Every business owner must know the most important asset they have in their business. It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in, whether in a big city or small town, retail business or online business, professional practice, whether you’re an information marketer or….

Many think the most important asset they have is their building because of how much it is worth, or maybe the equipment that they use. Some think that it’s their employees, others think it is they themselves and the knowledge that they have. Still others think that it is their reputation. Though all of these are important, they are not THE most valuable asset.

Your most important business asset is your customer database.

The most valuable asset any business has is their client/customer database. You notice that I did not say it is the customer/client. It is the database that contains the information about each of those customers/clients: their name, address, phone number, email address, information about what they buy and/or their buying habits – even their birthday is valuable. This information is critical and can be used to stay in contact with those customer/clients, to not only sell to them but to maintain your relationship and a front of mind consciousness.

Having this information allows you to market to your clients on a regular basis, especially when you want/need to. This allows you to let them know about sales and/or special events or changes that may be occurring in your business. It also allows you to contact them about new products and services that you may have added to what you already offer them. By doing this, you can keep the amount of money that you spend to get people to buy from you at a much lower cost. FACT — it costs up to 10 times more money to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing client!

On average these clients will spend more money with you when they return. This is more profitable than always dealing with first-time customers. Think about what it would do for your business if you were able to have every one of your best clients visit to buy from you just two more times a year. Your sales would skyrocket, and your profit margins would explode.

When attempting to get a new customer to buy from you for the first time there usually is a bigger incentive involved, such as some sort of “big” sale to get them to respond to your advertisement. Which means that you lowered your price (a sale) or it cost you money to be able to have the giveaway; this is usually necessary at least to some degree in just about every business. This is not the best place to focus your resources on. Marketing first to your current clients and getting them to buy more or more often is the least expensive and the most profitable way to grow your business.

Another very important thing to know about your clients is, when surveyed, over 80% of consumers said the number one reason they did not go back to a place of business they had previously done business with, AND were satisfied with, is because they had forgotten about them! A critical mistake owners must NOT make is allowing their clients to forget about them.

A critical marketing money-making strategy is to stay in touch with your clients on a regular basis to make sure that they do NOT forget about you and the great products and/or services that you have for them. Be aware – if you are NOT staying in touch with your customers, your competitors will!

Keep in mind, there are a lot of businesses out there trying to steal your customers away from you every day, many times a day, in many different ways, via the internet, newspaper, radio, T.V., etc. It’s critical to stay in touch with them even if it is just to keep your name in front.

It is also important that it is not to always sell them something. There are many ways that you can accomplish this for very little money compared to what some of your competition will spend on radio, T.V., the newspaper and coupon magazines, etc.

Be sure you do NOT become dependent on just one or two types of media for staying in touch with your clients. This is truer today than it ever has been. Today’s consumer is so scattered as to how you can reach them. Use as many different media as you have at your disposal. I recently spoke with a business owner who for the last couple of years has only communicated with his clients via email and is complaining that he has lost 40% of his customer base. You can find the reason for this by looking at your open rate when it comes to email. IMPORTANT – Email is a good tool but should not be relied on as your only means of communicating with your clients.

Too many have the false impression to get a first-time customer and, in some cases to even keep them, they must always have the lowest price. This is NOT true; even in a bad economy only 20% of people list price as the number one factor when making a buying decision. What consumers are “really” looking for is the best value. This is where many drop the ball; they don’t communicate why THEIR offer may be a better value, even though the price seems higher at the time.

If you feel as though your product or service is becoming commoditized, stop allowing it to be. For example, prevent a customer from doing a price comparison to your competitors by not offering the exact same product and/or service as your competition offers. BTW, I talk about this and a whole lot more every month in The Marketing Edge Newsletter; click here and you can get your first edition FREE.

You want them to compare apples and oranges. Here are some ways to make that happen: Add more value to what you deliver, such as a better warranty or better follow-up service. Many totally forget about the customer once they have their money. Bundle services together that you know they will want or need. Bundling works best when you add in things that you know they want.

Consumers will pay more for something they want than something they need. Think about how much money people spend on their hobbies or something that they are passionate about. In most cases, they will not shop for price when it comes to their hobbies – they want the best not the cheapest. A perfect example of this is those with classic cars. They will look for a good deal on an oil change for their everyday car (what they need) and do little shopping on price for their classic car (what they want).

As you know, there’s a lot of advertising clutter out there. Consumers are being bombarded by all kinds of advertising (consumers are seeing 3500 messages a day) for just about any- and everything.

Armed with that knowledge, you don’t want the first thing they read, see or hear be the name of your company, product or service. Tell them something that interests them right away and will keep their attention. The best way to do this is with a headline/subject line that gets their attention; this is NOT the name of your business and phone number.

Your headline/subject line could even be your offer, if it is a great one. Once you’ve accomplished that, then you want to communicate to them why your service and/or product is different or better. I have seen many small ads outperform much bigger ads because they do a better job with the things that I just mentioned. This is true of any type of advertising/marketing you do.

IMPORTANT —You always want to track your marketing, so you know what is working and what isn’t working. One area that is different when it comes to tracking is your newsletter; it really is to help keep them from forgetting about you and building relationships’ it will drive business but usually not with newsletter in hand.

I can and have repeatedly taken a good database and leveraged it into sales, quickly. Start today, building a “quality” database, so you’ll be able to leverage it into sales. You’ll see why it is your most valuable asset.

If you already have a great database of clients and/or a warm database, it’s time to leverage it! If you would like help with how you can do withdraw money from your database, contact our office about our private consulting programs.

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