written by john c ashworth
There is VAST Difference between a list and a tribe
First, let's get one thing straight. I can almost guarantee you're not leveraging your house list the way you could be for maximium engagement and sales. Surprising as it might sound, most businesses fail miserably at this.
Well, we could spend a lot of time on that question so let me just identify for you what I believe to be the top three reasons.
- You're just too busy and/or you don't have the expertise and don't even know where to begin. Not having time is not an OK excuse, but I do understand it. The truth is, however, that there is simply no more important thing you could be doing right now than cultivating your existing lists. There is almost always a ton of low-hanging fruit there that you can easily pluck to help boost your numbers.
- You don't even know where to begin. The idea sounds good to you, but you really don't know where to start, and the idea feels too overwhelming as a result. So, you end up back at #1 above. Not enough time, and no idea where to begin.
- You just can't see the benefits of doing this yet. And you're too focused on acquiring new customers, rather than cultivating existing ones. It's more exciting. In spite of the fact that once someone buys from you, they're a whole lot more likely to buy again and produce more sales. Which also means that it costs you a whole lot less to market to these folks and get them to buy, than it does to try and acquire brand new customers. You should certainly be doing both, but in the process of cultivating existing customers, you will find that you need less new customers to grow your business over time.
Remember too, that when done right, a printed newsletter actually sent to your customers' mailboxes is one of the easiest ways to start cultivating your list, driving more sales, and building your tribe.
This brings us back to the statement I made at the beginning. The massive difference that exists between a list and a tribe. Because until you get to work really cultivating the relationships you have started with both customers and list members, they will not engage in a way that allows you to build a real tribe.
You can test this idea very easily if you want to…
Set up the same email broadcast and send separately to your customers, and then to everyone else.
Look at the open rates of the emails.
The difference will be significant. Your customers and more engaged list members will open your stuff more often, read and consume more of the information, and over time build a stronger and stronger affinity toward you and your business. They will be well on their way to becoming part of your tribe. And tribe members are extremely valuable.
Lastly, I should also point out that while I'm using email in my example above, it is important to use all media that make sense for your business and direct-mail is required as one of these channels.
You can't and shouldn't try to do it just one way. Your results will suffer. You will be far less affective, and more likely to abandon the idea because it's not totally working as well as you want it to.
Once again, as a starting point, start with a printed postcard newsletter, weekly email broadcasts, and periodic telephone calls and/or personal letters to customers. Yes, these calls will take some time, but there is likely no better investment you can make inside your business right now.
Got enough to do now?
If what I'm saying to you is beginning to resonate and instinctively seems to make sense to you and you just don't know where to begin, there are a number of ways I can help you. Just send me a note and we'll tawk.