For some reason, many companies believe that marketing ends once a prospect becomes a customer. However, this should never be the case. If you think about it, marketing to potential customers is a series of actions that a company performs to gain the customers’ trust and show them the value of the company. So, why on earth would you stop doing this after they’ve given you their business?
In fact, I would argue that marketing should increase in quality once the client is firmly in your camp. The reason to do so is to create brand evangelists, or the clients that love your product so much they discuss it with everyone.
The inverted funnel
Almost everyone has seen a sales funnel. It’s a representation that shows lots of leads coming into the top and a smaller number of customers dripping out the bottom.
But where do those customers go once they drip out of the bottom? Most companies just put them into a customer-relationship management platform and will occasionally blast them with a newsletter or try to upsell them when sales are slow. This is not the way to go, as valuable dollars remain on the line.
I suggest that there should be an inverted funnel that is just as critical as the sales funnel: The client nurturing funnel.
This funnel focuses on nurturing your clients into brand evangelists. When done correctly, this funnel can actually generate more revenue — and higher quality revenue — than the traditional sales funnel.
Here is why.
I’ve discussed in other articles how you should be generating high quality content to share with your potential customers. That same content should have just as much value to your current client base. It may require you to modify the verbiage or graphics slightly, but the message should hold value for your contacts, whether they’re a potential client or an existing client. It should solve a problem for your clients and potential clients. It should build your expertise and give value whether they use your services or not.
A few tools to accomplish this:
eBooks. These can be shared via email with your existing customer base and go a long way in building the relationship with your clients and making them view you as an authority.
Webinars. These are one of the best tools for endearing your company to your customer base. Not only do they get to put a face to the company, but you’re sharing with them valuable information and allowing them to interact with you through a Q&A format.
Social chats. Allowing prospective and existing clients to ask you questions via social media is a great way to generate leads and nurture your customer base. You can perform these on Twitter by telling everyone to use a certain hashtag when they ask a question. On Facebook and LinkedIn, this can be performed with post comments back and forth.
These tactics (and others) help with client nurturing. The goal of this sort of relationship is to make your product an essential part of your client’s work day: They should find it impossible to live without your product or service. This could eventually lead to a brand evangelist, a loyal customer that will use your product anywhere and everywhere. And telling everyone about it.
They’ll sell them on the benefits and value without ever having to consult you. And before you know it, you’ll begin receiving unsolicited sales calls from these organizations. The potential client will know all about you and the time to close the sale will be shortened dramatically.
Client nurturing doesn’t require a large commitment to capital or content. Much of the content that you’ll be using should already be created for your outbound marketing. All you need to do is tweak it to focus on your existing customers. And to get the word out, you can utilize a marketing automation tool that allows you to create and schedule email campaigns. Some options for this are: HubSpot, Infusionsoft, and Drip.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com, and was written by Mike Templeman, the CEO of Foxtail Marketing.