I’ve been working with a number of clients recently who have fully adopted my philosophy that the first thing a company needs to do to accelerate its growth is to provide ‘care and feeding’ to its current clients and fans. This has led them to initiate on-going customer contact programs, the most popular of which is rich e-mail.
This has led to a frequent topic of conversation – how often should a company ‘stay-in-touch’ with their client base. Before I answer this question, let me share a few key points.
- The goal of every interaction with clients or prospects should be to create value.
- The definition of creating value is to do something someone would be willing to pay more for.
- Value creation is binary. This means that you are either creating value or extracting it.
- You should always respect your clients and prospects attention and trust.
The simplest answer to the question of frequency lies in the four points above. Here are the questions I ask myself before I send something out: Would the people who receive this email/message/call/etc. find it valuable? Would it be something they are willing to pay for? If the answer is ‘no’ then I won’t reach out – regardless of how long it has been.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that it is okay not to be in regular contact with your client base. I re-state my previous opinion that your most important constituency (with the [exception of your employees]) is your current client base. You need to stay in regular contact with them and you must make sure that regular contact is valuable.
There is one exception to this rule. Once or twice a year, it’s okay to send out a communication that simply says ‘thank you’ and to demonstrate your appreciation. When you send out these appreciation messages, however, don’t mix them with your message or other promotional communication.
Every time you send an email (or any other communication) that is not valuable, it creates the impression that your communication is not important and reduces your perceived value. Your clients don’t go through their life thinking about you or your offerings. Think about all the email you receive on a daily or weekly basis. How much of it is valuable? What do you call the email that you don’t find valuable? Most people call it junk, and ‘junk’ is not a word I want to be associated with.