Instead of doubling down on marketing and sales, never neglect your existing customer base.
A happy customer is your best investment to date. After successfully closing a deal, the best you can do is discovering ongoing opportunities to grow their business.
That’s what helped us grow to 45 folks at DevriX and generate 95% of our revenue through different recurring revenue plans.
My Top 5 looks like this:
2. Maintenance and support plans
3. Tackling seasonal verticals and balancing high and low seasons
4. Repetitive batches of work, i.e. initiatives applicable to everyone
5. Productizing services
Going through each of these in the video. What’s your favorite recurring revenue technique?
00:01:08 – What we do at Devrix
00:02:51 – What you can do with most clients
00:04:01 – Different Seasons, Different Offers
00:05:34 – How you can leverage trends
00:06:54 – Mix it up!
Hey guys! Mario Peshev from DevriX here. Today’s question is, “how to maintain your clientele or how to take your existing customers and make them returning customers, repeat customers or even ongoing customers?”
Question: How to Maintain Your Clientele?
Now it’s a very common question especially among freelancers, startups, starting businesses, entrepreneurs, and people who don’t really have existing customers already or just have a couple of clients and want to really scale to dozens, hundreds, thousands, depending on the type of industry.
And, if you think about it, almost all tutorials out there and books and video courses are actually related to lead generation and sales and things like that for new customers. While statistics show that your existing customers are your best clients simply because they already trust you, you’ve done some job for them, they are happy, they’ve probably given you review, a testimonial, and they would most likely be willing to work with you again in the long run.
Different Techniques for Specific Customers
Now, this is not necessarily the case for every single type of business and every single type of client, which is why there are different techniques that you can apply as a service-oriented professional to those specific customers.
Technique #1 Retainers
Now, number one – technique number one is retainers.
Retainers is what we do at DevriX for a living. It accounts for about 95 percent of our revenue right now and it means that we are signing long-term contracts with our customers on a kind of month to month basis for a prolonged period of time. So our clients have been with us for over three years.
We work with them on kind of semi-implementation, semi-consulting basis with some support included in order to make sure that they have, they kind of hit goals on a month to month basis with new features, new expectations and kind of reviews, reports, optimization, everything that we can actually deliver as a business. So that’s kind of our preferred approach. This is the best thing that we kind of came up as the best practice. But of course, there are pros and cons.
The pros: It’s kind of high revenue operation. It could be scaled easily if you have kind of a larger number of clients but at the same time, you can scale it as easily simply because it accounts for a larger number of followers. Meaning that you can’t really work with hundreds or thousands of clients if you want to, you need to work with a limited number of customers because you need to pay more attention.
You need to spend more time – there is a lot more consultancy and other things involved in that process and not every specific customer is happy to do an ongoing basis thing unless tied to an ROI thing. Meaning that you can ensure that emergencies are being taken care of and you can also provide some additional value. From a marketing sales commercial rate optimization, experts’ perspective or anything else that helps them scale and may make more money as a result. So that’s kind of the first thing.
Technique #2 Maintenance
The second thing is maintenance.
And, of course, maintenance means that you can potentially work with a customer, you can do something for them, and at the same time you can tell them, “hey, if you can pay me X dollars a month, I’m going to do ABC for you.” Now, that’s not necessarily ideal but sometimes it’s a pretty cool deal especially if you kind of package it in some form of a bundle, like for example, say you’re not paying and making sure that their hosting is in place and they are then taking care of ABC. There are actually external services that you manage like their ads, or their SEO, or their Content Marketing or something like that.
So, you can really package a great deal. And throughout this deal, you can work with a bunch of different clients, doing one of the projects and at the same time making sure that maintenance is being taken care of as well. So again, that’s kind of the second tip. It’s something that you can do with most of your clients. It’s cheaper to retain or it’s something that’s kind of less urgent for the most part so most of the time you can do it in your own spare time. So again, there are some pros from picking these packages or this type of service offering as well.
Technique #3 Seasonality
Number three is seasonality.
Now some forms of businesses do really well throughout certain seasons. So, you as a specific kind of expert in your industry, you can try to tap into different seasons for different types of industries and nag your clients to kind of repeat ongoing campaigns or something like that throughout those specific seasons.
And if you’re smart and you can do it early enough prior to the holiday itself in order to take on a longer period of time before a holiday instead of having tons of overlap over the course of several days or just a couple weeks. Meaning that like, for example, we have two or three months before Christmas we can start in preparation with some plans now. Do the work by the end of say, I don’t know, September, October, November and have plenty of time before the actual holiday arrives so that we can take on other emergencies. Or, you can just plan your work upfront. And then, you can do the same thing for those clients on Christmas and you can kind of mix it in with Black Friday or Thanksgiving or Easter or on the Fourth of July, things like that. That sort of seasonality.
Or if you work with businesses that happen to be busy throughout the winter season, try to find something during the summer season so that you can take advantage of say, February through the end of April or even May to do some campaigns for them. So this way, you’re kind of distributing responsibility and allocating budget across the entire year instead of sticking to a specific, very limited, narrow kind of time interval.
Technique #4 One-Off Activities
Number four is just doing regular one-off activities.
That works well for specific types of plans like if you do SEO or if you do designs, if you do UX, some other things or ad ops, you have certain trends and most of your clients can potentially leverage those trends. Meaning that without actually imposing competition, you can more or less apply the same type of work for different clients. Like, if there’s a new trend for SEO or your performance optimization or migrations or a new tool that you’ve adopted or something else, you can slowly create batches of migrations and deployments and optimization procedures for all of your clients.
So if you actually plan your business model in a similar way, you can come up with a new idea every month or every other month for those specific customers and it works pretty well because again, if you have 10 customers and each of those batches takes say, 20 hours of your work, this means that closing eight of your customers is 160 hours of work for those customers even if you do it over the course of two months. It’s still about 80 hours a month or kind of working half-time applying those batches, those integrations for those clients. Do you know what I’m saying?
Technique #5 Productized Service
And also number five is trying to do some form of a mix between these by doing something like a productized service.
Like, you can build a platform or you can hire someone to build a platform for reporting or custom dashboards or you can integrate something like, I don’t know, newsletters and so on that comes with the latest referrals or you can actually record courses and other things that you don’t necessarily have to do as a service but you can productize your knowledge in a certain way.
Again, through courses, through software, through some form of a reseller approach, through hosting or anything else that helps you deliver value on an ongoing basis without having to spend a ton of time for every single iteration. So again, you can sell that as a separate thing. You can sell it in addition to your maintenance packages. You can sell it in an upsell to your one-off product but regardless, this is something else that you can do.
So those are more or less the five things that you can apply as a strategy for maintaining and continuously working with your clientele.
You can do retainers. You can focus on maintenance packages. You can do the seasonality thing and take leverage of those seasons. You can do your own seasons through different iterations with regular one-off activities or you can productize your service.
If you have any other ideas, definitely let me know in the comments. I’m happy to get back to you.