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Marketing on a tight budget: Engage your clients

Part 2 of a 4-part series

There are a number of clever ways that you can undertake marketing activities on a tight budget. Here is Part 2 of a 4-part series which discusses simple, effective marketing tips themed under four key areas: Find new clients, Engage your clients, Impress your clients and Retain your clients. The following tips are quick and inexpensive marketing ideas. Enjoy the second instalment of our 4-part series.

No client wants to feel like they are just a nameless, faceless entity that only represents a sale. With a few clever strategies in place you can make sure your clients feel suitably engaged with and equally, you can create opportunities where they can engage with you on a deeper level.  Always keep your communications interesting and be mindful of the frequency with which you contact clients - some folk want to be contacted often; for other clients 2-3 times a year is plenty, depending on their needs and buying cycle.

  1. First and foremost - get to know your clients and their requirements really well. Think about weaving informal questionnaires into the regular sales meetings your sales team have with their clients (just make sure the questions feel natural and record the responses with a couple of bullet points or after the meeting has finished) i.e. What do you think about this social media thing? What applications do you guys use? Or gauge some insight into what business concerns they have that you might be able to provide a suitable solution. If you don’t have a sales team, look at sending out a short online survey and start building an accurate picture of any problems that keep your clients up at night. Just make sure you capture this information into a centralised database, so it doesn’t get wasted and look at how you can action the items you have isolated in monthly team meetings.

  2. Talk to your clients. Get to know their buying cycle and map out opportunities when to call or email them for both business reasons and non-business reasons. It may be to invite them to a self-run or co-branded networking event or something similar that might be of interest. It’s always good to pencil in times when people are a bit more relaxed, if the call is partly social in nature, the Friday before a long weekend or the Tuesday after everyone’s back at work is a good time to have an informal chat. Just keep in mind that some personalities prefer not to engage in non-business dialogue and incorporate that into your approach. If you have a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system, make sure you keep any relevant information i.e. client only likes to be contact 2 times per year by phone where you can easily find it.

  3. Create fun opportunities to participate in with your clients. Here is one great informal example that grabbed some attention last year. For Melbourne Cup Day, a supplier’s company designed a visually stunning email where they had hand-picked a horse for each of their clients and had 3 fabulous prizes - one of which was a $350 bottle of Grange Shiraz. How excited and happy was I to be in that draw! It had a personal touch and I felt immediately included in that community. I thought about my lucky dip horse and that company during the race and the entire marketing campaign probably only cost the company around $600 in total. Just make sure you check with the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing  [http://www.olgr.nsw.gov.au/promos_home.asp] so that you know the government’s guidelines when it comes to running competitions. 

Some examples of non-work opportunities to involve or contact clients might be:

  1. Chinese New Year (January)
  2. Easter long weekend (April)
  3. Close of Fringe Benefits tax year (April)
  4. Celebrating End of Financial Year (July)
  5. Spring (September)
  6. Melbourne Cup (November)
  7. Christmas (December)
  1. E-alerts are fantastic for letting your clients know you are on top of issues that affect their industry. You can segregate your mailing list into industry specific areas and tailor your email alerts to that industry. If your clients’ industries vary greatly, create an EDM that’s specifically geared to their interests and create a number of different versions with different topics.

  2. Aside from crafting a message that’s relevant to your clients, if you don’t want to waste the opportunity, it’s important to create a visually stunning EDM (email direct marketing) that will impress your audience. You will create a much better impact if you give them something visually impressive to kick-start your dialogue with them. If you’re particularly time-poor you may opt to stagger your e-campaign sends. Quality is much more important than quantity if you actually want your clients to read the information you send them.

  3. Writing e-newsletters while a little more time-consuming that e-alerts is another great way to get your company’s services and brand in front of your clients regularly. Just make sure your articles are short and snappy! You will turn your readers off completely if there is too much copy or if the topics are ho-hum. Map out topics up to 12 months ahead and consider hiring a copywriter to write or proof your content or a graphic designer to create a dynamic e-newsletter template. (ABCS can help you with this.)

  4. Consider undertaking research for a white paper once or twice a year. Think about issues that your clients might like or need to know more about - sometimes it can also be a way of pre-launching information to your clients by getting them involved in the process from the beginning by asking for their opinion on specific products or issues.

  5. SMS alerts are a very inexpensive way to contact clients but just make sure that the message is appropriate. Letting them know you have a Spring Special with 50% off beauty treatments is appropriate; informing them that their favourite salesperson has been replaced with someone new is not. If you’re unsure which communication vehicle is appropriate, always put yourself in the shoes of your clients.

  6. You may be looking at launching into Social Media for the first time. Using a combination of Social Media tools and channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs, offers the opportunity to increase your digital footprint, improve your website’s search engine ranking and establish a social marketing presence that allows you to begin creating communities around your product or service offerings. Make your communication a two-way street wherever possible and always respond in a timely manner.

Claire Chandler is a Senior Marketing Consultant with Australian Business Consulting & Solutions Marketing team. If you have any questions, please contact her on 02 9458 7785 or claire.chandler@australianbusiness.com.au

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