Attention spans seem to be one of those decreasing things in LIFE…so of course keeping your audience engaged, paying attention, and interacting with you – is extremely important.
But it doesn't have to be difficult if you use some common sense and use the same rules you might be using to stay in touch your friends & family.
I know you want to reach new people…and you should always be widening your reach, building your list…especially because more of the right people on your list will hopefully bring you more of the right people buying your products and services.
But what about keeping your current customers and audience engaged?
What can you say to your audience even when you're not launching and on a regular basis that helps them stick with you – no matter what.
If you want ride or day fans, friends, customers, long term relationships, you've got to connect with them even when the doors to your flagship program aren't open….even when you think you've got nothing to “share” with them.
So, let me tell you a story…
So, you may notice this is one that's a few years old for me, but I wanted to revisit the topic for you, share some new insights…
When I first moved to Seattle, I went on a bit of an epic quest looking for the right pilates studio.
And I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a hard case customer – because I used to be a pilates instructor. I know there's nothing worse than someone who thinks they know it all or what’s good for them.
I’m a pain. I get that.
But I try to be low key about that fact and not demanding. In fact it only takes a little extra TLC to make me a customer for life.
So – back to the search for the perfect pilates studios.
I’ve tried a few places over the first 2 years living in the Seattle area, but for many reasons, I never stuck to a place….or found my forever pilates home.
All nice studios. All well trained instructors who knew their craft.
But I never quite got what I wanted.
And I thought – is that my fault for not asking? Did I expect too much? Or is it their fault for not listening or asking me?
I immediately flashback to when I was an instructor. What did I do to keep my clients happy? Was their something special I did to keep them coming back for more?
While I didn’t do it fully on purpose, the answer is yes.
I always aimed to do a few key things no matter if I was teaching a large class of people or a small group >>> it all came down to connecting and acknowledging each person and doing so on a regular basis.
Now – even though I no longer teach pilates – I aim to do the same exact thing with everyone that crosses my business path.
And – as a customer – I do expect that same type of acknowledgement.
Repeat Business Is EASIER to get than new business
Once you have established a relationship with someone – especially with things like business coaching, personal training, very personal and intimate relationships are born.
Don’t take those relationships for granted. Keep it simple, but make sure to hit upon a few touchpoints in order to keep them happy (returning) customers).
Here are 3 things your customers need to hear you say regularly – whether you're launching or not:
1. “Hey, I haven't seen you in awhile! How are you doing?”
You have to pay attention when they don’t show up or you haven’t seen them.
You might think it’s crazy to check in on the quiet students, but those people can give you the most insight into why you haven’t heard from them.
Yes – it takes a little extra effort – and no it might not lead to sales, but if you’ve only got money on the mind instead of impact/value/service, then you’re headed down a losing path anyways. If you haven’t seen someone in the studio, speak up in class, whatever, call them!
Some of the studios I attended never called me to say – “Hey, is everything going okay?” These studios were not so busy that they couldn’t have just picked up the phone and invited me to a new class or just asked how things were going. If they had – I would have returned to their studio!
And the proof is that I am still on the hunt for that perfect pilates studio.
Pilates Collective studio owner Kristen Iuppenlatz says:
The most important thing I do to keep my customers coming back is to really listen to them, show them how a small adjustment can have a big impact and ultimately get them out of pain.
When clients stop coming in for any reason, the best way to invite them back is with a personal phone call. I am genuinely interested in their well being whether they practice Pilates with me or not, so I can be very authentic when I call. If you reach out and check in with how they are doing, they are more apt to return than if you just send an email or newsletter.
When I asked Kristen how business is going – she said GREAT! Of course it is.
Does your studio do this? How much work would it really take to reach out to a few people who you haven't heard from in awhile?
2. “Let's schedule your next session…”
Pre-book their next session before they leave your studio.
I am not great at this now (was when I taught pilates though!) but I’ll tell you who is – my stylist at Sorella Salon. Crystal is on it and books people before they leave. Her schedule is always full and you know better than to wait for even a week before to try to get an appointment. She is an in-demand stylist at the salon andI think this is her secret sauce as to why. This is such a great way to operate… that I will be doing it as I take on more private clients later this year.
The proof is that I pre-book with Crystal every single time and have bought other services from other providers at the salon too.
3. “You're doing a great job…”
Send impromptu emails, voicemails…
This is one of those little things I’ve ever seen only a few personal trainers and business coaches have do… Receiving a call or a recorded message or a card even… does something magical for your relationship. You want to know the result?
You set your next appointment. You remember to take action on the things they gave you for homework. You go back for more. You say yes to everything they offer you.
The last message I received (just this week) from my business coach literally brought tears to my eyes. How powerful is that?
Proof: I didn’t intend to enroll in every single offering from my business coach, but funny thing – I have now said yes to 3 different things….
Moral of this story? Acknowledge and they shall return.
This is why putting some simple communication systems in place is so important to you and your business – whether you are a pilates studio owner or have another type of business.
So – let’s wrap this back into why engagement is important for launching – even online.
Remember that keeping your audience engaged means more customers… And keeping customers engaged equals repeat customers.
When you’re launching say a new service, new class, online program, or anything else that is “new” or improved, you (kind of) get to skip a step in the process of making people your customer.
It's more like a head start with those people who already know, love and trust you. You've passed a hurdle of telling someone why they should trust you with their business, body, life, finances, whatever.
Try to implement and make some of the above suggestions into your routine follow up with clients and customers.
How this might look:
1. Focus on a past customer promotion only for your next launch. Maybe you have a series of very specific emails that you send just them – maybe there’s a discount.
2. Email any clients who’ve disappeared and perhaps even a quick voice memo attached to the email.
3. Got current clients or students going through a course? Email them now and get them to sign up for your next offer before it’s out and before they finish your program!
If you have a solid system in place in your business, launching anything new becomes a breeze. Fill your spots with people who already know and love you!
You may never do a public launch again!
Planning to launch soon and want to know how to pull all the pieces together? You start with a map…and communication is a big part of that map. Get on the list to find out when Fearless Launching opens again!
Andrea Robinson says
This idea is and blog post has so much truth inside it! As a small business owner serving SBO, it is so easy to turn our focus away from existing customers who love us to gaining more customers. I do think this is a bit of a reflection on the US culture (More MORE M-O-R-E!)? Do you agree? The “more” is often right under our noses if only we spent time caring for what we have consistently our business will indeed grow more : )
Anne, this is so true. I believe we hunger for that engagement. In our rapid-pace world of being “always on” to serve the needs of others, even when living our mission–that moment where someone pauses to share a thank you, encouragement, or other focused-on-you insight–offers such a gift.
We need these moments of pause, and we need to give these to others in our sphere of influence.