Here’s an incident that made me dust off and restart my past customer marketing activities.

About 3 weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail. Yeah, snail mail. Typically, when I get something from the US Postal Office, it’s either:

  • A bill
  • junk mail
  • One of the last hard copy magazines that I refuse to give up.

At this point, everyone I know either sends me email, gives me a tweet on Twitter, sends me a text, meets with me on Google, links to me on Linkedin, or calls me on my smartphone. These days, snail mail only brings me uninteresting news at best, and bad news at worst.

So when this bright yellow 4×6 inch envelope arrived in the mail, complete with a real name in the return address and a stamp in the upper right hand corner, addressing me by name, it caught my attention.

dale carnegie principles used in customer marketing and sales - curious envelope

Even the address and return address looked like someone had handwritten it, adding their personal touch to the correspondence. For a savvy direct marketer, this is easy enough to do with a printer and some clever fonts. Still, it looked extremely personal and inviting.

The thing had me curious. When I first saw it, I thought to myself, “Mike G? I don’ t know a Mike G. Who is this guy?”

So, guess which piece of mail I opened first?

When I opened it, I found this card inside.

dale carnegie principles used in customer marketing and sales - image card

At this point, I really needed to know who Mike G was. So I opened the card and found this.

dale carnegie principles used in customer marketing and sales - regular contact


RoadRunner Sports, where I bought my shoes to run the Akron Marathon, was reaching out to me again 6 months later to stay on my radar.

Not a bad strategy, actually.

Two Dale Carnegie Principles To consider in your Customer Marketing Campaigns

There are two things to consider here.

First, the friendly, personal appearance of this letter stood out from the humdrum, here-comes-another-bill look. I opened it first over everything else because:

  1. It used my name
  2. It had a sender’s name

You can do this same type of personalized, stand-out-from-the-crowd implementation in email. In fact, in a previous post entitle Email Marketing Ideas Using The Dale Carnegie Principles, we discussed how using the Carnegie Principles in an email customer marketing campaign can boost your open rate. So when personalizing your email in your marketing campaigns, keep Dale Carnegie’s 6th principle at the forefront of your attention:

Remember That A Person’s Name Is To That Person, The Sweetest and Most Important Sound In any Language.  

Personalize your email by using your client’s name. Address them directly and let them know a real person is sending them a message.

Become Genuinely Interested in Your Clients and Prospects

Secondly, there’s the strategy of reaching out to me after no activity on my part for almost 6 months. I’m willing to bet that there’s a sizeable chunk of customers in their database that haven’t made a purchase over the past few months. In light of this, it makes sense to give those people a little nudge, to remind them that RoadRunner Sports is still thinking about them.

Like RoadRunner Sports, you have customers in your database that have fallen off the grid. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that you let languish in a corner; ignored, neglected, and now have enough cobwebs to qualify for their own horror movie. They purchased something from you in the past because you had something that they wanted at one time. Now, they have fallen into oblivion.

Create a personalized, customer marketing campaign that contacts them directly. Bring those customers back into the fold by employing Dale Carnegie’s 4th principle:

Become genuinely interested in other people.

Re-engaging your lost clients is cheaper than going out, scouring the field to find new customers. And in today’s environment, you would have to be crazy to sacrifice the clients who’ve patronized you in the past to go hunting for new clients to nurture. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for going out and beating the bushes to find new clients. But not at the expense of past patrons who have already bought something from you.

Notes from the Field – What I’m Seeing Today

When I worked with a pre-sales engineering team, we created customer marketing campaigns that included messages like the following:

Hey Bob, I know you were looking at storage systems for your company. Here’s an article I found that talks about some interesting data preservation techniques.”

And when I started promoting training, I modified the tactic slightly:

“Hey Bob, the last time we spoke you were looking at bringing your team up to speed on using social media in sales. Here’s an interesting blog post that discusses using Linkedin to generate leads.”

What I get today are 7 or more emails a day from potential sales reps saying,

“Look at my latest video on killer sales techniques. It’s hot! People are snapping it up. Check it out here.”

When I get to their site, the video is a long infomercial on how great their product is. Definitely not personalized, personable, and not focused on forging a relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with self-promotion. But it goes a lot further with your audience if they believe you have their best interest at heart. The best way to build that credibility and trust is to become interested in them. Send them information that’s of interest to them when you don’t need anything in return.

In the past, financial experts recommended that you establish a reputation with your banker by asking for a small loan when you didn’t need one. That way you could earn their trust and show you could manage your resources when the pressure was off. Then, when you did need that loan for starting your business or buying your home, your banker was in your corner because you had already earned their trust.

Your Field Exercise – Create Your Customer Marketing Program to Reach 10 Clients

When was the last time you emailed your clients and prospects something that was of interest them? What are you doing to nurture your relationship with your current clients and to re-engage your past clients? Most blogs, videos and articles now have some way of emailing the post out to other parties. Are you making use of that capability to create value for your potential prospects and clients?

I would encourage you right now, to touch base with ten clients who’ve fallen off of your radar for whatever reason. Begin bringing them back on board with an email customer marketing campaign that focuses on something that’s of interest to them.

In today’s economic environment, lots of sales people are out there looking for the killer strategy that will give them an edge. So here it is:

Become genuinely interested in your prospects and do something that demonstrates that interest. Show them that you care by sending them something that they can use.

When it comes time to make the sale, they will take care of you.