Creating a business that experiences long-term success through different cycles and as times change within a sector of the economy is hard enough, so ensuring that you keep your clients or customers around by effectively communicating with them is essential in my experience. But what is effective communication? What should I talk about, and how often should I send clients messages and updates?
There are many benefits of strong communication, including improved reputation and trustworthiness. If your company is service-based, client communication is especially important and can impact your company’s success over the years. Fortunately, communication can be simple. Here are three strategies that can help you understand how to best communicate with your list or roster of clients.
1. Don’t overdo it — find the right frequency for your communication.
Respect your clients’ time and treat them how you’d like to be treated. Do you want an email every day with little or no relevant information? I’ve observed that this strategy has become very commonplace. A firm that touts a “best offer ever” every week can negatively impact their professionalism and reputation in short order.
Some salespeople will say that it’s a numbers game so you need to reach the greatest amount of people and send your information as much as possible in order to gain a sale or two, but in my experience those are not the customers who will stick around and come to you for long-term advice.
2. Add a personal touch.
Framing your communication from a specific person, like the CEO, a vice president or other leader, can help your clients identify with your company and feel like they are being spoken to on a human level, but you can also add a personal touch for effective communication another way. I recommend to always talk about projects that clients have bought into or products that you sell that made the news — this way you are connecting your communication to your core business and something the client is actually involved with. Clients will likely be personally interested in what you are saying because it’s about them.
For example, my company has been selling pre-construction real estate for more than 20 years, so when we publish a client report or send an update email, we make sure to talk about projects that our clients have bought into and are part of their investment portfolio. If we can give them some information on what is happening with a project where they purchased a unit, it can help them feel more personally connected and engaged as a client. That can lead to follow-up calls and relationship improvement.
3. Take your time to remain relevant.
As you continually review client data (whether demographic or purchase history data) to better understand your clients, and as you look to craft a client communication, ensure that you have a working knowledge of everything that your business has to offer, what you stand for and what you can say that will be relevant to your client base.
In addition to my first point about not spamming your clients, being relevant means not rushing to get something out because you haven’t communicated with clients in a few days or weeks. Avoid providing unrelated content or filler because you feel like you need a touchpoint.
For example, my company sends out two messages to our clients per quarter, and we feel that is our sweet spot. Each business will have their own sweet spot, and it’s okay to work a bit to find what that cadence is. As you are planning your content, if you find you don’t have enough to say that is current, relevant and personal, then you don’t need to send it out. Planning your content on a schedule can help you to find your best timing.
A little planning can go a long way when it comes to how often you communicate with your client base and what content to provide for maximum engagement and relevance. Along with content planning, I suggest assessing what the norms and standards are in your particular industry and deciding where you want to fit in. Do you want to be the company that communicates less or more often? Do you want to be the firm that communicates with content curated specifically for your client group or with the content that is easiest to gather? In my opinion, effective communication is relevant, topical, entertaining and frequent enough to keep clients engaged with your firm but not overwhelming their inboxes.