Acquire and Retain Customers During the Pandemic and after.

In 2007, former trader Nassim Taleb published his book Black Swans. Under the sign of unpredictability.” In it, he considers unpredictable and difficultly predictable events, which in the end had a significant impact on the world economy and humanity. The brief meaning of the book is that no one can foresee the future, one cannot be completely sure of the future, but one can prepare for changes. It would seem an obvious thought! But people stubbornly push it away, since stability is dear to them.

The introduction of the Internet, the First World War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the September 11 attack – all these are events that have had a tremendous impact on the world, after which we can say: “There will be nothing like before.” Is that familiar?

What do we have today?

Supply chains were broken, entire business areas were at a dead center, unemployment rose by 30% (it is scary to present unofficial data), demand fell in almost all areas. No one can predict how the virus will behave, what kind of blow to the economy will be delivered, and what lies ahead. It is for this reason that economists have dubbed the coronavirus, the new “black swan.”

By the way, Nassim Taleb himself denies coronavirus involvement in this concept, asserting that a pandemic could be predicted and prevented. As early as January 26, his team of analysts warned of a possible threat. As a result, Black Swan funds specializing in profit from extreme market events showed a record return of 57% since the beginning of the year.

How crisis 2020 differs from the previous ones

We have experience.
We already know that there is no place to rely on the state or wait for a miracle. Previous collapses in the economy made it possible to study the moves of their predecessors and understand how to behave today.
We have the Internet and technology.
The most significant business advantage today is the ability to respond quickly, flexibility, and sober analytics. It will take a day or two for most to leave offline, make changes to any of the structures, and review the strategy.

We quickly realized that the lull was not good, and it was time to act faster than our competitors. There were fears that the loss of the client portfolio would be about 20%, but it cost 6% due to urgent resuscitation.

Turn off the panic! About half of our customers did not react at all to what was happening and extended their cooperation without changing the conditions.

Marketing – cost or investment?

We bring the client the need to save a budget for online promotion.

As soon as you feel yourself in a new reality, it becomes clear that it is time to act. The experience of past recessions and falling markets has shown that in such a situation, the management of most companies primarily reduces costs. Among others, the promotion budget is cut off.

I will not be completely honest with you if I say that everything is ok with us.

Many of our customers fell into a state of panic or paused to work together, not understanding what to expect from 2020. In the first week, payments for permanent work disappeared, there was dead silence. By that time, more than 50 people worked for us, and I was already finishing the list of reductions and understood that now was the time not to grieve, but to act.

They do not work – we do not work!

What have the previous crises taught us? An authoritative study of the behavior of companies during the recession by the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science showed that companies that have kept the marketing budget or increased it have shown a 12-16% increase in profits and a 9-12% increase in market share. At the same time, most competitors in the niche felt a loss of 10% or more.

The thing is that many experienced entrepreneurs have never considered marketing as a cost item. This is an investment! And your primary concern is to explain this to your customers. And also talk about the importance of having an online presence, the advantages of fast funnels, tools that will help them earn income and beat competitors. Sooner or later, the stupor will pass and people will buy. And they will do it online – it’s more convenient and safer.

Enough methods. Use:

personalized calls;
your blog;
social networks;
personalized e-mail newsletter.

Working at this stage, we decided to use an awareness trigger: we wrote an article on our blog and sent out letters with its squeezes to all clients. Our strategy is not to impose our opinion on the entrepreneur but to provide him with information so that he himself can draw conclusions. We put together a brief summary of popular cases, pointed to the statistics and potential of digital advertising, familiarized ourselves with proposals from world experts on the distribution of advertising costs, and avoiding paper media.

For example, here is a graph that indicates an increase in the cost of a click in contextual advertising while a fall in conversion. It would seem that statistics are definitely not in our favor:

But this situation can be wrapped up in your favor: tell the client that in this situation, those who work to increase conversion rates and tools to help close the sales funnel. And this is optimization. Or tell us that in this case, it is extremely important to correctly set up advertising in order to get away from empty clicks as much as possible.When a person himself can compare the figures, he thinks he has made his choice, although we know who prompted him.

  1. You should know the main thing: the current situation with coronavirus is a train that quickly passes you. The most important thing is whether you jump into it, or stay on the platform, watching how competitors take VIP-places?
  2. Loyalty system and affiliate program
  3. There are two types of clients – transactional and loyal.
  4. The former make a purchase only once, but the latter will also buy and recommend you to others. It is they who are the source of profit and new contacts. Some data from FiveStars experts who analyzed more than 1,000,000 customers from about 2,000 companies:
  5. 77% of customers prefer companies that show appreciation.
    32% of customers will change the company if they find out that it does not provide the promised loyalty.
    Existing customers are 50% likely to agree to new products and spend 31% more than new customers.
    Only a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a rise in profits from 25% to 95%.
    To attract a new customer and raise it to a similar level of an existing loyal one will have to spend 1600% more.
    A loyal customer can spend ten times more than the first purchase.
    41% admit that they buy more often from those who have personalized newsletters based directly on their behavior.
    Thanks to customers
  6. We have long planned to engage in a client program, but all hands did not reach. Having lost some of the constants during the crisis, we realized that it was time to thank those who remained. The tasks were:
  7. Say thank you and show that we value loyalty.
    Motivate not to stop SEO and other work in the long run.
    It’s beautiful to draw up the fact that it’s not pity for us, and it’s not tricky for faithful clients to do some work for free.
    Give a discount, given the extension of cooperation.
  8. Thus, a bonus system was formed. Each client of the agency receives a cashback from payments for any of our services in the amount of 3% of the amount. These bonuses are accumulated in his personal account and can be used every 6 months. We made a personal newsletter and indicated how many bonuses each client already has and what cool services or discounts they can collect while staying with us.
  9. affiliate program
  10. An affiliate program was also introduced in parallel. Its essence: if someone brings a client to us, then from his first payment, he receives 20% of the amount of 4% during all work with the client from each of his payments.
  11. It seems to us that this is tempting, so we are waiting for the exhaust. According to a similar principle, the agency’s backbone was once assembled – it worked with a bang.
  12. Step towards customers
  13. Deferral of payments, avoiding complex service packages, and adjustment to the client’s budget
  14. Let’s move from a beautiful theory to realities. And they are such that those customers who stay or come to you will expect the maximum, and they can pay the minimum. All market experts are talking about this now.
  15. Dumping and working for food is an option for beginning freelancers, but reputable agencies cannot lower the bar too much and depreciate. Do not forget that low-cost products may lose their value altogether, and we offer our customers an exclusive opportunity to leave competitors behind. It can’t be cheap.
  16. What to do? We decided to review mutual settlements and find advantages, even in the smallest budget.
  17. Opt-out of service packages
  18. Like many, we worked earlier on the principle of “packaged” services. Analysis of the last month and communication with customers showed that many refuse to cooperate because they cannot pay the whole package at once.
  19. Solution: switched to the reasonable old separate payment for each service. Each time we take an individual budget, analyze the situation of the client, point out all the problems, isolate the hottest of them, and, first of all, propose to solve what prevents us from earning today.
  20. Price discussion
  21. The question may seem ridiculous, but are you sure you know the cost of each service? That’s straight from the cost of working hours to the monthly payment of related services, the cost of coffee in the office, and so on, all the direct and indirect costs? Jewelry counting will help to understand below which point it is no longer possible to go down and, based on this, build trustful cooperation with those customers who are already having a hard time. Discuss that it will be possible to talk about price increases when the situation stabilizes.
  22. Deferred payment
  23. For some clients, we individually introduced a delay of payments, but strictly regulated this point in the contract. And at this stage, it is necessary to dwell in more detail.
  24. I will not talk about why we made this decision – everything is quite apparent. But there are some nuances. Experts recommend during the sale to hide their interest as much as possible and discuss all conditions. Otherwise, the client will understand that you are in a situation from which you can squeeze maximum benefits for yourself.
  25. The occurrence of debt depends on respect for the supplier by 80%. If you firmly set yourself up at the stage of negotiations, proved to the client that without this service, he would “drown” in a crisis, then most likely, you will be paid. We had clients who disappeared for 3-4 months after making an advance payment and receiving an intermediate result, but then announced because they realized the importance of the need to continue cooperation.
  26. Maximum attention to ways to quickly get the effect of the client.
  27. To receive an order, you must sell it. What will they start buying in the first place? Buckwheat, stew, and toilet paper.
  28. By this analogy, the essential commodity of all customers today is that tomorrow will bring the first results. Only stable companies can now afford to invest in the future. We all know these tools:
  29. contextual advertising;
  30. High-quality targeting
  31. website launch;
  32. Landing with leading products.
  33. We preliminary analyze the resource, identify problems, and demonstrate to the client. Here, for example, is a very convincing scheme in favor of urgent corrections:
  34. Manipulations with triggers of the client’s subconscious
  35. Test drives, training, free analysis and other
  36. Triggers of the subconscious mind are tools to influence our subconscious minds that predetermine a reaction that a person himself is not able to recognize and prevent. They were laid by evolution, experience, and natural selection so that we would not all die out by eating fly agarics or by going to the mammoth with a fork alone. In another way, they are also called triggers. In total, modern science distinguishes more than 40, and at least 20 of them enterprising marketers have already learned to use for the benefit of trade and prosperity. Here are a few of them that you are most likely familiar with:
  37. deficiency;
  38. possession experience; the desire to be part of a team or event;
  39. collecting;
  40. the desire for consistency;
  41. rationality;
  42. curiosity;
  43. unification against a common enemy;
  44. Conspiracy.
  45. What benefits can be derived from this applicable to SEO services and digital?
  46. Ideas:
    A test week or service can “go well.” This is an ownership experience that works like this: at first, you give something to the client for free, and he seems to lose nothing, but then he cannot part with the thing or service.
    Manipulate the terms of discounts (we offer a high price, which is valid until xx.xx.xxxx).
    Team up against the crisis of 2020.
    Build a sequence of services.
    Post reviews, position yourself and your customers as one big society, which has exclusive knowledge and opportunities.
    Educate customers. This is a powerful resource that kills several birds with one stone. A client who understands why a 3-fold increase in sales in 2 weeks thanks to the CEO is bullshit is priceless. In the process of transferring knowledge, you become their authority and invest in trust.
  47. At this stage, we launched a free site audit. Often people don’t even suspect that everything is bad for them, because they don’t know how good it is. Many entrepreneurs do not understand the real potential of their Internet resource.
  48. But our assumptions were incorrect, which also happens.
  49. We approached the issue thoroughly, did a detailed manual study, and not auto-upload sites for 20 applications. As a result, – 0 customers. Conclusion: those who do not pay for the first service are not ready to become a client and pay further.
  50. This is an experience that has helped us work out the audience in a different way using another trigger called “Consistency.” It is that people are subconsciously consistent. If they take even a small step in joint cooperation, they will most likely continue to do so. I want to say right away that all this does not mean that some kind of chip will work or not work for you. Each of us creates unique relationships and attracts “our” customers, but it’s worth a try.
  51. Summary
  52. You can, of course, continue the stupor at the stage of adoption, or you can create a clear plan, which will include:
  53. Informing customers about ways out of this situation.
    The introduction of flexible settlements.
    Rethink the package of services.
    Cost and workflow optimization.
    Work with customer loyalty and the image of the company or individual specialists.

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