You know that old saying, “It’s cheaper to retain a client than get a new one”? Well, it’s a common refrain for a reason: it’s true. And here’s why:

The existing client has already moved through the Know Like Trust cycle of your marketing engine.

And even more, after they trusted you, they BOUGHT what you are offering! So renewing them will be a whole heck of a lot easier than starting from scratch to build likability and trust with someone new.

Therefore, all business owners with longevity in mind should put extra effort into KEEPING their clients once they have them.

Here are 4 methods I use to retain existing DCM Communications clients:

1. Handwritten thank you notes.

In an age of email marketing, which I LOVE and beat the drum loudly for, receiving a handwritten note is rare. That is also what makes it even more impactful.

My clients get a thank you note at the end of a project, when they provide a referral to someone else, and at the end of the year to show my appreciation for their trust and business. A few extra minutes of personal outreach goes a long way.

2. “Checking in” emails.

If I haven’t talked to a past client in a while, I’ll send an email to simply check on their business. I make sure to mention something I saw on social media (or the lack thereof) and keep it as a genuine outreach.

It’s not about renewing them at that moment. It’s about nurturing a relationship and demonstrating I actually care about their business.

3. End of year thank you gifts.

This is pretty common, but I make sure it’s one of two things (and sometimes both!):

A) something they actually use over and over.
B) branded with their logo on it (they care about their logo a lot more than mine)

It doesn’t have to be the most expensive gift, but truly a thoughtful one that’ll make their life easier.

Examples of gifts I’ve sent:

→ Bluetooth speakers branded with their logo on the front, mine on the back
→ Desktop cell phone stands
→ Portable power banks for charging their phones on the go (easier to capture content marketing material that way 😉)
→ Candles with motivational phrases on the labels from another woman-owned small business
→ Desktop vacuums for the ones who I know eat lunch at their desk

phone stand, power bank and desktop vacuum

4. And above all, providing a genuine and beneficial service to them.

My goal is to always make my client’s lives easier whether it’s through teaching them how to do their marketing more efficiently & effectively OR taking it off their plate so they can do other business tasks.

Either way, I prove my value to them every time we work together (i.e. by getting results!) so that even if they don’t need me all the time, when they do need marketing guidance or assistance, they always come back to DCM.


Channing Muller is an award winning marketing & public relations consultant and the principal of DCM Communications, based out of Chicago. She works with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses with refined marketing strategies developed through one-on-one and group consulting, customized marketing programs and public relations. She has been named a "25 Young Event Pro to Watch" by Special Events magazine and "40 Under 40" by Connect Meetings. Channing is an avid runner, lover of Labrador Retrievers, good food, delicious drinks, and an advocate for the American Heart Association.

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