Are you familiar with Keep In Touch (KIT) marketing?
This can also be called database marketing, but I like to call it MANNERS MARKETING, or the Diamonds at your Feet. And lately, when I've been running some events, bookkeepers tell me it's an area that they are neglecting – and yet when I talk to them about it, they can totally see how this could be really powerful for them. And so today, I would like to share some examples and some stories, and then give you some actionable steps.
My wonderful father always had a saying, and that was, “Never forget your customers and they'll never forget you”. And definitely, that has always stayed with me. I think it's a really beautiful saying because to me, it speaks of NURTURE. And whenever we use the word marketing, bookkeepers (and I feel the same!), it does kind of cause us to shut down a bit, like, oh, marketing, I don't want to do marketing. It feels icky.
Whereas, when we use the word nurture, that feels totally different.
And when we say never forget your customers and they'll never forget you – of course, I don't want to forget my customers, my clients, because in fact,
it is manners to remember the beautiful people that we work with,
and that we have previously worked with.
And that leads to the word DATABASE. So database and database marketing, it all sounds clinical, but when we strip it right back, this is about the people that are in your kind of NETWORK. And again, network, it just sounds like, such a business word. But what I mean is if you imagine me right now, and I'm spreading my little fingers out like tentacles, and I'm kind of thinking about all the different people that I've met in my life and that somehow and some way I'm connected to, and I could tell you a million ways, and it's going to be a little bit different for you depending on who you interact with and the kind of person you are.
Most of you know that I'm a Latin dancer. So as you can imagine, I've got thousands of Latin dancing friends. That's what it's like in Latin dancing. It's like if you're a dancer and I'm a dancer, we're friends. But then, thinking about all the people I've come across and interacted with in my life that in some way I'm still connected with – thanks to social media – now, I get to look through my friends' profiles and see them whether they're married with children and they look happy. And one of my friends I noticed that I was really close to when I was younger, he lives overseas now with his wife and the two beautiful girls, and I'll go on and look through and just get so much joy out of connecting with them just online.
So when I talk about database and network,
think people, humans – think your kind of humans, the kind of people that you like, the kind of people that you love.
Take those clinical words around network and database and really turn it into HUMAN INTERACTIONS. The people that in some way, shape or form you are connected to, means that they are in your wider network. They are on your database. Your database could be your phone, your social media, your email... And if we were to categorize those people, we might say, I've got old school friends, so I consider them old friends. And then I've got, anyone that I connected with in the business world, but I don’t hang out with. They're not my friends, but I've kept in touch with them and they're on my database because I do really like them and we connected as humans and we vibed. I call these people my business buddies.
And then, there's kind of old friends that I know I might never catch up with, but there's still a connection. Then there's your closer friends (people that you talk to more often), and what I would call your community. So community, it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. And communities come from things like churches and hobbies, like my dancing and sports. Anything where you come together as a tribe and a community and you connect, that is community.
As you can see, there are many labels. And so when I use that word segmentation, again, it's very clinical, but just think about all the different people when it comes to SEGMENTATION of your email database – it is probably a little bit more clinical because it does relate to how you can and will serve them. So for example, if I was going to look at everyone on my database, and if I was you and I was new to this and I was segmenting, think about the products and services that you currently sell.
So, who is currently engaged in your products? If you have one core product that you sell, which is just bookkeeping, who's getting that on a regular monthly basis?
This clients are who I call VIP Clients.
Who's on my business email database that has the potential to be a client, but for whatever reason, they're not right now? That could be someone you worked with historically that moved on, but you still vibe with them. You like them. If they came back tomorrow and talk to you, you'd consider working with them.
So they are Prospective Clients.
Those are the two simplest categories there is – and I could go into a lot more detail because we actually have a really great product ladder, which I dive into this podcast. So basically, we have core products, and then we have succession products. We do break our VIP Clients up into more than one category, but there is nothing wrong with a version one database.
Right now, I just want to impress upon you that you've got VIPs, and then you've got PCs. And when you read my book, you'll see just how much I use those terminologies. Your VIPs are all the clients you service on a regular basis, and your PCs are prospective clients, which is kind of like anyone else who runs a business, who's ended up on your database, who has the potential to work with you.
Another great category for your database is Accountants.
So every accountant that a client has, or even just accountants that you've met on at networking events can go on this category. And then there's lots more you can do, but we want to keep it simple.
Next thing I want to do is talk software. People do ask me "what software would you recommend, Jeannie?". Look, we use a software called ActiveCampaign, but there's no right or wrong to software. MailChimp is free and it's brilliant. There is nothing wrong with getting started with MailChimp as well, but it doesn't matter too much as long as you've got a software that can connect to several other software you're using.
Now, I want to give you a little example of the power of database and what happens, unfortunately, when you are not leveraging database. So the other day, I was thinking about my house and a few things that I want to do in the house, as most of us do. I thought, oh, I really want to maybe change a few things in the house. And a while ago, it was probably four years ago, I had someone come and put a new flooring in my bedroom, and the new flooring solution was really great.
What I loved about this guy is unlike other people, this person vibed with me because he was really bossy. He knew. He knew what he was doing. He was a really direct communicator. He listened to me when I said to him, look, I don't actually want choice. I have no interior design gene in my body. I just want you to tell what I'm doing, what it will cost, and I just want you to turn up and do it. And he said, 1, 2, 3, this is what you're doing. This is what it'll cost. I'll be here on this date. And, oh, the heavens have opened.
And it was brilliant. He kept his promises, everything went really well. So the other day I thought, oh, I really would like that guy to come back and do another floor for me. I don't remember who he is. His contact details have gone from my phone. I mean, I don't remember his name anyway, so what if he had a simple way to keep in touch with me, even if that was once every six months? Usually for businesses like that, I would recommend once a quarter, and it was just a text message that said, "Hey, Jeannie, Tom here, just saying hi and reminding you I'm available if you need me." That is not intrusive. I mean, there are other ways to do it.
I love text message for businesses like that, but as a bookkeeper, email can be quite good because we're working collaborating with business owners that are on the email. But I like both and I actually like automated and non-automated. Now, that is an example of how if he had a nice basic keep-in-touch marketing system, he would potentially be creating the following things. Number one, a PIPELINE of inquiries, because
People will buy when they're ready – but what's important is to keep them in our BRAND SPHERE floating around, so that they can make the buying decision when they're ready.
So it creates a pipeline, because someone like me will buy four years later when I'm ready. But if he's doing that with all of his database, you can imagine the multiplier effect.
And most people find that kind of keep-in-touch marketing really helpful, which is one of the reasons I call it Manners Marketing. I believe it is manners to keep in touch with the people that we are seeking to serve. What we're all doing, we are seeking to serve, be of service and help, alright? And never ever do I really get, leave me alone, don't keep in touch with me. And every now and then, if somebody does say, would you remove me from your database? I mean, we have links so they can just click and remove themselves too. Then, it's not impolite. And once, actually, it even led to someone explaining how busy they are, and I was able to say, if you are busy, you need me more than ever, and it was a really cool conversation.
Going back to the example of the flooring guy, you can see the impact if he did have that keep-in-touch marketing system – he would be serving me much better. I'm frustrated that he doesn't keep in touch. Now I need to go back to square one and deal with people that are going to frustrate me, or start searching through Google in the hope that I stumble across him. Whereas, if he was just politely keeping in touch with me, then it would be serving me.
The other thing it does as well is a pipeline of leads – it creates WORD OF MOUTH marketing. Let's say he was contacting me once every three, four months, and I got the message, I might say to a girlfriend, oh, just got this message off the guy that did my flooring. He's so amazing. You said that you were doing your flooring and I'll recommend him – so it can create ADVOCACY for your services and your brand.
So absolutely, if you read my book, you'll see I talk about Advocacy Marketing being your number one marketing strategy that I want you to focus on, and keep in touch. Marketing will absolutely create advocacy for your brand.
It will create people in the market talking about you.
Talking about how valuable you are, and you don't even know this is going on.
The funny thing about marketing is when you have the layers and you have your tentacles out there in this beautiful authentic way – which is not really marketing, like I say, it's about manners and staying connected to people – people will be talking about you behind your back and saying lovely things that will lead to somebody else reaching out to you that you didn't even know, and therein filling your pipeline of leads.
And this week I've had a few people reach out, Hey Jeannie, I really need a bookkeeper. Can you help me? That's what happens, and this is the result, the ones that I've had lately. It's just simply the results of keep-in-touch marketing layered with the other pieces that I talk about in my book, which includes being able to see my profile, read about results-based marketing and more. So that's all in my book, and that's really easy to do. I give you a linear process for getting that all sorted and ready. But right now, this is just about the keep-in-touch marketing component.
Here's story or two that's related to me and my bookkeeping practice to inspire you. So literally, I have jumped on to do this post immediately after talking to someone who is a past client. So we serve them, goodness, I would say it's like seven years ago, a long time ago, and we're still linked on Facebook. They're probably still on my email database, maybe, maybe not, right? But we kind of do a lot across both platforms. And actually, they reached out to me a year or so ago and just talked to me about bookkeeping, but again, didn't go ahead again then, but they're in my brand sphere and they're floating around now.
So, she was once a client, but she's now a prospective client. Let's call her Sally, and she can see me on social media. If I win an award, or get nominated, I might share it on socials and just say, Hey, celebrate with me. It'd be nothing. It won't be business. It'll be very genuine, just yay me celebrate. Whereas on my business socials, it'll be more professional and bigger and grander because that's the more appropriate place for it. But, I will share it across both.
So she might be following my business socials as well as my personal socials, and basically, she knows that we vibe. I'm the kind of person she'd like to work with. She feels like this is someone I know, like and trust. Then, she can see this is also someone who's at the top of her game in her industry. All indications are that if I was to work with her again, it's going to be easier and better than if I went out and tried to find someone else. Now, in the meantime, who knows, she might have gone and tried someone else as well.
And I remember my father saying that some of his competitors were his best advertising. And this is the power of keep-in-touch marketing. Even when people go elsewhere, which actually a past client has just resigned with us after going elsewhere – it's okay. These things will happen from time to time and we don't need to be in total control of it all, but if we're using this beautiful keep-in-touch marketing system, they will often come back to us.
I'm never emotional when someone leaves me. I'm very authentic and if I think they're making the wrong decision, I'll tell them that. If they are a little bit outgrowing us, we also offer in-house recruitment services, something you can do too. The moral of the story is just keep in touch, okay?
Last night, I was on the phone for quite a while with someone that I only met once, but we're connected on Facebook. Look, I love to connect with people. So when I meet someone and we get along, I'll be like, yay, let's Facebook Connect. And then they're in my network. And then I didn't realize he kind of owns a business. And so this is about four or five years later, he's contacted me and we had a great chat last night. And he went, Yes, Jeannie, I'm going to work with you. Absolutely. Send me a proposal tomorrow. Let's work together.
Keep-in-touch marketing. All I'm doing is keeping in touch with the people that are in my network connected to me some way, and that's what happens. So keep-in-touch marketing and the diamonds at your feet – so, so powerful. And in terms of taking action, you're going to take small actions, one step at a time, and you're going to give yourself a lap around the sun. This is a gift that will keep on giving, okay? It's okay to take time to do this.
So the first thing I'd like you to do, rather than think about, oh my goodness, I've got to go into my Xero or QuickBooks or my file and bring all my database across to a software – here's what I want you to do first: I want you to, right now, think about a past client or an inactive client that you've worked with before, and for whatever reason, they are not engaged in regular work right now. So picture them in your mind. You might come up with one, two, or three, that's fine. Write them down, picture them in your mind.
I would like you to reach out to them, and I'm going to give you a script on the fly, even though I do them all the time. And I will let you know right now, in The Strategic Bookkeeper Transformation Program, all the scripts and messaging, all the keep-in-touch assets, strategies and resources – it's all done for you. So be sure to join in, okay? Going back to the scripting, we're going to call this PC Tom, and your name's going to be Sally, so,
Hi Tom, Sally here from Sally's Bookkeeping. You just popped into my head. I just thought of you and I was wondering how's everything going?
That is one example of a message you can send. It can depend on the past client, but that is one message that you can send. Just, how's everything going? If you've recently done a catch up but you haven't heard from them in three to six months, you can say, are you still up to date? Because if you're not, can you give me a call? I really, really want to make sure that you stay up to date.
You're not selling your services, you're seeking to understand,
which is manners marketing.
I'm going to look at running a free training around building, maintaining and using your database, but for now, you can read this over and over and if you really want to fast track and get a lot of done-for-you stuff, the program's there, and the book's got heaps in it around database as well.
What I hope you take from this read is the wow moments and the aha moments, and the absolute 100% belief that KIT Marketing is a beautiful, beautiful, manners based strategy for you to use. And in fact, I often use the phrase as a courtesy. When I reach out to people, Hi, this is Jeannie. I'm touching base as a courtesy. Again, use every word I've given you. Use that as a script. I'm reaching out as a courtesy to check in, see how everything's going – the response I get from these, phenomenal.
This is just the most beautiful strategy for bookkeepers because it simply requires you to keep in touch with people and to nurture them. Okay? So work on your action steps, and I look forward to hearing how you go with all of this, hopefully in The Strategic Bookkeeper's Way Facebook group, so that we can share it with the whole tribe and we can all benefit from working and growing together.