“Beer Day” is a US Naval term, so named because it’s the one day that crew members at sea are issued and allowed to consume beer (usually just one or two). Way back in 1794, the US congress set a daily ration for alcohol for sailors and in 1914 a general order was issued which ended all alcohol consumption. The only exception that is made occurs when a ship has been out to sea for at least 45 continuous days without a port call, at which time the Commanding Officer can call for a Beer Day. Once had, another 45 day interval must pass before another Beer Day can be authorized.
With that bit of history in mind, establish some of your own 45 day rules to renew your relationships with customers and employees. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- If you have not heard from a customer in 45 days: make contact, send a postcard, extend a special offer, e-mail or text them—let them know that you miss them.
- Even if you normally don’t see your clients more than twice or even once a year (such as in dental or medical practices), make some kind of contact with your clients at least once every 45 days. An e-mail newsletter, a postcard announcing new services or products, a letter introducing a new associate or caregiver, connecting customers with other community resources or city events, an invitation to “like” your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter—send them something!
- Don’t go more than 45 days without generating, reviewing and analyzing marketing reports that tell you how your marketing efforts are working for direct mail, e-mail, social media and the other forms of marketing in which your business is engaged.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without changing your marketing offers, updating your website or changing window and in-store displays; as human beings, we tend to ignore and tune out what we feel we have seen and heard before, but are naturally drawn to what our minds perceive as “new.”
- Don’t go more than 45 days without touching base with prospective clients by personal note or e-mail: send them a link to an article relative to their business or personal interests, tell them about an idea you had, tell them about any new features, products or services you can provide, or simply let them know you’re available if they have any questions.
- Don’t go 45 days without visiting the blogs and/or social media pages of your clients. Share their links and ideas via social media, “like” their posts and status updates or post comments to blog articles.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without having a one on one conversation with each of your employees, or at least with each of your direct reports. Conversely, don’t go more than 45 days without meeting one on one with your immediate supervisor, the director of your board, without making contact with your investors, etc.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without meeting with key members of your team to renew shared understanding of and passion for your business’ mission, vision, values and current goals.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without learning something new about and/or getting feedback directly from customers (and/or employees) through the use of surveys or polls.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without investing in you: read a book for personal or professional development or attend a seminar or webinar.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without holding a brainstorming session with employees, vendors or other stakeholders in order to make improvements to the customer experience, become more efficient or productive, or to innovate.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without touching base with businesses that you partner with for cross marketing or work with cooperatively on events and promotions. Discuss ways to generate more referrals, refresh your joint marketing collateral or extend a special offer to their customers or employees.
- Don’t go more than 45 days without interacting with influential members of your community (such as city leaders and members of your chamber of commerce or civic organizations). Inquire about new community initiatives, urban planning or upcoming legislation that might impact your business.
Actually scheduling reminders and setting aside work time for tasks like these can help ensure these important marketing activities don’t fall off the map. I’d love to hear from you — what other 45 day rules can you think of to help strengthen your business and your relationships with customers and employees?