Give Workshops to Build Loyalty
For many years I’ve been a Constant Contact customer. Week in and out, it’s managed my “Print Tips” email marketing campaigns. But it wasn’t until last week—a full 7½ years into our business relationship—that they did something so fantastic, so stupendous, that I just had to talk about it. It makes me want to tell everyone I know about them.
What would you give to have your customers react the same way? What if they felt so jubilant, so energized, by something you did for them, that any hint of hesitation they might have had about you and your company just evaporated up, up and away into the very stratosphere?
What could Constant Contact have possibly done to get me, as cynical as they come, to change my impression of this service business?
A Offer me a discount on my subscription?
B Send me some sort of tchotchke or promotional gift?
C Give me tickets to a baseball or football game?
D None of the above.
Indeed, it was none of the above. Options A – C are all-too-obvious gifts that some companies try to shower their customers with. I don’t think anything that falls under these three options would cause a stir with clients.
What they did was invite me to a local Customer Appreciation Workshop in their Waltham, Massachusetts, headquarters. Perhaps I’ve missed other invitations during these years; I honestly don’t recall. But this one was a slam-dunk success for several reasons.
- The branding said it all. The event name, “Customer Appreciation Workshop,” got my immediate attention. Let’s be honest: “customer appreciation” anything is a smart tactic. Right away I felt “special.” Customers never tire of such gestures.
- The workshop was well-defined. The emailed invitation spelled out exactly what this event was all about. It promised to teach us things that would make us better email marketers. It was clearly not just for beginners. Having produced my own conferences, I can confirm how vital the written description of an event is for attendees. It’s all we have to go on, so it had better be accurate. And they absolutely delivered the goods.
- It was free and convenient. Everyone likes free, though it’s not always possible. I think your events for customers should be free. You don’t have to serve lobster or champagne. They served us a delicious continental breakfast buffet, with tons of fresh fruit, muffins, plus endless carafes of tea and coffee. And their Waltham headquarters is just 15 miles from my home office. Yes, I fought brutal rush hour traffic to get there, but it was worth it in spades.
- They delivered a professional and well-designed workshop. I’ve hosted dozens of conferences and dinner programs, so I’m all too familiar with event management. Things often go wrong, whether it’s with the room, the AV, the refreshments, the speakers, the timing of the various talks or even the parking.
This workshop was smooth as silk. Three speakers presented to us for three hours (9 a.m. to noon), which went incredibly fast. (That alone is a sign you have a winning program.)
- They drew a crowd of interested customers. It seemed to me that there were about 200 people in that room. It felt great being among a mix of new customers and seasoned clients like myself. This will sound strange, but sitting among so many customers gave me the sense that I’m working with the right service provider. Yes, if you can pack them in, you’ll create a buzz.
- They seemed delighted to have us there. I’ve been in workshops or conference sessions where the speakers or hosts were ho-hum boring. In contrast, these speakers were animated without seeming fake or insincere in the least. They were psyched, which helps keep the audience interested in what’s being said.
- They delivered something of value to me. I got information and guidance to help me run my business, help me be more successful and do things in a more efficient manner. As much as I know about email marketing, I thought that maybe I was missing some easy tips and tricks that the Constant Contact platform offers me. I’d taught myself how to use it, all those years back, and decided it was time to see what I might be overlooking—or doing wrong.
I took tons of notes, and indeed, I learned practical things that I immediately put into effect. These mainly had to do with reporting and tagging, managing emails and thinking more strategically about my campaigns.
Guess which of these seven points is the most important? It’s No. 7: the fact that they delivered value in the form of educational information to all of the customers there. That it was a live event made it more significant and memorable. I heard (and asked) questions in a way you simply can’t do in an online channel. I spoke with the presenters, one-on-one, mainly to congratulate them.
There’s something unique and energizing about group events for your customers. Open houses can be great and are often fun, but if you can offer them educational or informational sessions that are well organized and expertly delivered, and can attract a large crowd, you’re going to “score big,” as the saying goes.
Thinking back on this whole workshop experience, here’s why it made such an indelible impression on me—and why I’m not only likely to remain a Constant Contact customer, but also likely to recommend it to others:
- They gave me information about working with their product that was valuable to me in how I run my business. In a nutshell, they taught me things I am so glad I now know.
- The information presented in their workshop was 100 percent relevant to me. (Frankly, I didn’t care if it was relevant to anyone else in the room.)
- The insights I learned were easy for me to implement myself and will make me a more strategic email marketer. I can use what I learned in that workshop.
- They didn’t waste my time. The three-hour workshop was designed really well and moved “apace,” as those Middle English speakers would say.
If you can identify what to teach your customers about how to work with you (really, how to work with printers in general) in ways that will empower and energize them, as well as make them more successful in their own jobs, well, that is your golden ticket to building a buzz.
Host one of these customer workshops a couple of times a year, deliver on your promise and the word-of-mouth marketing that you’ll get will be fabulous. PI
About the Author
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She’s as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event business, she is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com