circumstances, keeping your company at the top of mind.
6. Connect with your top reviewers
Company reviewers can be a mixed bag and may be the perfect sample group for you to start with as you create an outreach campaign. Companies often get reviews from networking partners, past clients, and even customers who no longer work with you. The one thing they have in common is that they left your business a great review.
Get in touch with every one of your top reviewers using one of the methods mentioned above. Give them a call, email, letter, social media DM, or gift and gain a personal connection that could pay off in future business.
7. Find ways to support future customers
During this final quarter of 2020, it will be valuable to look into the future. Who is your upcoming customer? How is your existing potential customer doing?
If the answer to these questions makes you cringe, it’s time to do something about this. Find ways to support and reach out to the communities that foster your potential customers. Donate to charities that assist or are important to them. Provide knowledge resources that they can utilize and make them available in a way that your potential customers can access. Set up a sponsorship program to support some of those customers or their children. Partner with other companies and even government bodies to create supports for your potential customers.
Customer outreach can look like shoring up the part of your customer base that needs some help right now.
8. Connect (or reconnect) with your networking groups
Without physical contact, some networking groups fell by the wayside during 2020. With so much online connection now available, it’s time to reconnect with your networking groups – or at least the former members of that group. Find out what members are doing these days and discover new ways to exchange referrals.
9. Provide useful, free offerings
If you have ever been to a convention, you know that traditional “swag” is worse than useless right now. No one needs a new branded pen or t-shirt.
Instead of giving customers and referral partners swag that they don’t need, provide them with content or items they would appreciate. Here are five ideas for a free offering that is also useful to either online or physical customers:
- A branded, reusable, facemask
- Branded webcam privacy covers
- Well-written and useful ebooks
- Useful and printable checklists
- Hosting a great guest on a webinar or podcast – or partnering with a sister company to create an informative podcast or webinar
The last three items are not physical “swag,” but they are extraordinarily useful and can be shared for brand recognition, so we wanted to include them.
10. Create a customer survey
There are two options here. You can create a “just for fun” survey that customers can take and share for brand recognition, or you can create a marketing survey to increase your knowledge about your customers. Either are great tools and can help you come up with even more ideas for customer outreach.
Customer retention and outreach is vital at all times – but is even more critical during this year. Both you and your customers need to connect, understand that your company is there for them, and continue to work together into the new year.
Are you ready to grow your company during this final quarter of 2020? Contact Business Success Consulting Group today and get your free initial consult!