Happy Groundhog Day!

Studies show that it costs from four to TEN TIMES MORE to create a new client than it does to keep an existing client.  Yet one look at most marketing plans quickly reveals that companies spend most of their time, money and effort to make new customers!

The key to long term profits is in the repeat, or "backend"sales we make to existing clients. No money need be spent to find, capture and convince these people because they already like and trust us!

And when people like and trust you the odds of them buying on your recommendation are much higher than if they don't know you.

Simple really. We buy from those we trust.

But how do we cause clients to buy from us again and again without falling into the "new launch of the week" syndrome where we are always pitching for them to buy? How can we use the Internet to build relationship and deepen trust?

One key is to stay in touch with customers (and prospects) without seeming to constantly pitch your product or service.

Staying in touch often, and sharing high-quality original content that you work hard to create is by far the #1 way to give value to your customers and prospective customers.

When customers, and potential customers, feel that we only contact them when we want something (the sale) they get turned off. They actually begin to pre-judge our message before even opening the email or letter. "Oh him again. What does he want me to buy now?"

This is not what we want. What we want is to be helpful, honest, engaging and yes, to sell things too.

So how can you do that?

It involves automating your marketing, planning ahead ... and maybe a groundhog.

Here's how to do it:

1.  Pick an odd holiday on which to contact your customer.

Know them and what they need

If possible, make it something that relates in some way to them or their country. Don't know that much about them? Now is the time to learn! Use a survey to discover their most immediate need, then find a way to meet that need. Doing this creates goodwill because you are asking and not just pitching.

Make it local

If you use a professional autoresponder like Aweber you can actually schedule a broadcast that will go only to people in a selected country. So if you are in the U.S. like I am but want to honor your friends in Australia you can do that!

Be different

Did you know that there is a Duck-Billed Platypus Day?

Imagine the fun you could have with that one. You can be sure almost no one else will be contacting your customer or prospects to celebrate Duck Billed Platypus Day!

During Christmas and other major holidays everyone and their cousin sends a client a message. Half the messages don't even get looked at, much less acknowledged.

Why not stand out from the crowd by picking an offbeat holiday?

You might be the only one who sends a gift or a note and you will get noticed. Now that's positioning at it's best!

Here's a link that lists holidays by country.

Here is one that lists odd holidays that are celebrated more by tradition than by decree. Lots of great (and fun!) possibilities for contacts on this one.

2. Create a message that reflects the holiday.

If you send a card try to avoid sending one of those "fits any occasions" cards. If need be, fire up the computer and make one yourself.

There are some great online resources for this now. Hallmark has lots of looks to choose from. An innovative company called Send Out Cards can actually send cards with your signature, a personalized note from you and much more. They can even send brownies!

Another option is to write an article and post it to your blog. If you can share from your experience on a holiday (or any day) and that helps others then you are cementing your future success. Success comes from sharing. 

If you do nothing more than send an email that mentions the odd holiday and helps your customer laugh a little you will have done more than 99% of your competitors. Staying in touch is always appreciated.

The ideas are almost endless.

3. Write a short background piece on the day you are celebrating.

If you send a gift write a short message about the holiday and include it with the gift.  People love trivia and most people enjoy learning little known facts.

Writing the note yourself adds a personal touch that no computer generated card, or even the mighty Hallmark, can touch.

While this is not practical for most online businesses if you want to really stand out, and if you can afford to send a gift, you will be remembered.

4. Schedule your message to arrive the morning of the holiday.

If you send an email schedule it for early on the morning of the holiday. One of the wonderful things about autoresponders is that you can actually schedule these broadcasts literally a year in advance.

In less than one afternoon you could sit down with an odd holiday calendar and program in short "did you know" messages for the entire year!

If you blog you could do the same thing with short posts. Combine the two and now you've got a very real way to automate your marketing and create time freedom.

5. Don't try to sell them something on that day

Remember that this contact is about them and about how much you appreciate their business. This is relationship building, not direct selling.

I call it Public Relations with a purpose.

If you use odd holidays to make contact and build good will not only will you make more money by keeping clients happy, but you will garner referrals as well.

And you will stand out from the crowd.

When that starts to happen, your biggest problem will become finding more holidays to celebrate!

Charlie Page Signature