Follow-up marketing

The Art of Growing Clients

Last week I got a newsletter in the mail from colleague Jason Leister (you'll hear more from him in a special interview on Wednesday…stay tuned). One of the articles talked about the idea of "growing clients." Something I've been thinking about for several months…

We underestimate the importance of the growing process for our clients…we expect that we'll just show up and "harvest" them.

Doesn't work like that (and you know it). And my last three new clients are poster children for the need to "grow."

One has been on my email list for almost three years. A year ago he bought a low-priced training course from me. Now he's ready for 1-on-1 help.

The second, I've known in the business community for close to two years…said he'd been "thinking about it for a while" and was now ready.

The third, I've met with a number of times over the last few years, he's flirted with getting my help, but never committed until now.

They've all been "with me" for YEARS. They all knew they had a problem or challenge that I might be able to help with…but they just weren't ready yet.

And that's OK.

I take the long view with my prospects (and you should too).

By the time each one approached me about working together, I had no competition. I worked for years to slowly build trust with them…one email or webinar or newsletter at a time.

I was patient and persistent.

And you know in your heart and in your head that patience and persistence pays off.

But you're not doing it.

You don't have a system to do it. (Hey, without a system I'd have never worked with these three clients.)

But you can get a system…a system like mine (and like the one these three clients will have soon).

All you have to do is take the first step here

marketing consultant steve gordon
marketing consultant steve gordon

How Lance Armstrong Killed Your Sales

Have you been watching this Lance Armstrong train wreck? I don't watch the news much (gave up brainwashing long ago)…but I understand the world's highest bike rider is ready to confess what we already knew…

That's he'd been cheating all along AND lying about it.

So what does this have to do with YOUR sales?

More than you think…

Your buyers have seen this story. A bunch of them liked him and looked up to him before 'ol Lance's world came crashing down.

They "trusted" him…

And now they've been burned.


Right now, they're thinking "Who's gonna get caught lying next?"


Hey, I know you're cool, but your buyers find it harder and harder to trust anyone. Can't blame 'em really.

But you've got to deal with the absence of trust.

That's one BIG reason traditional advertising doesn't work as well as it used to…it's based on the buyer's trusting relationship with the brand…but we've been burned by BIG NAME BRANDS.

- Enron - Countrywide - Exxon (remember the Valdez that soiled my home state of Alaska?)

And there are many more..and that's the point.

So how do you build trust?

Simple…you make more deposits of value on your prospects than withdrawals. You tie before you sell…you educate…you show up in your prospects lives and businesses like no one else…you speak plainly (like a human not a "brand").

As you watch Lance confess his lies to Oprah listen carefully…you'll hear the trust leaving the world. Leaving your buyers.

What's your plan to build it up in your part of the world again?

Steve Gordon

Your Email Marketing Myths Busted

Without a doubt strongemail marketing/strong is the most effective and economical ways that small businesses can communicate with customers and clients. But there are a lot of myths among business owners, usually based on their perception, not tests or real numbers, that prevent them from using email the right way. Here are the top 7 myths… h2Myth 1. You can send too frequently./h2 If I have another meeting with an entrepreneur who thinks that email marketing is having a Constant Contact account and sending out an email once a quarter I’m going to scream!

The truth is you can send an email to your list, daily, three times a week, weekly, bi-weekly…you pick one…and it’s likely to be very effective if you do two things: ol liSet the expectation up front with the people on your list so they know what they’re signing up for./li liSend relevant information in each message./li /ol That’s it. Will more people unsubscribe? Maybe. Is that important? Probably not. (see Myth #2) h2Myth 2. Unsubscribes are bad./h2 I have seen some serious ringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over a few unsubscribes here and a few there. It’s not a big deal. Truth be told, you want some unsubscribes every time you send a message.

The people getting off your list are saying “this isn’t for me.” As a marketer you should be thanking them for excusing themselves. Now you can focus on the real prospects…the ones who value what you send and who want a relationship with you.

One salesman in my hometown voluntarily got on my list, but didn’t like the number of messages he got (just a few). He emailed me to give me his candid email marketing advice and I promptly and politely removed him from the list. When I see him around town he refers to me as the “man who sends the messages” and repeats his opinion of my marketing.

I have two choices. Listen to this one person (who by the way isn’t a client) and change what I’m doing. Or, stay the course. My bottom line favors the latter. h2Myth 3. You need a big list to make money./h2 It’s not the size that matters…

It’s your relationship with your list that’s important. You build relationship in email marketing just like you do in real life. ul liShow up consistently and often./li liBe of service./li liHave conversations./li liMake introductions./li liShare yourself./li /ul You’d never expect to build a strong friendship with someone in real life if you only spoke to them once a quarter. h2Myth 4. You have to write all of the email content yourself./h2 It’s great if you can write and you have time to do it consistently, but you don’t have to.

You can act as a collector and curator of information for your prospects and customers. There’s a good chance that if you find something interesting, your subscribers will too.

Make a list of the five most interesting articles you read this week and send it out. Even if they have nothing to do with your industry.

As a bonus…insert your opinion on some of the topics where appropriate.

If you’re sharing great resources your list will appreciate you and see you as a leader. h2Myth 5. You can’t sell in email./h2 If this were true, what would be the point of email marketing? According to the Direct Marketing Association email marketing returns $43 for every $1 you spend (on average) so somebody’s selling something.

The challenge is doing it right. I teach my clients that email marketing is a a href= sales machine/a. You wrap your sales message inside a great piece of valuable information.

No one likes to be sold but you know what they say: “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down…” Integrating your pitch with your content not only makes it easier to swallow, it makes your buying your stuff seem like the next logical step for those who found your content useful. h2Myth 6. It’s got to be pretty to work./h2 “Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.”

Some of the most effective emails I’ve ever sent were ugly, plain text things with no images, no logo, no color…nothing but the words.

Right now, the only email I send that has any design to it at all is my weekly email magazine, the “Marketing Entrepreneur’s E-Letter”: All of the follow-up emails I send are plain text…by design.

Why does plain text work better?

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our email recipients for a moment. If you’re scanning through your inbox looking for the important messages. The ones that you need to read right now and you see a big logo or image at the top you instantly know “this is a mass email…it’s not actionable…I can read it later.”

On the other hand, if you get what looks like a plain old email (like real, everyday people send) you’re probably going to at least scan it to see if you need to respond.

Don’t worry about having the perfect design…or any design at all. Just get your message out. Today! h2Myth 7. My clients will hate me if I make a mistake./h2 You will make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process and you want to make mistakes. I’ve made my fair share over the last two years since I got serious about email marketing.

I’ve sent emails that didn’t get opened…emails that aggravated a few…emails with typos…changed branding three times…sent emails with boring subject lines…you name it.

But by far the biggest mistake I made was not emailing consistently or often enough in the beginning.

But I keep showing up and talking to the people who have asked to hear from me.

And they have rewarded me with their attention and business.

SBMS 05 | Stop Cold Calling - Attract Prospects Magnetically


In this episode of The Small Business Marketing Show I share a simple 3-step system for getting sales appointments...without making all those dreaded cold calls!

Download the MP3

In this episode of The Small Business Marketing Show...

  • The fundamental conflict between buyer and seller.
  • Why you need to stop "selling the appointment".
  • Why you should sell "free" first.
  • The essential system you must have to get more deals...automatically.

Take Action

  • Brainstorm ideas for an information "product" that you can give away.
  • Decide how you will follow-up with prospects who get your free information.

What Do You Think?

  • What struggles have you faced with cold calling?
  • How do you get new business without cold calling?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Oops....They Flushed How Much $$$ Down the Toilet?

Do you know what your customer service is like? Are you sure you REALLY know? Because if you don't it could be costing you customers...just like flushing money down the toilet. Try it, take a $20 bill...or if you are adventurous a $100 bill. Now go and flush it down the toilet, maybe flush a few more to signify all the lost future sales. The problem is you don't get to see how your employees are dealing with your most valuable asset - your customers. Go online, google any company (maybe your own) and take a look at what people are posting.  For every one ticked-off customer, he/she tells 50 friends, but the satisfied customer tells 3 people. Horrible odds right?

Unfortunately it happens all the time. Customers are frustrated by the service they receive and have no recourse to solve the problem. Take for instance my experience with a certain satellite TV company. I simply wanted them to ship me a new receiver, one of mine died. I knew that is what they needed to do, I had already went through the troubleshooting once. So what do you think happened?

After what should have been a five minute phone call, 45 minutes later I have a new receiver on the way, but not before I had to threaten to change service (and almost did) hung up on one representative and had to be transferred away from another. I was told everything from I cannot wait on hold for you to check your receiver to I can't ship you a new one, and finally to go to Best Buy to buy a new one. WHAT? Why is this guy sending me to Best Buy.

In the end, the "supervisor" tells me the entire conversation I had with the second person was wrong and he gave me entirely incorrect information. WHY? I kept asking her why, who was the person, could they be reprimanded, given the correct information? The kicker...SHE HAD NO IDEA WHO I SPOKE TO.

What if that happened to one of your customers? You work to hard and spend too much money to recruit your customers...why would you let an mis-informed employee (who probably could care less about the company) ruin your reputation with the customer?

I challenge all of you to have someone "mystery shop" your business. See how they are treated from the moment they walk in, to the moment they leave. Also, send out feedback forms to current customers, pick up the phone and call clients. Do not be afraid to check in with your clients to make sure your staff is fulfilling their needs. The last thing you want is your customers to go to the might as well just take the marketing money and flush it down the toilet. At least that way your reputation will not be ruined.

What are some of your horrible customer service stories?