By Mark Nardone
Blue Cow Software

Keeping in touch with your customers is an important way to retain their loyalty and keep them engaged with your company. Demonstrating your interest in them by providing helpful and interesting information is a great way to solidify a relationship based on something more than the lowest price per gallon. But how often should you communicate with your customers?

Many business people worry about overdoing it. They are concerned about getting in front of customers too often and risking alienating them. Then again, letting too much time go between communications could result in customers forgetting about you, and leaves them open to overtures by the competition.

According to the Direct Marketing Association’s National Client Email report, most marketers (35 percent) send two to three emails a month. Nine percent of marketers send six to eight emails a month, and 19 percent send just one email a month.

Does that seem like a lot to you? Perhaps it is not. In fact, it is likely that whatever you are doing now is probably not enough. According to a separate survey by MarketingSherpa, 61 percent of users prefer receiving a promotional email at least once a month. Surprisingly, 15 percent of users say they wouldn’t mind receiving a promotional email every day. The same study concluded that 91 percent of users have no issues with promotional emails.

It is important that your emails are well targeted, informative, and easily accessible. A constant barrage of “hard sell” messages is sure to turn off many customers. Instead, focus on topics that intersect with the interests you share with customers: energy efficiency, home comfort, home safety, and other information that can be helpful around the house.

Don’t forget past customers. Almost every fuel oil or propane dealer has customers who have been inactive for a while. They should not be ignored. Even if you don’t feel there is a lot of future potential there, you should be contacting them at least once per quarter.

Here are some tips from Entrepreneur magazine on how to set frequency:

  • Let your customers choose how many emails they wish to receive. You can have this option when they sign up for newsletters, or you can get this information through a poll.
  • Pay attention to figures. See your opening rates and how many subscriptions and unsubscribes you are getting. These numbers will help you bring changes to your plan, if necessary.
  • If you have low engagement rates, you may need to increase or decrease the number of emails you are sending. Engagement is basically getting your desired result out of an email: a purchase, an inquiry, or simply the goodwill of somebody opening and reading it.
  • Make sure all your emails add value to your readers. Do not send an email that’s spammy or does nothing for the user.

Many businesses never contact their customers. They are content to sit and wait for customers to call. They are losing business and are likely losing customers too. Don’t let that happen to you. Many types of customer communications can be automated with today’s technology. A robust customer relationship management (CRM) system can automate email, letters, or even voice mail messages.

If you’d like more information on how a CRM program can help your propane or fuel oil business reach more customers click here. Or call us at (888) 499-2583.