• Phyllis Harbinger

How to Increase Revenue from Existing Clients

Updated: Feb 2



Following on the heels of the marketing strategies we shared last month, I wanted to let you in on a little-known secret.


One of my business mentors introduced the Pareto Principle – or more commonly known as The 80/20 Rule - to us years ago at a Design Thinktank meeting. Pareto’s Principle states that 80 percent of your business comes form 20 percent of your clients! Fascinating, right?


While new prospects and filling your pipeline with clients is vital to your business, your existing clients, those that you have cultivated and nurtured over time, actually mean more to your bottom line!

It is a fact that you have a 60–70% chance of selling again to an existing and supportive client. Conversely – the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5–20%, according to the book, Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance.


What is the lesson here? You must never take your existing clients for granted. Maintaining great relationships with them is one of the keys to a successful business.


These strategies, in addition to those we’ve already covered last month, will help develop loyalty that will keep your clients coming back:


Get personal. Send thank you notes and holiday, birthday and even seasonal greetings, and tailor your services and communications to meet your client’s unique needs and interests. Perhaps they love wine and you see an event that would be of interest to them. Let them know! Perhaps you can invite them to a garden show if you completed an outdoor room for them. The possibilities are endless!


Reward client loyalty and referrals. I generally “comp” certain things for existing clients who have been sources of referrals. I have also sent gift baskets, flowers or sent a bottle of their favorite wine or champagne ot show my appreciation for their referral. The gift is always accompanied by a heartfelt thank you card.


Add them to your email list: many of my clients who love to keep up with us via our newsletter. This is another way to keep front of mind with your existing “unpaid sales force” – giving them business updates, and valuable tips and ideas. If you encourage your subscribers to share your newsletter with friends and family, it can also be a lead generation tool.


Host client appreciation events as a way to show your gratitude and build deeper relationships. These can be times to socialize, such as a sit-down dinner at a restaurant, a golf outing or a wine tasting. This can also be a great opportunity to share news about your firm, new products or services that you have launched, and trends in the design world. This is a great way to reinforce your connection with them and can provide a softer method for upselling products and services.


Critical Components for Marketing Success


Choosing the marketing vehicles that will provide a profitable marketing strategy is critical: The right choices will yield more new clients. The wrong choices will cost you in both time and money.

Let’s look at ways in which you can begin to identify the strategies best suited to your business:


Know Your “Unique Value Proposition”

I charge you to write a short statement that summarizes the most persuasive reasons why people should do business with you versus your competitor. You UVP gives direction and focus to your core mission and increases the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. This is something you should write from a stream of consciousness. It can also become your elevator speech!


Create an Avatar

Describe your ideal client in detail, including age, gender, marital status, earnings, and location, as well as lifestyle. This will inform your selection of marketing strategies and their placement, and help you create messaging that will resonate with your target audience.


Continue to monitor and evaluate Your Marketing Options Throughout the Client Experience

Will you advertise – print or digital; host an event; or sell product and services through an eCommerce marketplace?


Create a Marketing Budget

According to The Small Business Administration - small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should generally allocate 7–8% of their revenues to marketing, but every business is unique.

Those with larger firms, generally have a marketing budget in place but it must be carefully monitored to stay in line with industry changes and disruptions.


Even if you are just starting out or perhaps you are inclined to try some new marketing strategies, start small. Sample a few different strategies and evaluate the results. Increase your spending in those areas where you achieve success.


If you do not have the money for marketing efforts, there are many DIY strategies that you can do, using your own time and skills.


Creating a Marketing Plan or Pie

I have been using a Marketing Pie for years. Being a visual person, I find it easier to relate to this graphic form of a plan. No matter how you plan - be sure to put in writing your UVP, client profile/avatar, and the marketing strategies you’ll employ to reach your target audience(s). BE sure to also Include your budget.


Be mindful – this is an organic and moving strategy vehicle. Nothing is set in stone. Once you’ve had the opportunity to put your marketing plan to the test, re-evaluate your plan every six months or so and make any necessary refinements.


Get a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

If your budget permits, A CRM will help you manage the process. It will take all of the info you gather and organize it is a streamlined manner, detailing new and existing clients, helping you to manage your relationships with them.


For me, and for most creatives, Marketing is a constant in our lives. We test new tactics, assess their viability with regard to both cost and effectiveness. By knowing your capabilities and limitations — and continuing to evaluate your plan and strategy on a regular basis — you will be primed for the best results.



If I can leave you with one thought – it is this – NEVER STOP MARKETING!!!

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