Customer Retention With Client Webinars & Workshops
Successful sales and marketing strategies involve building relationships with prospects and clients, and providing them with high value. At the beginning of a prospect’s sales cycle, I ask myself, “How can I help this company? How can I provide them with excellent information even before working together?” By helping others, I start developing a bond that I continually nurture, which leads to building strong relationships.
As you already know, people tend to work with people they like and trust. Relationships are essential to generate sales.
The same applies to retaining and growing existing accounts. It’s common for sales people to invest a lot of their time into new prospects. But once these prospects become clients, sales people tend to neglect these budding relationships. Perhaps it’s because sales people are too focused on generating new business.
I was guilty of this, too. In the beginning, other than an occasional follow-up email to see how things were going, I neglected to do anything else to strengthen my relationship with company clients. I lost some clients because of this, and since then, I block out time to growing our client accounts.
You need to think beyond only delivering on the tasks you’ve been contracted for once you sign a prospect.
Devote just as much time nurturing your clients as you did when they were your prospects.Click to tweet
There are different ways to strengthen your client relationships. For example, you could:
- Invest time getting to know your customers on a personal level by inviting them out to get-togethers with your friends. No business talk on the agenda, just simply getting to know your clients better ‘outside of the office.’
- Offer special client only discounts or promotions they will appreciate. These discounts or promotions could be customized for each client.
- Take your clients out to lunch, dinner, or drinks.
- Drop by their offices with ‘goodies’ (or send them if they’re located far from you).
Here, we’ll focus on another way–by continually providing value over and beyond what your service contract includes. You could educate them on the most recent Internet marketing news and updates as it relates to their business. Help them with any significant marketing challenges they have even if it’s outside the scope of your work. What added value can you give that will help your clients’ businesses?
There are a lot of different Internet marketing and SEO companies in the world, and competition can be fierce. If you want to stand out, you need to invest more time into your clients. You don’t need to help them with every little thing, and you need to consider your bottom line as well. However, if your clients have a marketing challenge that you can help them overcome without sucking up all your time–do it! They will appreciate it.
What Most Companies Do
Companies that understand the importance of giving their clients added value on a regular basis, usually do so using some or all of the following:
- General Client-Only Email List
- General Client-Only Webinars
- General Client Appreciation Days
Client-only emails and webinars are an easy and effective way to nurture your clients by providing them with exclusive content on a regular basis. Both methods can be used without having to physically visit your client; they are efficient because you can send one email to or conduct one webinar for all of your clients at once; they are relatively low cost; and with today’s technology, general emails and webinars can be automated. At the very least, I recommend using one of these methods to provide on-going education to your clients.
The issue I have with general client email lists and webinars is that they are impersonal. We broadcast the same message to all clients. The content might be excellent and relevant, but it isn’t a personal, 1-to-1 communication with your client.
Client appreciation days are also a great way to build relationships with your clients. These are days when you organize a get-together at your office or another location where all of your clients can attend an educational session and network over food, drink, and entertainment. I like appreciation days because you get face time with your customers, and you connect them with other business owners who they might be able to do business with in the future.
Appreciation days are great, but you can do better. They are also impersonal because, like general email blast and webinars, you are holding the event for all of your clients.
What You Should Do
To take your customer retention rates to another level, in addition to email blasts or webinars presented to all of your clients at once, you should create and conduct 1-to-1 interactions between you and one client at a time using free, personalized webinars and in-person workshops.
I know some companies offering custom webinars and seminars for their clients; however, they charge for them like any hourly consulting service. In my experience, many businesses provide free added value only when doing so in mass, such as through email blasts and general webinars because it’s convenient.
I feel that if your clients are important, you’ll make time. If you have numerous clients, then focus on your top tier clients or divide the responsibility of conducting personalized webinars or workshops with your colleagues. Also, if you’re worried about losing money, price your services appropriately, and you will have enough profit to pay for these customer retention activities.
Introducing the idea of conducting a webinar or in-office workshop for your client is easy. As you work with your client, pay attention to any areas they need help with, any other services they could use, or about different subjects they talk about often. If you sense your client is interested in learning more about social media, you might say:
“I noticed that you and your team would like to start a social media campaign for your company. I’d love to help you get moving in the right direction and can conduct a free webinar or in-person workshop for you and your team on social media best practices. Would you be interested in this?”
If you can’t get a good feel for a topic that would interest your client, you could ask:
“This month we’re giving our clients the option of a free custom webinar or in-person workshop covering an SEO or Internet marketing topic of your choice. Is there anything that you or your team have questions about or would like assistance with?”
You’ll notice that most of your clients will be receptive and interested in the idea because they want to improve their business. Other clients may not care because they don’t wish to have anything to do with the online aspect of their business, which is why they hired you. Nonetheless, even if you have clients that fall in this bucket, continue to offer added value. They might not accept your offers but just knowing you have provided added value opportunities will help your customer retention rates with them, too.
Here are some key tips to keep in mind when conducting personalized webinars and in-person workshops.
Custom Client Webinars
Let’s get a couple of items out of the way. First, this isn’t a technical how-to on conducting webinars, but I did want to touch briefly on the topic. Make sure you’re using a reputable webinar program like GoToMeeting. There are many different platforms you can use. Just make sure you’ve used the program long enough to know how to use it well and to determine if it’s reliable. Next, conduct a live webinar–don’t even think about using an automated webinar for what is supposed to be a personal interaction between you and one of your clients. Lastly, I like to use video if possible–at least on my end. Letting my clients see me helps keep their attention and makes the experience more personal.
Second, the webinar should be informational. It’s not a sales webinar, so avoid trying to upsell them on other services. Doing so can hurt your client retention efforts rather than help them. If you feel that a particular service would help them, you can briefly mention what it is and how they could benefit. (But please, no hard sells at all.) For example, if you’re educating one of your SEO clients on content marketing, and you feel that creating an infographic (hypothetically an up-sell) would help their SEO campaign, you might say something like,
“As you can see from these infographic examples, they can help earn valuable backlinks, which will help our off-page optimization efforts. We do offer infographic design services if you ever want to explore this tactic.”
Keep your presentation organized. I recommend the following webinar structure.
- Q & A
The overview is straightforward. Let your client know what’s going to be covered and how long the webinar will last. I also like to emphasize why the topic is important to them and how they can benefit. This helps keep their attention throughout the webinar.
During the presentation, take any relevant questions as they come, but save any off topic related questions until the end of the presentation. You want your webinar to be as interactive as possibly, so it’s a good idea to pause everyone once in a while to encourage them to ask questions.
The Q & A portion of your webinar can be used to discuss additional items related to the topic you’ve covered or issues that came up as a result of the points you brought up during your presentation. This is a good time to strengthen your client relationship because you are giving them 100% of your attention and are allowing them to ask you anything. Again, encourage them to ask any questions.
Lastly, the survey is where you ask your client to evaluate the webinar and your presentation. (You can use an online survey platform like Survey Monkey.) Find out if your content was valuable and learn where and how you can improve your presentation skills. Furthermore, the survey allows you to ask your clients about other areas of Internet marketing or SEO they’re curious about or need help with. You can use this feedback for future webinars with them, and it can give you product or services ideas to offer to your clients.
In-Person Client Workshops
Client workshops work wonders in strengthening relationships. The fact that you’re creating a custom workshop and investing valuable face-time with your client makes an enormous difference. Take advantage by getting your client to invite as many people in their company as possible. It’s important to establish strong connections with multiple people within a client’s company, not only a designated primary point of contact.
Remember that you’re conducting a workshop–not a typical presentation or webinar. You ought to get your client involved by doing something together. For example, if you’re presenting a workshop on influencer outreach, a good activity would be to create an outreach campaign on an influencer outreach platform such as Pitchbox. Give your client hands-on experience and they will find your workshop so much more valuable.
Here are a few other items to consider when conducting an in-person workshop:
- Consider if your client’s company adopts a formal, corporate like work atmosphere, or one that is casual. Your workshop teaching style and organization should match your client’s work environment.
- Always bring ‘goodies’ with you to a client workshop. Bagels, donuts, coffee, chocolate bars, etc. It’s always a nice gesture, and you can use them as incentives or prizes during your workshop.
- Do you need workshop handouts? If you feel they will be helpful in your discussion, you should prepare some and bring them along with you.
- Will you need access to a big screen or projector? Will all workshop attendees need their laptops? Make sure you have all the logistics covered.
Your workshop agenda can be similar to your custom client webinars except for one addition:
- Q & A
The activity will be what you and your client work on together. It will give your client, and client’s team, hands-on experience under your supervision.
Other Key Benefits
We’ve discussed how webinars and workshops can improve your customer retention rate and help nurture client relationships. Moreover, they can boost your overall sales and marketing efforts. By conducting webinars or workshops, you become a person of status, and prospects pay attention to consultants who have high status.
You can advertise that you’ve conducted Internet marketing and SEO workshops for your clients’ brands. Imagine how powerful this can be, especially if you have a client roster with some big brand names. Your marketable credentials might now include:
“Conducted SEO workshops for:
- ABC Brand Company
- XYZ Brand Company
- 123 Brand Company”
You gain invaluable social proof and credibility. You can go one step further and ask your clients if you can use their survey feedback as testimonials, too!
Do you have any special techniques to help increase client retention? Share your tips with us in the comments!