Acquisition vs. Retention?
The question is: What are you trying to retain?
Answer: Permission to continue a relationship.
Let me explain. Traditionally acquisition meant get a customer. Retention meant keep a customer.
But what about that vast middle ground? That territory is typically called Leads.
Leads are sometimes confused with prospects; but there is a big difference between a lead and a prospect. The difference is Permission.
Lets illustrate with a simple example: How about Trade Shows?
Prior to the show there are attendees. Those attendees look good to you because they seem to share some of the basic attributes that you look for in a customer. That is why you are investing in this trade event in the first place.
Those attendees are prospects not leads.
Your job at the trade show is to get as many people as possible to move to the next step. That is…get permission to convert them from prospects to leads.
(I won’t go into the tactics of this conversion in this article…. Although my neighbor has been very successful with Mongolian contortionists)
Now your mindset needs to change dramatically. This is no longer about acquisition. Your activities need to support retention of those leads.
Think about how you do this currently. Even the best marketers typically focus retention on existing customers. That is why 80% of all trade show leads disappear according to Julia O'Connor, author of The Trade Show Reader and President of Trade Show Training Inc.
Think about how you can use dynamic content in your emails to continue earning permission and grow that relationship.
The longer you can stay engaged, the more likely that you will eventually get married.