How To Milk More Revenues From Your Customer Base

Anne Daniells
Posted on May 26, 2016

Nick Cavarra emphasized the need to stay in touch with prospects using basic phone calls. 

Nick Cavarra emphasized the need to stay in touch with prospects using basic phone calls. 

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — As Nick Cavarra walked out in front of a packed room at the 2016 International LCT Show in Las Vegas, he said there was so much more to talk about than a list of 60 things to grow a list of dedicated, engaged customers.

First, Cavarra introduced himself by reminding the crowd that he was the “zit boy” for the old Clearasil television ads. His baby-faced image, however, belies this tremulous rough-cheeked beginning. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, attend the University of Southern California, and even perform in and produce Broadway musical theater.

Now, as the owner of Social Punch Marketing in Southern California, he uses his marketing passion and public persona through digital and social marketing with a specialized knowledge of constant contact email marketing software abilities and applications.

The old adage about “milking the cow you have” is true. Better to keep and get more revenue from the customers you already have than to spin your wheels getting small responses to expensive, shotgun ads to find new clients. Social marketing is “engagement marketing,” said Cavarra, “because 90% of business comes from current customers, 9% from referrals, and only 1% are truly new clients.” Keeping the conversation going with current customers brings in the 9% referrals. Ads to draw in the 1% may work, but the costs usually outweigh the benefits. Social marketing offers lower costs and greater returns.

Building the Perfect Data-Beast
Building a database without all the pieces in place puts the cart before the horse. Get the working parts in order first. This means planning promotions, budgets, and the resources to implement a successful program.

  • Prepare a monthly holiday and event calendar, and then use the seasons and holidays for targeted marketing. Start working on a social media schedule of planned posts, conversations, and specials that could be useful to the members of your database.
  • Sign up and begin to manage social media sites Instagram, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for starters. Know how to navigate in each medium.
  • Fine tune your website. This is where all social media traffic will be funneled and where you will shine brightly, so make sure it’s flexible, responsive, mobile friendly, and loaded with an email capture on the first page — before prospects dig into your site.
  • Enrich your customer profiles by training phone and reservation staff to collect birthday and anniversary dates for existing clients, and always collect the basics from cold callers: name, cell phone and email. These calls are hot prospects already looking and ready to buy. Get their information every time.

Where Social Media Meets Up
The goal of social media is to get conversations started among viewers. Because it takes an average of seven “touches” or contacts with a prospect before they buy from you, the variety of social contact and the timing must be consistent so the names and valued clients in the database will do the talking and sharing for you. Your job is to get the conversation going in ways that drive referrals and increase the amount of spending from existing customers.

Make this happen within several key areas. One good conversation can be shared on all social media platforms and used many times over. “Repurpose and reuse your messages,” Cavarra suggested. “A single YouTube video should include a link to every other social media platform. It becomes an email blast, a tweet with a link to your website, and a Facebook post, too.” A single effort will receive broader visibility when recycled efficiently using several tools:

  • Websites. A website shows professionalism, captures names and emails and showcases specialty services. Be thorough by including short blogs, photos, videos, media share options — all in mobile-friendly formats.
  • Blog. When the conversation is relevant, you become the expert to consult. Share some knowledge about travel, local events, and ways to save money booking.
  • Social media. Videos are king for getting shares and comments, but use everything to drive traffic to your website.
  • Paid social media. When this fits in the budget, target it to the ready eyes and ears you already have so it pays off.
  • Email marketing. Cavarra’s “rule of 2+2+2” means you have two seconds with two words to make a reader do something today. When it shows up on other platforms, the response rate will skyrocket.
  • PR/article/speaker marketing. Write something useful in an email newsletter or in a press release to share company news. Address a travel manager group or present at a bridal fair. Then tweet, take photos, post updates and spread the word yet again.
  • Niche marketing. An operator who specializes in weddings or funerals will want to do all these things and also add in targeted emails to those in niche markets. Or partner with a local business that has similar clients. An event venue can promote chauffeured transportation while you promote them online, too. Just ask.

Sustaining Momentum
If you’ve polished up your database, you can easily stay connected on a very personal level. All the social media tricks do not mean you can ignore the personal touch, though. Since keeping a client is so much easier and cheaper than replacing a lost one, value what you have. Even automation can be a friend in this arena. Using your rich database to send automated messages via email or text wishing clients a happy birthday or anniversary is more personal and reminds them they have celebrating to do (for which they will think of having a chauffeur).

A valued customer will spread the word to others on the social media you provide and in other ways. Giving them good things to say should be easy. Engaging them is pretty easy, too, with simple actions to solidify a real, talking, relationship, but Cavarra also suggests going a little “old school” to stand out.

Maybe send something unexpected after the trip is complete. Inexpensive and simple things can cement a blooming relationship. Inexpensive, popular items include nail files, hand sanitizer, and cell phone stands. It’s unexpected and gets another conversation started, even if it’s just with work associates who are all prospective referrals. Or how about a card? A real, handwritten thank-you note? As the world tires of some technology, the tried and true methods work wonders. If it’s a local company or client, drop by the office. Return items left in vehicles in person on the way home. All are simple courtesies that stand heads above the pre-typed “thank you” at the bottom of the automatically mailed invoice. Be real and get personal.

Most marketing and promotions are considered successful with a 1% to 2% response rate. But if you follow-up on new customers, it will pay off exponentially. The goal is to get a client in the car a second time. The relationship becomes more solid in measureable ways. “27% of first time customers will ride with you again,” Cavarra said. Of those, 45% will ride a third time, and of those, 54% will ride regularly.” That adds up to more than 6% of first-time riders becoming advocates and referral sources if you can get them back in your vehicle a second time.

Add to that the way longer-term clients spend, and the conversation you start can mean real dollars. 90% of clients are average spenders, Cavarra said. But the top 9% spend 300% more than the average passenger. And the top customers spend 500% more on each trip although they only represent 1% of all passengers. “It is more productive to develop fewer big spenders than it is to keep finding large numbers of average clients,” Cavarra said.

So start the conversation. Spread it around so others’ comments and social media sharing do the work for you. Get the passengers coming back, and your unblemished database will create the foundation for elite customers and revenue far into the future.

Nick Cavarra can be reached at, @Ncavarra and [email protected]

Related Topics: building your clientele, business growth, client markets, customer service, How To, ILCT 2016, industry education, marketing/promotions, revenue growth, revenues, Sales & Marketing, social media marketing

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