The Blue Kite Blog

Are You Ignoring Your Biggest Market Opportunity?

By | May 04, 2015

Your company is sitting on a revenue gold mine and you don’t even know it.

While you’re busy chasing new customers, there is a huge market opportunity right under your nose that’s being untapped.

What to know what it is?

Your existing customer base.

When it comes to marketing, most businesses think about attracting new customers. They think that the best way to grow revenue is by increasing the size and volume of their customer base.And while that is certainly one option for growth, it takes incredible time and marketing resources to make that happen.

Smart companies, on the other hand, recognize that the easiest and most effective way to generate more revenue is by looking to your existing customer base.
Why?

Because your customers already know your brand, have intimate experience with your products and trust you enough to continue buying from you. Doesn’t it make sense leverage that?

Not to mention, it’s more cost effective to keep your current customers happy than to chase new ones.

Let me repeat that.

How to Generate More Revenue from Your Existing Customers

But, I know what you’re thinking. You’re already maximizing how much money you can get from your client base and you don’t want to squeeze them for more money.

I hear you.

That’s not what I’m suggesting here. There are some practical, proven ways you can generate additional revenue from your clients without sounding like a used car salesman.

Let me show you how.

1. Cross-sell products and services. 

Chances are good that you offer more than one product or service, right?

But, how many of your customers are taking advantage of the full range of those products or services? If I were to guess, it’s way less than you think.

A great way to generate more revenue is simply cross-selling your products and services to your existing customers. Because your customers already trust you, this is a much easier sell than trying to attract new customers.

So how do you get your customers to buy your full suite of offerings? Here are some ideas:

2. Encourage customers to spend more. 

Although this tip sounds rather obvious, it’s one that plenty of companies ignore. Many simply focus on landing the sale instead of thinking through how to maximize the amount of the sale with that client. In other words, you should focus on upselling your customers.

No, you don’t have to turn into a used car salesman who peddles add-ons. There are ways you can maximize the sale in a way that serves the customer.

Let me give you an example.

I have a friend who owns Bright Event Productions, an event lighting company in Nashville. They create a series of base packages that they use for the majority of their events. But, because most brides and event planners want to create a custom experience, they give their clients the opportunity to add on different features and lighting to suit their tastes and needs.

Clients typically start by purchasing the basic package. But, when the company shows the additional options available, most clients decide to upgrade.

Ask yourself this: how can you upsell your customers so they spend more with each purchase?

One options is to create packages as Bright Event Productions did. Think about how additional service levels or options can improve their experience. The basic package

Or, you can simply check back in with customers after they buy from you to see what additional problems you can solve for them. Then, you can suggest other offerings or add-ons that will help them.

There are plenty of ways you can do this. Just focus on serving your customers and you’ll be upselling in a way that’s productive for you and the people who buy from you.

3. Stay in touch with customers. 

How often do you stay in touch with customers?

If it’s been more than a few months since you’ve talked to some of your customers, you need to change that right now.

It also gives you the opportunity to stay on their radar, understand what’s going on in their business and propose products or services that addresses their needs and pain points.

Not sure how to do this? Here are a few ideas:

  • Email marketing. A regular email to your customer base is a simple and effective way to stay in touch. Just make sure it’s not a boring newsletter that’s all about you. Instead, your emails should focus on information that’s valuable to your customers. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some great examples.
  • Regular phone calls or visits. Remember a time when our phones were actually used to make calls? Revisit those days again by actually picking up the phone and talking to your customers. Or, better yet, if your customers are nearby, it pays to visit them at least once a year. This is a great way to show you care.
  • Connect on social media. Connecting with clients on social media is a way to stay in touch and support their business. You can do this by sharing their content, responding to their posts, or simply sending them a quick note to say hello. Social media also offers great insight into what your clients care about. If you pay attention to the content they share, you can learn about their business needs and personal interests.
  • Host regular customer appreciation events. Despite the focus on digital marketing today, don’t underestimate the power of in-person events. This is especially true for customer appreciation events where no selling takes place. I just attended a conference with one of our clients and one business shared that they hold a biannual customer appreciation event, typically at a racetrack or other fun venue. From these events alone, the company has seen a 3,000% ROI! How does this work? Simply by spending time with their customers in a casual environment, they get the chance to talk to them without the pressure of making a sale. This can help you uncover opportunities that might not arise when there’s the pressure of making a sale.
  • Write a handwritten note. Don’t underestimate the power of handwritten note. It’s a small and inexpensive thing you can do to stand out. And, because so much of our communication is digital, it’s always nice to receive some real mail.
  • Send a thank you gift. Many companies send gifts for the holidays at the end of the year. But, if you want to really stand out, think of ways you can show your appreciation at other times of the year. Show your customers some love at Valentine’s Day or send them a gift to celebrate the company’s business birthday. Get creative and find ways to show how much you appreciate their business throughout the year.

4. Turn customers into ambassadors.

One of the most powerful things you can do to leverage you existing customer base is to create ambassadors for your business. When you do this the right way, your customers become your most productive and powerful sales force because they speak from their experience with your business. They are excited to spread the word about your company because they believe in your product or service and want their friends and colleagues to get in on the action.

However, this will only work if you are delivering an exceptional experience to your customers. You must offer incredible value that surprises and delights your clients at every turn.

If you are not doing that, there is no way you will be able to turn your customers into ambassadors.

Assuming you have a business that knocks people’s socks off, here are some ways you can turn your customers into ambassadors:

  • Identify your biggest advocates. First, you must start by identifying your biggest fans. You can do this by looking at your customers who are already sharing your content, talking about you on social media or referring business your way. Once you know which customers to focus on, you can build the relationship from there.
  • Be generous. I have a friend who just attended a small conference for a select few people. The conference was completely free, so she was concerned that it was going to be a three-day sales pitch. It was anything but that. Instead, the company was generous with their resources and they gave a lot of materials away. As a result, my friend said she will be much more likely to buy from them in the future and tell others about the materials. How can you do the same thing in your business? By being generous with your customers and asking for nothing in return, they will be even more likely to buy from you again.
  • Ask for reviews. Customer reviews offer powerful social proof. But, most people won’t take the time to do this without prompting. Go to your biggest fans and ask them to leave a review on Yelp, Google or on social media.
  • Get their feedback. Customers appreciate it when a business values their opinion. Ask for their feedback on your products or services. This works especially well when you’re rolling out something new. Give them early access in exchange for their honest opinions.
  • Showcase your customers. One way to engender support from your customers is to showcase what they do. You can create a blog post or video about the client or feature them on social media. Showing your customer’s experience with you is a great way to further deepen their excitement and support for your brand.
  • Encourage and reward referrals. The real power in brand ambassadors is when they encourage other people to buy from you. One great example is StitchFix. They give customers a $25 discount for every person they get to try out the service. I talked more about this on last week’s podcast. There are plenty of ways you can incentivize people to spread the word about you. John Jantsch’ book, the Referral Engine, is chock full of tactical tips on how to do this. If you’ve not yet read that book, I highly recommend it. 

Ready to get started? 

This post just scratches the surface of what’s possible for leveraging your customer base. But, I hope you now see that there is a ton of revenue opportunity with your customers just waiting to be tapped. Now, it’s time to go out there and make it happen!

What questions do you have about generating more revenue from your customers? Do you have any examples or tips to add that have worked for you?

4 Comments

  • Hi Laura,

    You are absolutely right, Selling products to exiciting customers is easy as compared to new ones since they trust us so they buy if we recommend.

    You have shared some great tips how we can make good relationship with our exciting customers like connect with social media, phone calls and email marketing etc.

    Thanks
    Jyoti

  • This is solid gold information. I have started a client rewards program in my business, to offer rewards for dollars spent. The reward isn’t huge (a discount off their next service, or their choice of gift card) but it gives me an opportunity to be in touch with the clients who are spending the most money on my services, and appreciate their desire to do business with me. Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged?