In the world of small business, your business always needs to be visible and relevant to survive and grow. One way to accomplish this is to continuously introduce yourself to potential customers, while you remind past customers that you and your services/products are still available to them.
It’s a well-known concept that it is easier to maintain an existing client than to bring in new clients, but what “almost” clients? You know the ones that contacted you, perhaps you met with them, but no contract was signed or the project never got off the ground, but a connection was made. And what about old/cold contacts and customers, perhaps people you dealt with before you opened your business or even in another field?
How can we ‘reach out and touch’ an old contact without getting our hands slapped with an anti-spam lawsuit? Let’s first take a peak at what the anti-spam laws mean: simply put they prevent us from actively contacting people who have not expressly agreed to listen to us.
You can read more on the Israeli Anti-Spam Law here: https://www.law.co.il/en/news/2016/08/19/israeli-anti-spam-law-amended-for-first-time/.
So how can we keep track of old/cold contacts, while we toe the antispam line? Follow these four simple steps:
1. Keep a database of everyone! Even if you are not an Excel wiz you can use the basic Excel form to keep a list (database) of all your contacts. I like using one Excel file and open a separate tab (called sheets) for each sub-group of contacts. Like everything else in life, I suggest you keep the tab categories simple (remember the KISS rule: Keep it simple stupid!): Current, Former and Inquiries.
The same information columns should be found in each tab and should include: full name, email and snail mail addresses, phone numbers, websites, a contact history column (more about that below) and even a birthday date column. Insert as much information as you can into each contact line.
2. The Contact History column should list any and all communication with the contact, including dates of each communication. The excuse that you don't have time to waste on this column is a very poor and short-sighted one; once you begin to realize that this list can be a veritable treasure trove of potential clients sometime in the very near future.
This is also the column that will ensure that you do not overlook a potential client and just as importantly you do not spam them.
3. Now here’s the tricky part. Take advantage of ONE event or update to remind them you are still around. Send out an email to these "almost" contacts informing them about your upcoming event/update and providing them with a CTA: Call TO Action.
In this case, they get a choice of two actions to perform: sign up for an event or a newsletter or contact you or a sale OR opt out/ignore the update.
You can use this opening text for your email:
I just wanted to tell you about my __________________ (event, newsletter, sale). And don’t worry, you won’t receive future ____________ (event, newsletter, sale) reminders - this is a one-time only announcement!
Then close your email with this text:
If you would like to ______________________ (whatever the update/offer) simply __________________ (whatever the action: complete a form [keep it simple!] or contact you or enter your site to register).
4. Update your database by listing the what and when of the communication and the contact's response. These simple steps may have earned you a new potential client. If the contact opts out or simply ignores you - leave them alone.
Before you send your offer/update think about the suitability of the offer/update to these contacts. Some business offers and updates may be suitable for all contacts across the board, while other offers may be of interest to just a select group of your contacts. The more your offer/ update matches the needs of the contact, the better chance of a successful reconnection.
In the world of business, you never know when the right word at the right time to the right person will get you new or renewed business. Don’t think of an old or almost client as lost business, but as an opportunity for new business – tomorrow!
Want to know more about building and branding your small business? Contact me today. Make today the day you and your business work together.
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