Don't Ignore Your Existing Customers

A global research and analytical organisation carried out a worldwide business survey in the second quarter of 2019, and asked just one question of their respondents:

What is the primary goal for your digital marketing strategy?

While most of the findings were predictable, one stood out as representing a massive missed opportunity for the businesses who took part.

37% wanted to increase brand awareness and brand health. (No surprises there.)

26% wanted to increase the number of new leads/customer prospects. (That finding is as predictable as the first one.)

20% to deliver a high-quality, unified customer experience across all digital channels. (Any good digital marketing agency will be able to help them achieve this.)

13% to increase awareness and positive sentiment around new products. (Does anyone else think that percentage is surprisingly low?)

5% to increase business/revenue with existing customers. (This is the massive missed opportunity we were talking about.)

That last finding is shocking but indicative of how many businesses view existing customers. It’s as if clients who have already completed a transaction have become commodities that are beyond their use-by date. Looking at those survey findings, companies using online marketing agencies are now concentrating on chasing up new and fresh business and ignoring what is right under their nose. As missed opportunities go, this as about as big as it gets. You ignore existing clients at your peril, and here are three reasons why.

1. Current customers are considered to be more reliable buyers than new customers. Research shows that existing clients will likely spend more money on new products or upgrades as you increase up-sell, cross-sell, and other marketing offers. 

Key to this is a sustained focus on what they’ve already purchased. Assuming they went through the purchase process to satisfy a desire or solve a problem, your new offers should build on this. Improvement and enhancement offers are of most interest to someone who has already bought from you and will likely result in both improved retention and additional sales.

2. Marketing to an existing client base acts as a timely reminder of your company, its products/services, and the value they’ve already brought to those customers. It’s not as if they’re a prospect that you need to win over. The hard work has been done in developing a relationship, so directing your marketing towards them simply reinforces that association. 

According to research, existing customers who receive educational content e.g. advice on how to get the most out of their purchases are more receptive to receiving additional marketing messages; 72% of customers are actually keen for you to follow up with additional and customised marketing offers, just as long as it is preceded by education material. 

3. Existing customers will help you secure new ones. Customer advocacy is an extremely powerful marketing tool; word of mouth and referrals are prime examples. When your organisation begins to focus on marketing to current customers and providing them with fresh offers, you also provide current customers with new information for these advocates to discuss with their friends.

The combination of success stories, new products, and conversation creates a compelling purchase environment for your prospects. Effective customer advocates have a big impact on your lead generation and acquisition. By owning this environment and process, you can more easily connect customer advocates with prospective customers.

The strategy you discuss with your online marketing agency will include how best to increase brand awareness and the number of new leads. That’s certainly the right thing to do. But that conversation must also involve how you can stay in touch with your existing customers. By including them, you can capitalise on opportunities that are right under your nose.

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