I have enjoyed your magazine for twelve years. I'm in the process of revamping my keep-in-touch programs, which help support my face-to-face activities via direct mail, email and, of course, LinkedIn and Facebook. Do you have suggestions on how I can generate even more relevant, merchant-oriented content? Keep up the good work!
Gary Storm,Certified Payments Professional
Thank you for being a loyal reader and for your excellent question. Our contributing writers have offered advice on this topic over the years. No one has done so in a systematic way, however, and we will explore the possibility of publishing a series on this topic. In the meantime, try out the search function on our home page to find related articles. For example, if you enter "merchants" in one field and "in touch" in the second, the results will show: "Four tips for maintaining strong customer relationships," by Michael Gavin; "Creative use of commemorative occasions," by Paul H. Green; and more. Other combinations of terms will provide further results. Our newswire, at www.greensheet.com, can provide ongoing inspiration, as well. For instance, we recently posted a press release about the PCI Security Standards Council's PCI Payment Protection Resources for small merchants. It contains documents you could draw from, share with your merchants and even co-brand. Automated tools can be useful, too, such as CRM tools and services that send out cards on merchant birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
The best content is content you create yourself. It will have your distinct voice and be tailored to your merchants. If you are pressed for time, you can, of course, hire writers with marketing and social media expertise. Just be sure they understand what makes you and your company unique before they begin. And avoid content mills with generic articles that lack the sincerity and tone you'll need to truly connect with your merchant base.
Also, certain principles always apply when communicating with clients and prospects: be helpful; be honest; follow through on promises; touch base regularly, not sporadically; offer freebies and special deals; don't oversell; seek interaction; and respond promptly to feedback.
We want to hear it. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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