How To Use Promotional Products To Grow With Target Accounts

If you read this blog on the regular, you might be thinking something like this.  “Okay I get that you need to retain customers (we talk about that here). I understand you need to grow within your current client base. But at some point you need to get new customers to grow as well!”  

You’re right.  Now more than ever…we need to find new ways to create new revenue.

So let’s focus on that now…with Target Accounts. I think this is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business.

Promotional products are most effectively used when they are targeted.

That is why this concept works so well. Let’s start with the concept.

First, you want to create your “target” list. I have also heard this referred to as the Dream list, Bullseye List, and Bucket List. Regardless of the name, you want to create the list of 100 perfect prospects for your company. These are the exact kinds of clients you want to do business with. I base this list on a number of factors. They include proximity, kinds of businesses, reputation for payment, culture and more. You are going to know the factors that are important for your ideal customer. This is the kind of customer where successfully getting just one of them, will quickly affect your sales numbers!  If you want to dig into this more, check out our free 5 day marketing course.

This is a powerful step for a couple of reasons.

First, as I just said, this Target Customer is the kind who can REALLY impact your sales. They have the wherewithal to purchase what you are selling…in big numbers. Second, it is MUCH more cost effective to market to 100 people than it is 10,000! You can be much more personal, targeted, and relentless!

Now, DO take the time to get them on paper (or in your CRM if you use one). When getting them recorded, make sure to include all the pertinent contact information. This will keep you from “creating reasons” not to follow up. You will have all the information at your fingertips…so no reason not to call!

By the way, this first step is a huge one. Take some time and don’t skimp on the information. You will be glad you have it right in the long run.

Now that you have your list it’s time to create your plan.

I recommend breaking your Target list of 100 into more manageable numbers, like 5 or ten at a time. This does a couple things. First, by breaking the numbers down, you make the list more reasonable to follow up with. In addition, once you have gone through the first 5 (all the way through the process) you have your next 5 all ready to go. You will be glad you did. On more than one occasion I have made the list of only 5, and then when I got through it, got stalled because I had to start the “target list” all over.

Once you have the Target List created, it’s time to make the impact with these great potential customers with promotional products! Now it’s time to have some fun.

If you have chosen wisely (and in this case, I mean big!) you will need to understand that these are clients that most people would want! So they probably have “everyone” marketing and selling to them. That’s the bad news. The good news is, most people are being lazy when reaching out. They are sending letters, or cold calling or some other “shot in the dark” sales technique.

Since you don’t want to blend in with the other wannabes, you need to create a creative campaign that will stand out. I recommend a “three tier” campaign for that. This means you will send 3 creative mailers—one after another—until the follow up.

You really need to stand out here. Don’t just send a letter. If you want fantastic results, you need to set out to make a fantastic impact.

Let’s go through a fictitious example:

Let’s say my friend Bill has a Home Improvement store that focuses on carpet and paint. Though he certainly wants every “do it your-selfer” to think of him, he can make larger sales AND repeat sales if he focuses his marketing efforts on contractors. They are in the market for his products over and over. So Bill might make his Target List starting with contractors he wants to do business with.

This is when the project can really be fun. Here are some ideas for mailers that he might send:

Mailer 1

He sends a box with a nice measuring tape with his stores logo and phone number on it. It would need to be a nice one if he is sending it to a contractor. They won’t appreciate junk on something like that! With the measuring tape he might include a letter asking if their current supplier is “measuring up” on service and price. He might include other verbiage about having “room for growth,” and their specialty being the “height of service.” You get the idea. Have some fun to tie the letter to the item.

Mailer 2

In the second mailer, Bill might send a Giant Pencil. This is really designed to get his attention and make them smile. The letter might include something about “penciling him in for a meeting” or “having trouble finding time to source carpet.” You really want to get the clients raising eyebrows here.

Mailer 3

Finally he might send a nice travel mug with an offer to buy him a cup of coffee. In the letter, explain how you know they are “on the go” and you respect their time. Bill might also promise to keep the business relationship “hot” by giving leads back to the contractor. Then it’s time to let the prospect know that Bill will be following up (if they haven’t called already).  Tell them your intention here.  Don’t beat around the bush.

Now you might be thinking, “Wow! This is a lot of money to throw at one prospect.” And you are right. This is probably $40 to $50 per prospect here. But you also need to remember that these are clients that can spend thousands and thousands each and every year. So their impact can be well worth it. It’s also worth noting that you are not going to spend this much chasing each customer…just the Target list!

Now the procedure becomes simple.

First, choose your 3 to 5 first Target Accounts. (Make it a number you KNOW you can follow up with). I tend to choose them based on the ones I am most excited about working with the soonest. This will give me the most motivation to get this process rolling.

Second, once you have chosen the Targets, send out the mailers. I tend to space them out a week apart. This is a bit of a long sales cycle. But it ensures that they will have time to digest the message, even if they are out on vacation, business travel, etc.

Third, just like any business process, the fortune is in the follow up! You must work the phones now to get your appointments with the Target List. If you have done these mailers right (and been creative) you will have a great deal of success.

Be bull-headed in your follow up though.

You have invested a lot of money on these prospects! Work hard to get some time in front them now!

If you have chosen wisely on your promotional items and your themes, you will not only have made an immediate impact with your Target list, but you will also have the chance to have long term advertising with them as well!

If you want more information on how you can use Promotional Products To Grow With Target Accounts, please head here to learn more about us.  Or just skip that step and head here to schedule a time to chat.

Branded Merchandise for Banks and Credit Unions

If you work in the world of Finance, you know that marketing to your clients can be different.  Whether you are marketing a bank, a credit union, or another organization in the financial world, the issue is real.  You probably have experienced both successes and failures in promoting your organization.  So we have enlisted our Financial Marketing specialist Kelly Bowe for a few things to consider when creating branded merchandise for banks and credit unions.

Choose a Signature pen that is just “YOURS.”

Select a pen that no other financial institution in the area uses and stick with it.  Eventually the customer won’t even need to read the imprint, they know this pen is yours.  Customers come to count on receiving your “signature” pen when they see you at an expo or outing.

Our most recent popular pens are the Antibacterial pens.  They have an additive applied in the production cycle to ensure safety.  The stylus pen also allows the customers to use the stylus for touching credit card machines, pushing button on elevators and more.

An executive style pen is also appreciated when your customers sign loans or contracts.  The executive pen you choose will need to offer blue ink for signing official forms.   Formal vinyl envelopes can be a nice touch when presenting your customer with their closing documents.

A Calendar Is Functional and (Still) Valuable

One of the most popular and appreciated gifts you can give your customer is a calendar.  Some people will say that they have their calendar on their phones; however, they still have a wall calendar, desk calendar or pocket calendar they refer to for appointments and references.   A calendar provides 12 months of exposure to your brand and is always valued by your customers.  If you are not convinced, just remember that your customers are heading to the mall and buying calendars each year in November and December.  You have the ability to provide that value AND promote your brand on their wall if you choose.

Don’t Forget the VIP’s

Having a few high-level gifts on hand is essential.  These nice gifts can be used in place of flowers for an employee family funeral, a retirement, a get well soon message or given as an on-board gift for a new employee.   Wind chimes are a thoughtful and treasured gift.  They have a magical sound and high perceived value.   You could create a universal message for the wind catcher that can be used for all occasions.  These wind chimes are tuned by masters to produce 6 distinct, rich notes.  They are finished with a black powder-coating to prevent rust.

Regardless of the specific high end gift (and we can help you decide) we are believers in creating a high perceived value and choosing something that is very functional.  That not only makes  your customer understand that they are really valued and they see the item and branding over and over.

Let’s Talk about Kiddos!

Let’s not forget the children.  Think about one of the simple McDonald’s marketing strategies behind the Happy Meal.  Take care of the children, and the parents will follow.  A reading book, coloring book or piggy bank will excite the children every time.  The best part about marketing your services to children is you have the chance to help them create good saving and spending habits that will follow them throughout their lives!

If you are in the financial market and need ideas to help promote your brand, please let us know.  We would love to help!  Learn more here.  

How to Use Promotional Products to Improve Customer Retention

Let’s start with a statistic. It will really make you think.

Studies show that 69% of customers that leave you (as a customer, donor, supporter, etc.) do so because of “perceived indifference.” They will leave you because they simply don’t think you care.

Seriously, think about that. Nearly 7 out of 10 lost customers come down to the fact that you didn’t show them that you gave a crap about them.

Customer Loyalty—The Stakes are High, But It’s in Your Control

This statistic both frightens and excites me.

On one hand, it means that my customers could leave me because I have just been careless and lazy. It means that if I am not careful, my competitors could swoop in and take my revenue…just by caring more!  Am I doing enough to show my customers, regularly, that I sincerely appreciate their business? Are you? The question itself seems scary.

And yet, on the other hand, it is an entirely fixable (and improvable) situation. If I am not doing enough to show them, I can fix it! It is totally within my power to do so. That’s a good thing. I don’t have to wait for some cosmic shift in the economy, or some other outside force to change. This is something I can fix all by myself. I just need to care more, and then follow through with actions to demonstrate that I care.

Create Systems to Improve Customer Loyalty

On the third hand (is that even possible?) I see this statistic about perceived indifference as an opportunity. It means that most businesses—and likely my competitors—are NOT caring enough about their current customers. That means I (and now you) can create systems that allow you to gain market share…through caring! How cool is that?

So how do we do it?

Let’s talk about two very concrete ways to ensure your customers always know you appreciate them.

Two Strategies for Customer Retention

Start a Habit of Sending Thank You Cards

It’s funny. Sometimes the things that make a big difference in your customer’s eyes are the simplest.

  • Send your customers a card on their birthday.
  • Send them thank you cards for their business.
  • Send them a holiday card.
  • Send them a thanksgiving card.

Most people open their mail standing over the trash can, because all we get are bills and junk mail. A heartfelt thank you card really stands out.

The reason most people don’t send out cards regularly is they lack a system.

Let’s face it; most of us have good intentions. But those intentions go out the window when we can’t find the right kind of card, or we can’t find a stamp, or we don’t have the person’s address.

We need to schedule a specific time each day (or week) that we send out cards. One of my favorite practices is to try to create a reason to send out at least one thank you card each day. Sometimes I send a card to thank a customer for a purchase they made. Sometimes I send one to someone who helped me. It’s a fantastic practice.

Two things will happen. First, your customers will NEVER think you don’t appreciate them. And second, you will have a better attitude about life. If you spend every day trying to find something to be thankful for—guess what—you will become more grateful. That’s not a bad side benefit for doing something to help you increase your business!  Now let’s talk about how to create customer retention with promotional products.

Send Quarterly “Thank You” Gifts to your Best Customers

If you are like most businesses, 20% of your customers or clients produce 80% of your sales. It’s not a universal rule, but it is surprising how often it is true.

So those 20% are the clients you REALLY want to show that you care. So, in addition to sending them a birthday card, a thanksgiving card, and thank you cards, you want to reach out with something extra special at least once a quarter.

Start by establishing a budget.

How much are you willing to spend over the course of a year in order to say “thank you” to these top clients? Remember, these clients are your bread and butter. This is probably not the time to go cheap. How much you can afford to spend retaining your best clients will be different for every business, but, in my experience, you don’t have to break the bank.

Figured out how much you’re able to spend per year, per top client? Now, just for argument’s sake, let’s assume this number is $100 per year. That is, you’ve determined that it’s worth it to your business to spend $100 over the course of a year to say thank you to these top clients. Divide your number by 4. This means you have $25 per quarter to create some sort of gift to give to these clients.

This is more than just a nice gesture. This promotional gift shows your appreciation for them, and it also showcases your logo, reminding them each and every time they use the gift that you are a great company to work with! The trick is to tailor the gifts to your audience.

Start a quarterly thank you gift program and you’re now “touching” these clients 4 more times a year with a tangible, useful piece of appreciation.

A Plan for Thanking Your Best Customers with Awesome Promotional Products

How does this work? Let’s give you an example. Let’s say you are an insurance agent who has a wide variety of customers. You have business professionals, farmers, families and more.

This diverse group of customers gives you an idea of things you do and don’t want to give. So, your quarterly gifts might look like this:

Quarter 1: Roadside Safety Flashlight. This makes sense because you are not only promoting your brand, but you are showing you care about your client on the road.

Quarter 2High End Travel Mug and Cooler Bag. This is a cool combo because your clients might be thinking of vacations or road trips for the warmer months. Great way to remind them that you are with them through the miles and smiles!

Quarter 3BBQ Set. At this point they will be in barbecue season with tailgating just around the corner.

Quarter 4Executive Calendar and Tumbler. These two gifts are sure to stand out in the office and the home.

Obviously, these are just a few ideas to get you thinking. There are thousands and thousands of options. But these are some cool things that transcend generations and gender.

Streamlining the Process of Ordering Promotional Products

Also, here’s a quick tip to make this easier for you.

Call your promotional products consultant (that’s us!) and tell them your plans. We’ll help you find the perfect products that fit your budget and will be genuinely appreciated by each of your top customers. To make it even easier, consider ordering all four quarterly products at once. Have them shipped to you about a month before you need them, which allows you to spread out the cost over the year.

Pre-ordering for the whole year, “poof!” creates a reminder system for you, so you remember it’s time to say “thanks” again to your best clients. When the boxes arrive it’s time to start!

There are lots of ways to thank your clients, to kick the problem of perceived indifference to the curb, and to spread marketing joy all year round.

Get creative to and have some fun thanking your customers. You will be glad you did!

This post is an adapted excerpt from my book, Delivering Marketing Joy. 

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