In a market saturated with nonstop social media campaigns and endless advertising, it can be difficult for any business to stay afloat, especially small or growing businesses.
Breaking through the marketing clutter is difficult, and while most small business owners may not be able to afford costly marketing campaigns, it’s still imperative that they find a way to grow their business.
And since most small business owners rely on their immediate community to patronize their business, it only makes sense that they should provide incentives to return customers.
To help you increase customer loyalty, and ultimately grow your business, we’ve put together a few tips for effectively growing your business via return customers.
Useful Loyalty Programs
As crazy as it sounds, people like to be rewarded for their loyalty. Banks, car companies, and grocery chains are just a few of the industries that are big on customer loyalty programs. Establishing a loyalty program encourages people to not only shop more, but to shop exclusively at your store.
And whether you own a consignment shop or a bookstore, offering your clients a reason to continue buying only from you is always a great strategy. However, in order to create a loyalty program that will work, it has to offer rewards that actually are of value to your customers. There’s no point in creating a loyalty system without offering attractive incentives.
For example, you might offer a free item after so many accrued points or the chance to win a shopping spree or vacation. Make the rewards worth the effort, and you’ll see a boom in year-round sales.
In addition to specials and discounts, try providing more convenient ways for your customers to make a purchase, and consider ways you can add value to your customer experience.
For example, because Intuit GoPayment and PayAnywhere are mobile applications, you can handle transactions from any location in your store. This can eliminate the need for many of your customers to wait in line at the register when business is heavy.
You might also try establishing a store credit card, or offer bulk item discounts for more convenient shopping. Creating ways to make the shopping experience easier will generate continued interest in your business.
Have you noticed the increasingly accurate banner ads on your favorite websites? Thanks to online tracking, marketing tactics have become much better at offering you ads of what you actually want to see.
Likewise, your promotional material on social media sites and across the internet should be tailored to your client base. The best way to know what your customers want is to know how they shop and why.
Spend some time getting to know your customers by more than what they purchase. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, look at their updates and find out what really drives their purchases. Doing so will give you a better sense of why they buy, which in turn will help you sell more effectively and honestly to them.
Real-Time Customer Service
People have short attention spans. Fun ads and lighthearted advertising might draw them in, but what’s going to keep them coming back? Quality customer service has always been the staple of successful business. Providing real-time customer service generates immediate interest and helps people remember your store the next time they need your services.
How do you create quality customer service? Here are a few tips:
- Address customers directly, and try to greet return customers by name.
- Show repeat clients new items that fit their shopping patterns.
- Offer useful and relevant suggestions based on previous experiences.
- Keep up with your customer’s lives enough to ask them about family and situations they may have mentioned last time.
You only have one opportunity to make a good first impression, but you have endless opportunities to provide continuous customer service. Follow up with your clients via email to let them know you appreciate their business.
Keep Building Relationships
While there are many relatively inexpensive ways to generate interest in your business, investing your time and energy into customer retention yields long-lasting results.
In the end, encouraging customer loyalty generates significantly more interest and opportunities for you business to grow than a simple ad, and it costs much less.
The word of mouth promotion you’ll receive from a one-time customer pales in comparison to that of a regular, so make it your mission to turn every customer into a regular customer.