When I first started The Newsletter Pro in 2011, the company was actually called Solution Marketers.
We sold three products: The first product was a direct mail campaign to restaurants; the second was a direct mail campaign for dentists; and the third product was newsletters. About 18 months into Solution Marketers, I realized I needed to focus on one product, and after careful evaluation, I chose newsletters (though we are now actively selling our direct mail campaigns for dentists).
One primary reason I chose to focus my efforts on newsletters was because, at the time, we had never had a client cancel our newsletter service, and people often referred new clients to us. I also really enjoy the topic of retention and referrals, which are two benefits of sending a newsletter.
Over the years, I have found that the secret to maximizing referrals and increasing retention comes down to 6 key principles:
1. Frequency of communication:
I want you to think about the personal relationships you have — maybe some of those close friends from high school or college. Of all of these “close” friends, how many of these are you still close with? How many do you talk with daily or weekly or even monthly? How many do you only see on Facebook or other social media?
What about your family? Do you speak with your spouse or other loved ones daily? How are the relationships you have with people different when you speak with them on a regular basis as opposed to quarterly or annually?
Outside of business, those people whom you speak to often are the people you have the closest relationships with, and those friends from the past are just people you are familiar with or share a history with now.
In May of this year, I was at an event, and I ran into Christopher Judge. He is an actor, best known for his role in a TV series called “Stargate.”
We got to chatting and ended up hanging out in the bar that evening. Somehow we ended up on the conversation of divorce in Hollywood, and he said, “You know, most people think the reason the divorce rate in Hollywood is so high is because we are all self-absorbed, but in reality, it is because we spend so much time away from our families to film these TV shows or movies that eventually we just grow apart.”
The same can be said for any relationship, including the relationship you have with your clients or customers. The longer you go between communications, the weaker your relationship is with your customers, and the more open they are to using another service or simply forgetting about you altogether.
Another wrinkle in this is the type of communication you deliver. If every interaction you have with someone is you asking them for money (i.e., pay your bill, buy my stuff), you’re killing the relationship.
We’ve all had that friend or family member in our life. Every time they call, they are asking for a favor or to borrow some cash. Most people eventually avoid these moochers like the plague, but that is exactly how most businesses operate.
We have a saying at The Newsletter Pro: Don’t be that guy. Basically, that means we never want to be the person who doesn’t add any value and only pitches. Of course, you can go too far on this spectrum and never pitch, which isn’t good either.
2. Consistency of communication:
As I write this, it’s July, and as a company, we know that this is a month when we have many customers skipping because they are too busy with vacations or with family activities.
As a dad of 5 boys, I get it, but being inconsistent in the eyes of customers and prospects is bad for business.
Another time of the year that we see this is in December. I am always baffled by people who are surprised that they have more family obligations during these two months — it’s not like July and December don’t roll around at the exact same time each year. When you book a vacation in March for December, you kind of know you need to work ahead, and the good news is, you have nine months to plan for it, but few do.
Stop making excuses, just get it done.
When you take on the task of a regularly scheduled publication and you do not send it out on time, at a minimum, you are telling your customers you are disorganized. Is that the message you want to put out to customers and prospects? My guess is, it is not. Being inconsistent hurts sales, referrals, and retention.