Keep Clients From Leaving in a Dire Economy

Your customers are tempted to include your business in their cost-cutting efforts. Act now to offer extra value, adopting a method that won’t cost you more.  In fact, it often reduces overhead. Two rival businesses are using it.

The Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post will offer their readers stories from both papers. The Sun will "tap the Post’s federal government coverage" and The Washington Post will carry the Sun’s regional coverage. Consequently, the newspapers can cut overhead and "benefit from each others expertise."  And readers have a new reason to remain subscribers.

Evoke this Value Multiplier Effect by forging partnerships with others who serve your kind of customer. You can deepen customer loyalty and become the top-of-mind choice for more customers and media coverage.

Helpful Tips Always Trump Advertising

Keep customers by sharing content in other ways. Collectively you gain more credibility and visibility and usually reduce costs for attracting customers. The locally-owned Michigan businesses and non-profits in this story, for example, could become more well-known than their competitors by co-creating a Hot Tips sheet, perhaps called "How to Live Well at Home as You Age."  The company that acts first in recruiting partners, ensures that it gets included: Bissell Homecare, Williams Kitchen and Bath, The Right Place and Disability Advocates.

Plus partners could invite national groups like Whirlpool, GE, Lowes, home remodelers   and others to share this tip sheet, thus creating a fresh news hook for more local and national media, blogging and other coverage.

How to Co-create and Distribute Popular Hot Tips

Recruit other reputable business owners that serve the same kind of customer that you serve. As in the Michigan story, include non-profits such as civic, cause or other membership groups or even government agencies.  Variety in kinds of partners builds credibility and interest.

Pick a hot topic that reflects a strong interest or need or familiar situation faced by your mutual market of customers – and that includes tips that highlight the benefits of all partners’ organizations.  Get a professional writer to interview you to cull tips and write a draft for your collective review.  Or one of the partners could write a draft that a professional editor hones for final agreement by all partners. At the end of the tips, include a very brief description (not advertisement) of each partner and contact information.

Reach more customers more often by offering the tips in more formats. Video each other and happy customers, demonstrating and discussing the tips at various locations including at your business. Post the text, audio and video versions of your tips on all partners’ web sites or blogs and post online. At your physical locations display and give away the print versions, show the video on a wall screen.

In this way you:

• Gain a warmed-up introduction to each other’s customers.

• May offer more value than your competitors.

• Inspire more customers to refer their friends.

• Become a top-of-mind expert for future media stories that cover your kind of work.

For more ideas on profitable ways to partner read proven methods offered by Jeff Slutsky and Ed Rigsbee and in my book, Walk Your Talk, and past posts.

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