38 ways to communicate with your clients
You don't get business you don't ask for. You don't get remembered if you don't keep in your clients' minds.
"It is actually difficult to contact clients too much. It is easy to fail to contact them frequently enough. If there is anyone anywhere who has ever sent you a check for your services and with whom you haven't communicated in the past 6 months, then you will never reach your growth potential. The secret is simple: Establish an ongoing dialogue with clients. In the worst case, a monologue will do." Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice, by Alan Weiss (p. 196)
But how can you keep your name on the tip of their tongues?
Here's 38 ways:
Letters; brochures; newsletters; article reprints; job aids and checklists; posters and sayings; cartoons; testimonials and examples of completed assignments.
Calls to 'stay in touch'; a 1800 (or 800 in USA) number and hot-line help to encourage use; information relayed on meetings or events of interest; reminders of long-term follow-up responsibilities and dates; introductions to third parties (that is, customers for your client).
Interviews with the client for industry journals; attendance at industry and professional meetings that the client attends; hosting periodic conferences on topics of interest; acting as an intermediary with other clients for mutual learning.
Web page updates and additions; 'password' website reserved for clients; regular email contact; branding in your email signature file; email with ideas and suggestions; references and/or hyperlinks to relevant sites; a chat room on your website; an extranet
Visits to the client without any particular agenda; entertaining key clients; sending holiday cards or gifts (as permitted); participating in mutual charity events and fund-raisers; seeking out common community and social events; sending "I'll be in the area" cards.
Co-authoring articles with the client; sending fax messages and information; advertising in industry publications the client reads; exhibiting at trade shows that key clients will attend; asking the client to help you as a critiquer, advisor, editor, etc.; inviting the client to be on your advisory board; breakfast or lunch meetings you sponsor on relevant topics.
Obviously, not all of these methods will lend themselves to your own business. But I am amazed and ashamed that there are so many more ways I can be keeping in contact with my clients than I currently am.
What might be useful is to compile a Communications Strategy for each of your clients, utilising a checklist of the most appropriate of these methods for each individual client.