Why Customer Retention Is Your #1 Growth Hack

Why Customer Retention is Your #1 Growth Hack

Jen and Twila discuss customer retention — attracting NEW customers vs. wooing current customers, and why the latter is better. You’ll also learn how Blockbuster made Jen see Netflix red.

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Jen McFarland:             [00:01]               Hello and welcome to the Third Paddle Podcast. This is a show for business owners who are all about growth and getting unstuck if you ever get up shit creek. On this episode, if you’ve ever considered what your number one growth hacking goal should be, we’re gonna tell you. It’s actually customer retention. I’m just going to tell you that right now. That’s exactly what we’re going to help you with on this week’s show, and we’re going to help teach you how to focus on that. Right, Twila?

Twila Kaye:                   [00:28]               Right Jen. We’re also going to talk about Blockbuster and Comcast. Ooh.

Jen McFarland:             [00:36]               Oh. Blockbuster. Senta, you’re going to want to listen to this one.

Announcer:                    [00:42]               You’re listening to the Third Paddle Podcast, recorded at the [inaudible [00:00:46] Lounge in the beautiful southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck in business shit creek. Tech strategist Jen McFarland and business strategist Twila Kaye are your third paddle helping you get unstuck.

Twila Kaye:                   [01:03]               Hey Jen, how you doing today?

Jen McFarland:             [01:06]               I’m pretty excited if I get to talk about Blockbuster video.

Twila Kaye:                   [01:08]               I know right? I’m really excited that I get to talk about Comcast and other companies like them too. I love this topic. This topic and this strategy is one of my favorites for growth hacking. Customer retention is number one I am all about quality and not quantity. I know you are too as far as your customers are concerned.

Jen McFarland:             [01:37]               Oh, absolutely. I can tell you that I don’t even know how many people come to me about wanting a funnel. You know? They want the funnel. Everybody is all about the new thing. I want a funnel. I want a funnel. I’m like, “Do you know what a funnel is?” No, but I want a funnel. [crosstalk [00:01:53]

Twila Kaye:                   [01:53]               No but I want one.

Jen McFarland:             [01:56]               I’m sitting here as we’re talking about this and just even the intro and I’m like, “Wait, have I even had one person talk to me about keeping the people they already have?”

Twila Kaye:                   [02:07]               No. You know, it’s ironic that you say that because I was just thinking the same thing. Have I ever in a vision and prophet planning strategy, VIP day or one of my programs or anything, have I had anybody talk about customer retention but myself? The answer is no.

Jen McFarland:             [02:24]               No.

Twila Kaye:                   [02:26]               It’s the least thought of and the most important.

Jen McFarland:             [02:30]               Exactly. Early on with my first ever client, I turned on all of these analytics to look at who’s visiting the site. We learned that it was all these people who were coming back. Members of this group and I was like, “Look. This is how old they are. These are their favorite things to do. Here’s a list of potential events that you can have so these people are happy.”

Twila Kaye:                   [02:57]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [02:58]               None of that ever got done but we built that funnel.

Twila Kaye:                   [03:00]               Right. Right. I look at it even from the simple role that I play with a large networking organization being the leader of one of their local chapters and how important membership retention which they’re customers, they’re customers of our organization and our local chapter and how important it is. We have a bunch of people coming back into the fold that once left because the vision is realigned and the mission is realigned with the new leadership that’s come in and they’re all for it, right? They’re all on board for it. So, in every role you play and in every stage of your business, you should be focused on customer retention everywhere.

Jen McFarland:             [03:53]               Absolutely. Because let’s face it. What’s easier. Keeping what you already have or getting a bunch of new people?

Twila Kaye:                   [04:03]               That raises a really good question because, in some ways, it’s easier to get new people. Keeping customers is one of the most difficult things, but it’s also the simplest thing that you can do. It’s not necessarily the easiest. At least, I don’t think in the business realm. Maybe in technology and funnels and things like that when you’re talking about client attraction and funnels and all that. It’s a lot more difficult. I’ll give you that. To get a new customer than it is to keep a new customer, but on the actual business side, your operations, your delivery, your service, all of that, it’s much more difficult to keep the customer than it is to get a new customer.

Jen McFarland:             [04:48]               I don’t know. So, I kind of want to challenge that a little bit. If a new person needs to come into contact with you seven times, isn’t it easier to talk to the people you already have and let them know what you’re offering, not necessarily so they’ll come back to you as a returning client, but so that they can become your big advocates and they know that they’re still in the fold with you, but see I’m all centered on relationships. That’s the number one thing for me.

Twila Kaye:                   [05:19]               Right. Exactly.

Jen McFarland:             [05:20]               Everything that I do is about keeping people with me and retaining them.

Twila Kaye:                   [05:25]               Right. So, for you, it is the easiest part but there are a lot of people out there that aren’t your personality that aren’t your type of person and who just want to church and burn. We see that a lot even in our space of thought leadership and experts that it’s all about how many new customers can you get into that opt-in and it’s okay if they don’t take my program because if I have thousands of people that are opting in for my stuff, the numbers are going to pay off eventually and they’ve worked the numbers game versus the relationship game. The relationship game to a lot of other people is more difficult.

Jen McFarland:             [06:07]               Yeah, I think to your point, I can see that. I guess for me, it’s like, “Oh my God, I have to build how many more new relationships?” It just seems so much more exhausting to have to appeal to everybody and bring them all into the funnel and think about all of that because I want to build a relationship with people as opposed to, “I have all these great people already. Why don’t I just keep talking to them and they can be my greatest advocate because I do good work.”

Twila Kaye:                   [06:35]               To your point, that’s why companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and other companies have great brand loyalty, right? When you look at companies like Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, it’s not the competitive edge that they have. It’s that they just churn and burn customers. They know that their customer retention isn’t that great and they’re okay with that because they’re going to get another customer in right behind them and the point that I’m trying to make there is even with their customer retention loyalty programs. You look at what they advertise and I’m picking on Comcast a little bit here just because we recently went through this, but they’re advertising that you get all this great stuff, but the only way you get the great stuff, that you get the discount and you get the free NFL package and you get this and that is if you’re what? A brand new customer.

Twila Kaye:                   [07:39]               Not an existing customer. Not a customer that’s been with them as we have for over 10 years, but is a brand new customer. So, I get so frustrated with that. I think if you can give that to brand new customers, what you’re doing is you’re just trying to get them to jump ship from somebody else and come to you but then what are you doing for us? What are you doing for us people who are staying loyal to you but there’s no loyalty to us? So, we start looking for other options.

Jen McFarland:             [08:10]               Absolutely. I love this because … Can I tell my story?

Twila Kaye:                   [08:16]               Yes. Please.

Jen McFarland:             [08:18]               This is a good one. This is a good one.

Twila Kaye:                   [08:20]               I love this. You gotta stop whatever you’re doing and listen to this. If you’re driving in the car, pull over, you’ll wanna hear this.

Jen McFarland:             [08:28]               So, I’m going to preface this by saying that I’ve had bad experiences with Comcast as well and what we ultimately ended up doing was being early adopters to the cord cutting and finding ways that we can stream and we have a different solution to cable TV altogether. A lot of it is because of this repeated poor customer service. They don’t really care about the people they have. They’re always looking for the new person and their customer service reflects that. Whether you’re talking to a rep on the phone or having to wait sometimes six or eight hours for somebody to come out because they can’t give you a two-hour window. That it’s gotta be a whole morning or a whole evening and then if they’re late, they don’t even tell you.

Twila Kaye:                   [09:13]               Right. Look, you gotta sign a two-year contract. That’s their customer retention program.

Jen McFarland:             [09:18]               To lock into a rate that then doubles when you’re out of it and there’s no warning. You’re supposed to remember.

Twila Kaye:                   [09:24]               So, that’s the extent of their customer retention program. Lock you into a contract.

Jen McFarland:             [09:28]               So, that’s the customer retention. So, what that does for people like me at a certain point, you get tired of that relationship or lack thereof and you begin to look at alternatives. So, getting back to my story, one of the reasons that my family became a very, very early adopter of Netflix is because of what happened to me at Blockbuster video. I’m going to tell you, I have friends out there that are like, “Jen, you are a one-person wrecking ball. You took down Blockbuster video all by yourself.”

Twila Kaye:                   [10:04]               Hashtag you’re [welc [00:10:05] everyone.

Jen McFarland:             [10:07]               The truth is, no, but when an experience is so absolutely appalling and insulting, then you are like public enemy number one for a business. You go from being an advocate and a regular customer to saying, “Oh, hell no. I am not going to go back to them.”

Twila Kaye:                   [10:28]               And no one that I know will either or they’ll have to answer to me and they don’t want to answer to me on this.

Jen McFarland:             [10:38]               There is nothing worse than having Jen McFarland with you than having Jen McFarland against you.

Twila Kaye:                   [10:45]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [10:48]               That wrath came down at Blockbuster video. So, here’s the scenario, right? My husband and I lived in Tempe, Arizona. Next to the Albertson’s was Blockbuster video. Literally, a block and these are big blocks, but a block down the road was Hollywood Video next to a Chipotle, okay? I asked my husband to return a video. He didn’t look at the case very closely. He returned the Blockbuster video to the Hollywood Video. I think this is a fair mistake.

Twila Kaye:                   [11:23]               It is. Especially when they’re so close in proximity like that.

Jen McFarland:             [11:26]               And you’re busy.

Twila Kaye:                   [11:27]               Let’s just face it. You’re sending the husband to do it. There I said it. Sorry guys, but you’re all laughing because it’s true.

Jen McFarland:             [11:38]               Because it’s true. Because you really don’t want to do it, to begin with.

Twila Kaye:                   [11:39]               Right. Exactly. So, it’s not that you can’t do something correctly, it’s just you’re not even paying attention because you didn’t want to do it in the first place.

Jen McFarland:             [11:47]               Because you’re like, “Damn it. Another thing.”

Twila Kaye:                   [11:48]               Exactly.

Jen McFarland:             [11:49]               So, Hollywood Video. They don’t know which Blockbuster it’s supposed to go to. They don’t know which customer or who put this video in their slot because I don’t think he took it in. I think he just dropped it in the slot and probably went and-

Twila Kaye:                   [12:03]               Got a burrito. At Chipotle.

Jen McFarland:             [12:04]               At Chipotle.

Twila Kaye:                   [12:06]               Or Taco Bell Down the street.

Jen McFarland:             [12:07]               Or Taco Bell. So, fast forward. We think we’ve returned the video. We’ve done our job. There’s a due date. Clearly, we passed it for that particular video and we don’t get any letters until we owe $50.

Twila Kaye:                   [12:25]               Because of all of the late fees and-

Jen McFarland:             [12:28]               Right. Because of the late fees that we don’t even know have accrued because no one sent us a letter.

Twila Kaye:                   [12:33]               Because you returned the video.

Jen McFarland:             [12:36]               Well, no. Once we knew, we were like, “Holy crap. What happened? I don’t understand.” That’s the whole point of what happened next which is I go into the store and I’m like, “Okay. I don’t understand what this bill is about. I don’t even know which movie is missing. I have a $50 bill. Glad to pay it, but I need to figure out what happened because we’ve returned the video. We don’t have it in our house. I don’t know what’s going on. The manager of that store, I don’t even remember because I have to admit, at a certain point I only saw red. Literally.

Twila Kaye:                   [13:10]               You didn’t see his name tag.

Jen McFarland:             [13:11]               Did not. No, it was a woman. It was a woman manager. I still remember what she looked like in her little khaki pants and blue button-down shirt. Then proceeds to accuse me of stealing. I’m sure it was some stupid video. Accused me of stealing and not wanting to pay the bill.

Twila Kaye:                   [13:33]               Well, you must have loved Napoleon Dynamite, didn’t you?

Jen McFarland:             [13:36]               This was-

Twila Kaye:                   [13:37]               Wanted to keep it forever.

Jen McFarland:             [13:38]               This was before Napoleon Dynamite. This was before Peace Corps because we were in Arizona so this was probably circa 2001 or 2002 or something. I don’t know how it escalated to the point of me never paying this bill and me literally standing toe to toe with this manager yelling at her and telling her no one accuses me of stealing. I’ll pay your bill right now. Then we had to go figure out what happened with the video. How it escalated to that point, I have no idea. I’m in the store trying to pay the bill for a video I didn’t even know was missing and it goes to me being accused of theft for probably some stupid video because we used to rent movies all the time, so it was anything. It probably wasn’t even anything that was any good. You know? Which clearly we missed the deadline.

Jen McFarland:             [14:34]               Not even arguing that point. At any rate, I leave. My face is red, I’m all flush. My husband is standing outside of Blockbuster because he had gone into Albertson’s to get something. White as a ghost saying, “What have you done now?” We’ve gotta clear out of this place. I go home and I’m sending letters to every district manager, everybody. They’re apologetic and saying, “We will give you anything.” I’m like it does not matter. I am done. We found the video at Hollywood Video. They said, “Oh, yeah. This has been sitting here for a couple of months, we just didn’t know what to do with it.” I said, “thank you very much.” Threw it in the slot, paid the bill. I was done.

Jen McFarland:             [15:21]               We got Netflix for no other reason than there was no damn deadline. They came in the mail. If it sat there for a month, it was fine. They didn’t give a shit.

Twila Kaye:                   [15:31]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [15:32]               Nothing would happen to us and we didn’t have to deal with people because I was done. Then I told every-

Twila Kaye:                   [15:40]               And your personality, when you’re done, you are done.

Jen McFarland:             [15:44]               I am done.

Twila Kaye:                   [15:45]               The light switch. It is never coming on again.

Jen McFarland:             [15:49]               Right. So, the reason I said [Senta [00:15:51] you’re going to want to listen to this is I became the biggest anti-Blockbuster person you have ever heard. This was at a time when Netflix was nothing. This was before Netflix disrupted the entire environment and took out Hollywood Video and Blockbuster Video and anybody else in that space because of the convenience and because of all of the things that they offered that these other companies obviously were not offering. They weren’t adapting and changing with the environment. In the case of Blockbuster, they had boots on the ground people that were not fulfilling a mission because clearly what I was getting from people higher up in the organization is we don’t do business this way. We don’t know how this happened.

Jen McFarland:             [16:35]               I’m like, “Done. You’re gone.”

Twila Kaye:                   [16:37]               Yeah. You’re gone. I’m not dealing with you anymore.

Jen McFarland:             [16:39]               I’m not dealing with this and I became the biggest anti-Blockbuster person you have ever heard. Katie and Senta, my two besties would be like, “So we just rented this movie.” From where.

Twila Kaye:                   [16:52]               I’m not telling you.

Jen McFarland:             [16:55]               Blockbuster. I’m not coming over. Okay. What happened? Come on.

Twila Kaye:                   [17:01]               They’re like, “Come on. It’s a movie. Just come over.” And you’re like, “No. If there’s Blockbuster in the home, I am not coming over.”

Jen McFarland:             [17:09]               They were our neighbors. They’re our neighbors. Our best friends and our neighbors. Literally, I could open my front door of our apartment and look at their front door. Senta is like, “But Blockbuster is closer.” I don’t care.

Twila Kaye:                   [17:23]               I’m not coming over with Blockbuster in your house.

Jen McFarland:             [17:24]               I’m not coming over. That’s what we all have to be careful when we are establishing customer service when we’re establishing everything that we’re trying to build and how we work with people even on our worst days we have to be thinking about customer retention in the back of our mind because that advocate can flip into-

Twila Kaye:                   [17:47]               An anti.

Jen McFarland:             [17:48]               An anti.

Twila Kaye:                   [17:49]               With quicker, as my dad would say, lickety-split. My Idaho is showing on that. Quicker than lickety-split they can turn from advocate to anti really quick. I love that story. It never gets old. I think that’s the third time that I’ve heard it now and every time you tell it, you’re still as emotional as you were the first time that you tell it because it was just so burning to you, right?

Jen McFarland:             [18:22]               Well, nobody accuses me of stealing. I’m sorry. Don’t go there. Accuse me of being forgetful. Accuse me of taking it to the wrong damn store which is what happened. Accuse me of anything but don’t tell me that I’m a crook. Don’t go there.

Accuse me of anything but don't tell me that I'm a crook. Don't go there. #customerservice #business Click To Tweet

Twila Kaye:                   [18:37]               Exactly. As business owners and business leaders, we don’t stop always to think about stuff like that. Right? How are our people who are representing us talking to people and ourselves even talking and how are we handling certain situations? Because like you said, if you’re retaining customers well, they become your brand loyalists and your brand advocates. They will bring you more new customers than you could ever spend on advertising and marketing to get them in. You can’t buy that type of gold.

Jen McFarland:             [19:20]               Exactly.

Twila Kaye:                   [19:21]               The gold that a brand advocate brings for you that referral is so much more money in your pocket than a new customer coming into a funnel could ever be because they’re already sold before they get there. You don’t have to sell them. Your brand advocates, your friends have already sold them. So, anything you tell them you have to offer, they’re going to get it.

Jen McFarland:             [19:50]               Right.

Twila Kaye:                   [19:50]               But if that person is out there telling them how horrible you treated them or how bad you made them feel or that you went somewhere you should have never gone, you were inappropriate in some way, that in itself you can’t build enough funnels to overcome.

Jen McFarland:             [20:10]               Right. I think that we all make mistakes. Everybody. We all say things we shouldn’t say and we all do things that we shouldn’t do. So, this isn’t like you have to be perfect and you’re not going to keep everybody.

Twila Kaye:                   [20:23]               Right. You’re always going to piss somebody off. Let’s get that straight, right? But those are your onesies, twosies and people can overlook those because you’ve got so much other good that’s out there. You’ve got so many other people that are talking great things about you and so many other case studies and testimonials that prove otherwise that those one or two bad reviews on Yelp or on Google or comment on your Facebook post or the hater or whatever, they’re going to go away and people are going to see them for what they are.

Jen McFarland:             [20:57]               Well, to a certain extent, especially in the space that we’re in as thought leaders in this area if you’re not controversial to a certain extent, what’s the point? You’re not doing your job. But what I would say is if you’re trying to build community or if you’re trying to build a brand that has a certain promise, you have to stick to that. Foster growth came out of meeting so many women entrepreneurs that honestly were just screwed over by tech guys that didn’t have any customer service and were just doing whatever the hell they wanted.

Twila Kaye:                   [21:36]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [21:38]               I’m building a community around empowering women entrepreneurs to take charge. That’s what I’m building a community around. I help men and women, but the community building that I’m doing, these aren’t just customers. The community I’m building is around empowering women to say, “It’s my product. I can do this. This is my business. This is my space,” and getting what they need in terms of the technology tools and tactics that they want to use.

Twila Kaye:                   [22:05]               Right. You and I share in that in that too I have women and men customers, clients, but my community building is around that woman and empowering her to be self-reliant. Empowering her to build her empire. The business, the life, the relationships that she’s wanted all along. So, if I don’t meet that promise, if I don’t offer products and programs that meet that promise, I’m never going to retain a client or a customer. If I don’t do that well, if they come in to my fold and they go into one of my training courses or they come to a VIP day and I’m just spewing fortune cookie advice, they’re never going to buy another program and they’re going to go out and they’re going to tell people, “Well, that was a waste. I should have never spent that $1000 or that $2000.”

Jen McFarland:             [23:05]               Can you give me an example? I want an example of fortune cookie advice, please.

Twila Kaye:                   [23:10]               Fortune cookie advice. You know, just those really short quips like everything is a quote almost that you teach or that they’ve heard from 100 other people in the same way.

Jen McFarland:             [23:31]               I know. I just wanted you to say something so I could say, “In bed,” but you’re not going to give me that fortune cookie joke.

Twila Kaye:                   [23:39]               That’s where you were going.

Jen McFarland:             [23:40]               You’re not walking into my fortune cookie joke.

Twila Kaye:                   [23:44]               We have so digressed. So digressed here. She just wanted to say, “In bed,” after that. That’s awesome.

Jen McFarland:             [23:51]               I mean, you guys all know what I’m talking about right?

Twila Kaye:                   [23:52]               That’s awesome. Fortune cookie advice of course. You read the fortune cookie and then go, “In bed,”

Jen McFarland:             [23:57]               Good things are going to come to your household in bed.

Twila Kaye:                   [24:00]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [24:01]               That’s all I wanted to do, but you didn’t walk into my plan.

Twila Kaye:                   [24:06]               I didn’t play along.

Jen McFarland:             [24:08]               But I think we all know. We’ve talked about that a little bit where you go to a seminar and you’re getting all the same stuff rehashed over and over and over again because people are taking your stuff or taking somebody else’s stuff and mimicking it and not offering something new.

Twila Kaye:                   [24:26]               Not producing their own expertise and knowledge with it.

Jen McFarland:             [24:30]               Yeah. I think that a lot of what we’re talking about is increasing the value for the people that you already have in front of you. Making sure that they realize how important they are to you.

Twila Kaye:                   [24:43]               Yeah. If you’re going to adopt a reward system for new customers that come in the fold, you darn well better create one for your already existing customers first.

Jen McFarland:             [24:57]               Oh exactly. I can’t agree more. I think also I talk to my customers about things that I want to do and if it resonates with them. They’re such a great fertile landscape for finding out what they need, if they’re getting everything they need, what it is that they want, what would a loyalty program even look like? Finding out what resonates with them not only so that you can roll it out to other people, but so you can offer it.

Twila Kaye:                   [25:29]               Right. You know what I’ve recently done? I’ve taken a group of my past clients and instead of creating a marketing forum to test a new product idea, a new program idea, instead of getting all new people into the fold, I went to those people that have already worked with me, that have already gone through one, two, three of my programs at different levels and had them come in and be my focus group for that. Right?

Jen McFarland:             [26:00]               Right.

Twila Kaye:                   [26:01]               Because who better to trust that they’re going to be honest and tell me what I’m going to need to know than the people who have already worked with me?

Jen McFarland:             [26:11]               Oh, exactly.

Twila Kaye:                   [26:12]               Especially when I tell them, “Look, I’m inviting you to do this because one, I respect you. I value you. You’ve been an important person and an important customer and an important part of my business. I value your opinion.” I tell them, “But I also know you’re going, to be honest with me and if I’m delivering something that sucks, you’re going to tell me.” I might pay $49 for that, but I’m not going to pay $497 for that.

Jen McFarland:             [26:44]               Exactly. I think that if you’re not using tools like MailChimp or Active Campaign right now, I would say that one of the best places to start is with your existing customers. So, if you’re really afraid of email marketing and all of that kind of stuff-

Twila Kaye:                   [27:04]               Just love on them.

Jen McFarland:             [27:05]               Just love on them. Just-

Twila Kaye:                   [27:07]               If nothing else, send them inspirations. You brought up a good point a while back a couple of years ago when I was making the shift out of Woman Up Global into mainly Twila Kaye International, had a list of over 700 people on the Woman Up Global list and they hadn’t heard from me in a while. One day I just thought, “You know, that’s okay. I’m just going to send them a note of inspiration. I’m just going to send them, hey how are you doing? I haven’t forgotten about you. Today this is what my intention is for you and I know you can do it.” You could not imagine the response I got. I had over 100 emails sent back to me. Replies that were just like, “Oh my gosh, Twila, thank you so much. It has been a long time. We love what you’re doing. Keep it up. Thank you I needed to hear this today.” Or, “Gosh, just when I thought nobody cared you did. Thank you.”

Twila Kaye:                   [28:15]               It goes a long way. You don’t have to have this big funnel to sift out to them or any strategy or anything. You can just send a note of hey, you know what? I was thinking about you today and I just want to thank you for being in my community because you’re an important part of it.

Jen McFarland:             [28:33]               Yeah. You just let people know that you care.

Twila Kaye:                   [28:35]               Yeah.

Jen McFarland:             [28:36]               And that you’re paying attention. Sometimes that’s the most valuable thing that you can provide. I send out a newsletter. I try for every month. Sometimes I get a little behind. But I’ve been pretty good about it and people love it. It’s really just for existing customers really. I don’t really-

Twila Kaye:                   [29:04]               Right. Just keeping in touch with them.

Jen McFarland:             [29:06]               Yeah. I don’t really push the newsletter thing. So, what I do though is there’s so much value in there. I don’t really sell. I maybe put an offer at the end, but it’s not a high-pressure sale because-

Twila Kaye:                   [29:20]               Not every time do you do that either because I get your newsletter.

Jen McFarland:             [29:24]               Not every time. If I have something going on and I genuinely feel it’s a value and people might want to do it, then I put an offer in there and it’s always discounted for the people who are on that list.

Twila Kaye:                   [29:35]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [29:35]               That I don’t offer to other people but I don’t do it every time because if I don’t have anything going on, what’s the point? I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to make something up.

Twila Kaye:                   [29:43]               Well, they’re already in your fold. You don’t need to sell to them all the time, right? For you out there for you listeners out there that are thinking, “Oh wait. I thought newsletters were dead,” here’s the point that I want to make about this and Jen, I’d love your input on this too is newsletters are not dead. They may be dead as an opt-in type of tactic, but they are not dead as far as a customer retention. In fact, it’s probably one of the tactics that is most alive for customer retention.

Jen McFarland:             [30:18]               Oh. I think so. What I do for myself and me don’t know what other people do, a lot of it was based on the advice I got from Elizabeth Case at Yellow Dog consulting is throughout the month, I just find little tidbits that I think that people who’ve worked with me would be interested in or comments I’ve received from people, emails. I just keep them in an Evernote doc and then at the end of the month, I look at all of it and I pick out the best parts and then if you’ve been listening to this show, you know that I always have some sort of funny story or something and I usually start off with some sort of story or something that I saw on the internet that I can’t believe I saw and then I share some things that I think are valuable for people and why I think they’d be valuable for them and then I send that.

Jen McFarland:             [31:09]               I take my time and I put a lot of thought and care into it because these are my people.

Twila Kaye:                   [31:14]               Right. You want to give them the very best information and very best value that you possibly can. That’s how we should all be looking at our customers once they come in the fold. That’s why I say-

Jen McFarland:             [31:29]               That’s what a newsletter is honestly.

Twila Kaye:                   [31:31]               Right. That’s why I say, for the most part, customer retention is harder than new customer acquisition for a lot of people. Not for you, but for a lot of people it is because they can just go out and get people to come over to them, but it’s another thing to keep them.

Jen McFarland:             [31:51]               Right, but I’m an introvert, so it’s a lot easier for me to keep the people when I already have them than it is to necessarily go out and glad-hand a bunch of people because it doesn’t always feel authentic for me. I like to really talk to and meet people. So, I’ve found a way that I can do that, that I can network and it feels very authentic for me, but it was a process. So, yes. I would say this as your tech strategist. The subscribe to my newsletter that you want to put on the bottom of your website, that’s dead.

Twila Kaye:                   [32:25]               Right. Exactly. That is dead.

Jen McFarland:             [32:27]               That is dead. The “I have a newsletter for people who are in the fold” is not dead.

Twila Kaye:                   [32:33]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [32:33]               It is an excellent way once a month so you’re not bombing people. Because some people are one and done, but they’re still your advocates, so you’re giving them something they can forward and say, “Oh, you know I was telling you about this woman, about this company or whatever a while back. Here’s something from them and I think this might help you.”

Twila Kaye:                   [32:52]               Right.

Jen McFarland:             [32:52]               That’s loyalty. You’re providing value, they’re passing it along to somebody else.

Twila Kaye:                   [32:56]               Absolutely. They’re going to love you for it. I had an experience not long ago where I had a new referral come in and I asked her how she had heard about me. She said, “Oh, my friend Bonnie gets your newsletter. She just got it the other day. Forwarded it to me because you were talking about something that she knew I would be interested in so I reached out because I need your help.” So, you never know what that newsletter to your existing customers, where that’s going. Trust me, they are forwarding it. They’re looking at it. They’re sharing that information with other people because they love you. Because you love them first.

Jen McFarland:             [33:41]               Right. Unless you’re Blockbuster.

Twila Kaye:                   [33:44]               Unless you’re Blockbuster or Comcast or Sprint or anybody else who is doing something for new customers and not your existing customers. If that is you, stop it. Stop it right now.

Jen McFarland:             [33:56]               I’m not really clear what your position is on that.

Twila Kaye:                   [33:58]               Stop it. Don’t be a Blockbuster.

Jen McFarland:             [34:05]               Whoa. Whoa.

Twila Kaye:                   [34:09]               All right guys. I think we are down to the end of this episode. I think we have beaten the dead horse of what is it with me with skinning cats and dead horses-

Jen McFarland:             [34:18]               I don’t know.

Twila Kaye:                   [34:19]               I’ve gotta get off the animal kick here. I really am an animal lover. I really, really am. But I think we’ve kicked this enough that you totally understand where we’re coming from on customer retention and if you’re not focusing on any other growth strategy in your business, you need to be focusing on that. Even if you don’t have a customer yet. Even if you don’t have a customer yet. Focus on customer retention and what you’ll do for them once you have them because that is the most important. So, thank you so much for tuning in to The Third Paddle Podcast. You can download from iTunes, from Google Play and we’re also on SoundCloud and lots of other places.

Jen McFarland:             [35:06]               Oh, all over the place.

Twila Kaye:                   [35:10]               Subscribe and hey, forward some episodes to some of your friends. If you have any questions or want some advice about something, you can reach Jen and me at info@thirdpaddle.com

Jen McFarland:             [35:25]               That’s right. Next week, we’re going to be talking about measuring whether your growth hacking is really working so please look forward to that and then until next time, thank you.

Announcer:                    [35:37]               Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle Podcast. If you like our show and want to learn more, check out our website at www.thirdpaddle.com or leave us a review on iTunes. Send questions or topic ideas to info@thirdpaddle.com and don’t forget to tune in each week to get even more technology and business tips to help you navigate business shit creek. The Third Paddle Podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth Online at www.fostergrowth.tech and Twila Kaye International Online at www.twilakaye.com.

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Third Paddle

Leadership and Tech Consultant Jennifer McFarland is your 'third paddle' helping you navigate the business rapids with humor, banter, and fun while helping your business get unstuck so you can focus on growth. Tools, tactics, and strategies to move your business forward including actionable strategies to resolve lingering tech issues and interviews with subject-matter experts. Topics include leadership, marketing, and technology.

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