With less than 90 days until we hit Jan. 1, 2022, we have some planning to do. In last week’s column, we focused on employee communication. Employees are an often overlooked audience that has a huge impact on your organization. I’m hoping you’re already putting some of those ideas into your 2022 plan.


This week, we’re going to focus on your existing customer base. Believe it or not, this is also an audience that is often underserved by your marketing. For most companies, the lion’s share of the marketing spend and focus is on the potential new customer. This can sometimes leave current clients feeling underappreciated or even feeling neglected.  


How many times have you received something in the mail or by email from a company you do business with that is offering something better to new customers than what they’d give you, someone who is already giving them money?


Don’t kid yourself. Your customers probably have the same reaction. Or, worse, they feel like you just don’t care that much anymore. In doing customer satisfaction work for our clients, we sometimes hear things like, “When they were first pursuing our business, they couldn’t have been more attentive. But now, I haven’t heard from them in months.”


On top of all of that, it’s simply easier to get additional revenue from an existing client than it is to get a new customer. Every marketing dollar you spend on your current clients will go further because your dollar-for-dollar results will be better every time.


So how should you market to your existing customers in 2022?


Hand them the mic: I know it sounds counterintuitive to everything above, but invite your current clients to do a testimonial for you. This tactic checks multiple boxes. First, it’s a gut check to see which clients love you enough to do a testimonial. Second, it makes the customer feel good to be asked. Another benefit is that you’ll hear exactly what your clients appreciate about your work, and you’ll also notice what does not get mentioned. 


It’s also a vehicle to subtly market to your customer. You could show them a list of the core services you offer and products you create, with brief descriptions or links to learn more. Ask them to choose any one, two or three topics for their testimonial.


The added bonus to this tactic is that it delivers against your potential client marketing need as well. Word of mouth is still one of the most effective tools we have.


Create an insider’s club: Everyone wants to feel special and appreciated. Your clients believe, whether they tell you or not, that they’ve earned some special privileges by being a loyal customer. Reward the behavior you want!


What might that look like? You can create exclusive content, offer holdbacks on research data, invite them to customer-only events, or give them early access to something spectacular. You can also grant them one-on-one conversations with your R&D team or a special sneak-peek breakfast with your CEO.  


Another way to create this sense of exclusivity is to have your CEO send out a customer-only email or newsletter, filled with early releases, thoughts about what’s on your radar screen, and some trend data that would be very useful.


When it comes to marketing to your current clients, it goes far beyond just sending them your sales flier. Marketing to this audience should feel more like you’re whispering a secret in their ear or throwing them a special party. It’s a blend of appreciation and keeping them well informed about new ways you can be of service.  


Find that right balance and deliver it consistently, and you’re going to be very pleased with the results.