Time for a Check Up: Are You Sending Reminders to Your Customers?

29 amazing comments

reminders

Have you met my cat? He’s really in to biting people.

His name is Cino (as in cappuccino) and the other day we were sent a reminder that it is time for him to visit the vet.

A cool postcard (below) arrived with an awesome picture and a crafty little message encouraging us to make an appointment.

And this got me thinking: when was the last time I sent a reminder to my customers?

In this post I’m going to show you a few things about getting back in touch with your clients, blog readers and contacts. Its a great way to develop the relationship and eventually make more money.

The reminder card from our vet

The card was basically postcard that had been designed as a vet reminder. Here is a picture of the front and back.

Vet reminder card

Vet reminder card back

There are a few things that I really like about this particular reminder.

  • It is funny
    The use of humor is really important because taking your pet to the vet is both horrible and expensive. Making it seem fun goes a long way to actually getting people back.
  • It uses the cat’s voice
    The card is written as if it is to Cino and not the owners. This reinforces the fact that he is a part of the family and makes it a lot harder to ignore it, if you were planning on doing that.
  • It has a call to action
    The card tells you to make an appointment right away.
  • It uses fear
    Fear is one of the best motivators around. This particular card tells me that my beautiful little cat needs to be protected against cat cancer… holy hell… I better make an appointment!

As far as printed reminders go, this one is pretty good. A lot of the principles you see here can be applied to the online world and almost any web business.

What can you send reminders?

A reminder needs to come at the right time and for the right reason. Some of the reminder you might want to send out include:

  • An invoice warning
    If you have some sort of fees or invoice about to be sent out why not send them a warning if you anticipate they might have some problems with it?
  • A big anniversary thank you
    A beautiful photo on a nicely designed card would be well received at the one year anniversary of the start of your business relationship to say thanks.
  • We miss you
    If you haven’t seen a client or potential customer in a while, why not let them know that you miss them?
  • Need help?
    Haven’t done a transaction in a while? Try sending out a reminder that tells clients about all the other things your business does and ask if they need any help.

This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination but I do like to push the idea of just sending a straight out “reminder”. You can be creative.

I bet you all have some ideas… comments!

Sending reminders to your customers, readers and contacts

Depending on what you are reminding people about and who you are reminding you will need to tailor your message and delivery slightly differently. However, here are a few thoughts I hope you will find useful.

1. Cross the web divide
If you are an offline business you can have really good results by sending an email. If you are an online business you can have really good results by sending something in print. The effect here is that you are showing your clients that you are a very well rounded business.

2. Pick a single cause
You need to have a reason to contact your customers. Don’t spam them with constant updates. If you have a Christmas special on website designs then contact them about that and leave them alone for the rest of the year.

3. Tailor the message to the client
Don’t send out mass reminders, it just looks bad. You need to tailor the message to the client. Think about how you know them and what their relationship to you is like. Base the message on their interactions with you in the past.

4. Learn how to write
You need to know how to write a contact letter. I’m not talking about something formal and traditional here but you should study some tips on how to get people’s attention on the medium that you are using. Here is an example of a post I did on how to write emails to A-List bloggers.

5. Spend money
Please don’t cheap out on these reminders. The idea here is to show people that you are a successful business looking to do more business with whoever you are contacting. Nice stationary, good envelopes, etc.

Some resources for your reminders

Here are a few things I thought you might find useful the next time you send out a reminder or two.

  • Aweber
    Aweber will let you segment your list so you can set dates and times for when you need to send certain reminders.
  • Mail Chimp
    Similar to Aweber except it is a monkey and is better at telling jokes.
  • A postcard making tutorial
    Here is a good tutorial on how to make your own postcard.
  • Send a gift
    It might not be a postcard or a letter or an email. There are sites out there that let you send personalized corporate gifts as well. How about a USB with a note on it?

Have you ever sent out a successful reminder for something? Do you have any other ideas for people reading this? Please drop a comment.

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29 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • Josh Sarz

    I love this post, Tyrant. Thanks for sharing.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries.


  • Scott Kindred | SafeHouse Web

    A crystal-clear point is made about MailChimp; monkey jokes win, hands-down, every time. And you get a new one each time you log into their control panel! It also echoes one of my favorite mantras: “Monkeys Add Humor.”

    But seriously, I use MailChimp and love it and enjoy achieving the stronger bond with a client who is like-minded and also recognizes the humor. So, using it to send the no-pressure reminder (I tend to avoid the fear factor despite its proven marketing success and conversion rates), is a win-win situation.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Yeah, MC is really catching my eye lately. They do great things.


    2. Jason Fonceca

      Scott, I totally agree, I’ve used and love MailChimp for a while now and recommend them to everyone.

      This post about reminders is a great… well… reminder to touch base with people who already have an affinity for you.

      The amount of time, energy, resources and money needed to engage them or inspire them to action is very reduced.

      Great post, TBT.


      1. Scott Kindred | SafeHouse Web

        Jason,

        I do a lot of MailChimp recommendations, too. I have a new client who is exploring other providers – the standard ones like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, etc. – and even something called Emma, or My Emma. I say, let people do their justified research and find the one that works best for their organization.

        Ironically, I’ve actually had a few people veer away from MailChimp simply because they didn’t fancy the name as “professional enough” or too whimsical. I wonder how silly the word “google” first sounded, way back when.

        Best day to you, Jason!


        1. Jason Fonceca

          Definitely Scott.

          Part of research is taking in recommendations, and I give mine whole-heartedly.

          Emma sounds new-ish, interesting 🙂

          I think having people turned away is MailChimp’s brand doing it’s thing and filtering clientele well.

          I gather they are not targeting anyone ‘stuffy’, ‘sensitive’ or ‘under-developed sense of humour’ 😀

          Your point about Google is interesting, are you suggesting MailChimp may claim market dominance? 😉

          Rock on, superstar!


  • nidhunbreak

    Good job! This message is a great example of why I go back again to read your quality content that is always updated


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thank you very much.


  • Tushar@BloggersEthics

    Although I am not into lot of newsletters and email subscribers; as a normal blogger, I can understand its importance. Customers should not be neglected at any cost. Thanks for the share.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks for stopping by again Tushar.


  • Neil @ Looking Towards Home

    Now _that’s_ a cool looking cat!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Agreed!


  • Marcus

    Those vet postcards are very clever. I get similar ones from my optometrist when it’s time for me to take an eye exam and get new glasses. They have a funny comic drawing of a patient in a chair.

    I’m surprised at how few websites follow up. Dropbox and Heroku sent e-mails encouraging me to become a more active user. I can’t think of too many others that contacted me like that to try to salvage dormant accounts. Here’s a funny story of one web firm that accidentally got back on their customers’ radar with an e-mail: http://bit.ly/ynNzAX

    For my online entrepreneurs meetup group, whenever I post an event, it’s set to send reminder messages one week and one day before the event happens. The same thing happens every week. There are only a few sign-ups, then the day before, 10+ people will RSVP to attend. The more last-minute the notification, the more people pay attention. At least in my experience.

    I’ve seen reminders used to good effect for notifying people about webinars. A formula I read said to e-mail the registered attendees one week, three days, and thirty minutes before the webinar happens.

    Do you have any tips on the number or duration of follow-up e-mails in an auto-responder sequence? I know Copyblogger has around 20 messages in their “Internet Marketing for Smart People” series. That lasted a while, I think over three months.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Marcus.

      How are you bro?

      I think the autoresponder thing is totally based on whatever you promise at the start. So the more important question is how have you segmented your list.

      Initially on Blog Tyrant I had one list for everyone so if you just wanted the updates via email you also got the eBook and the monthly tips. That caused a few complaints.


  • Cristina Ansbjerg

    I love it when posts are examples extracted from real life. And this one is not only cute (Cino looks adorable, but also the marketing lesson is very perfect.

    The postcard is friendly and scary at the same time (as a cat owner I panic when I think of the diseases cats can get when in touch with other animals).

    Oh yes, and it includes a clear call to action. I’d love to know the conversion rate they get from this campaign.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      I will ask them! Great thought Cristina.


  • Chris @ Canadian Dad

    Another excellent article, Thanks Tyrant!

    I’ve only had my site for just over a week but have been toying with the idea of sending out a weekly funny photo to just my email subscribers. I don’t want to flood them but people seem to like funny pics and I have a ton of them so it seems like a good way to sneak my latest post threads into the bottom of the letter. Plus it seems like a personal touch by adding pics of my kids.

    Thoughts on that strategy? I don’t really have a product I’m selling/pushing and just started with AdSense but I am interested in monetizing my site eventually.


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Chris I think that type of thing would work really well on your Facebook page. People will share it with their family friends, etc. Social, viral, etc.


      1. Chris @ Canadian Dad

        Excellent advice! I’ve been slowly building my social media pages and have actually been receiving some responses to my interaction posts lately. I just posted a video on there and started up a YouTube channel so I could do some video blogs, we’ll see how that goes, lol.


        1. Rachelle

          This is just me but I wouldn’t put pics of my kid on the net. I had someone steal one once and I had to shut down the website to get it removed. The internet can be a weird place sometimes.


          1. the Blog Tyrant

            What did they do with the pic?


  • Andrew Newey | Brisbane Trades

    Thanks BT. I appreciate the tip of “pick a single cause”. Sometimes we feel the need to contact our customers regularly, but if there is no strong reason to, I was thinking that it would de-value any future contact to them.

    Thanks for the articles!


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      No worries Andrew. Glad you liked it.


  • Kris @ myhealthyweightlossjourney.com

    Great article.

    That reminder card would – and come to think of it has – definitely work on me and it was great to see dissect it to it’s core components. It seems so obvious to me now what they’re trying to do and precisely why it worked on me.

    It also gave me a little impetus to actually think more about my mailing list and trying to interact with them a little more (instead of focusing on just trying to add new readers).


    1. the Blog Tyrant

      Perfect!


  • zimbrul

    I was wondering if you know a good tutorial for Mail Chimp? I’ve seen that you can use Mail Chimp for allowing your subscribers to download stuff (most freebies) after signing up. Is this something you can set up in the free version of Mail Chimp or you have to sign up for the paid service?


    1. Jason Fonceca

      Hi Zimbrul!

      Mailchimp rocks, and they have TONS of video tutorials when you create your free account.

      If you want to send people to a free download page after they sign-up, that’s totally doable, for free.

      If you want a series of after-signup emails, auto-responded, thats awesome too, but you have to pay a small fee to access them.

      If you want to know more, there’s always google 🙂


  • zimbrul

    Cheers Jason, I’ll have a look and decide whether to use Mail Chimp or Aweber.


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