About 5 years ago I was trying hard to figure out how to market my web development business. We had a stable business with repeat customers but not a great deal of growth. I had a list of email addresses but no realistic plan to take advantage of the list.
At the same time I was actively trying to improve some of the technology we used in the company. Specifically we were trying to get our phone service away from the legacy phone company so we could get the financial and technical benefits of newer technology that was disrupting the phone business.
In the process of changing our phone system, we had a phone outage that lasted more than a full day. What a pain! How much business was I missing?
Once I gave up on ranting and raving with my vendor, I decided on a course of action. I put together a simple email essentially saying that our phones were down and why. In the email I acknowledged the problem and reassure them that if they tried to call but failed is was a technical glitch and we were still here and want to hear from them.
The result of that simple email broadcast was astounding. We got 3 new projects.
I got email replys like:
“Thanks for your email. I was just thinking about a project I need your help with.”
“Please call me. We need some help”
“Do you guys do stuff like getting more traffic to my website?”
I eventually realised that I had not been doing a great job of staying in front of my existing customers but they were out there with problems that needed to be solved.
The thing I learned from this episode is that even though my team and I are on the job every day, most people out there are only aware of us when we communicate. Staying in touch with your customers and prospects on a regular basis is critical to success and growth in a small business.