No doubt you’re familiar with the adage about a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush. Well, this old saw is especially appropriate when talking about customers. But you’ll have to adjust the math: on average, finding a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one!
That’s reason enough right there to start marketing to your existing customer base. Here are 10 expert strategies to motivate your customers to keep coming back.
- Talk to them. How you communicate with your customers isn’t that important; what’s important is that you do it! Stay in touch with email newsletters, mailings, or a blog. These methods remind your clients and customers that you’re around when they need you. You can even call them to let them know about a sale, a new service you are offering, or just to ask if there’s anything else you can do for them.
- Get personal. If you want your company name to be the first thing people think of when they need your product or service, you need to build personal relationships with your customers. That’s why it’s helpful to call or send a card on special occasions — like birthdays, anniversaries, or promotions.
- Show your appreciation. Letting them know you appreciate them builds a personal link and can help keep clients loyal. Something simple like sending a $5 gift certificate to a coffee chain and saying “Have a drink on me” goes a long way in relationship building. You may consider thank you notes to be no-brainers, but you’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs neglect to write them. Take the time to show your customers that you genuinely appreciate their business, and they’ll remember your thoughtfulness.
- Bring people together. Linking up your clients and referring them business is a powerful way to encourage loyalty. People never forget who referred them, and by helping them grow their business, they in turn might need your services and products more as well.
- Take them out. Regular face-to-face contact is critical. Get together over coffee or lunch regularly, and try to spend time in a non-sales capacity. Entertaining clients at home with a networking cocktail party, where you can introduce them to others who also might help their businesses, gives clients a sense of belonging to your business community.
- Manage your reputation. Just as an unhappy customer can cause a lot of damage to your business reputation, good customer service keeps people coming back and brings in new customers over the long term.
- Spread the good news. If an article is written about your business or you are quoted in a newspaper or magazine, send copies to your existing customers and clients. This will keep you in mind, bolster their confidence in you, and encourage them to recommend you to others.
- Ask for feedback. Ask your existing customers if there are ways you can improve your product or service. When you ask customers for feedback and take their concerns seriously, they feel a sense of ownership in what you’re doing and thus become more loyal to your products and services.
- Follow up. You can’t reach out to someone once and have a customer for life; you need to reach out to them regularly. Like anything worthwhile, consistent follow-up requires a lot of effort, but over time you’ll reap the benefits of a steady stream of repeat business and referrals.
- Get involved. It’s important to demonstrate your commitment to your community. If a client has a particular charitable venture, consider contributing time, money, or goods to the cause.