I'm sure you know by now that increasing your repeat customer base is the easiest way to increase your bottom line. Period.
Smart businesses that are able to leverage their existing efforts generate more income from less work. It's part of working on your business instead of in it.
You've already invested in the customers you have, so it just takes a few simple strategies (that you may be doing already!) to get those customers to come back and buy from you over and over again.
Now, don't get me wrong. This is an effective way to build a business. However, it can be costly and time consuming. It requires constant and consistent effort, which generates great results, but in order to keep generating results you have to keep putting in the effort. Plus, at the end of the day you're spending money every time a sale gets rung through the till or contract is signed.
A repeat business strategy means focusing inward - on the customers you have already converted. You've paid to acquire their business, so it's worth a little extra effort to maximize that investment and get that customer to come back and purchase again.
Cultivating repeat business is a smart move because you're leveraging time and money that you've already spent.
Here's how you can do it for your business:
1. Find out what your customers want.
In many ways, you've already done this step. You've completed some thorough target market research and continue to review your customer's purchasing patterns. You also continuously test and measure your marketing copy so that you are sure to tap into their motivations and emotional triggers.
To go a step further, you need to find out what they need from and think about their experience with your business. You need to figure out what is important to them and what they may not care about.
Here are some ways you can do this:
2. Give your customers what they want.
Now that you have cultivated a greater understanding of what matters to your customer base, you can start giving it to them! Here are some general suggestions for ways you can enhance your customer's experience.
Remember to take their feedback and incorporate it wherever possible. Don't be afraid of getting creative - unique touches will make sure your business will be remembered and revisited.
Here are some guidelines for enhancing your customer service:
Ideas for giving your customer more than they expected:
Adding value to your business is an effective way of getting your customers to come back. Every person I know would choose a mattress store that offered free delivery over one that did not. It's that simple.
Value added services generate repeat customers in one of two ways:
3. Keep in touch with your prospective, existing and past customers.
Use newsletters to educate customers on a regular basis.
A newsletter is a helpful tool for keeping in touch with (and in the minds of) customers. A regular newsletter is an easy, time-effective, and inexpensive marketing strategy to implement.
The most popular type of newsletter distribution is email. This will cost your business as little at $10 per month for an email marketing service subscription and can be customized to your unique branding.
Newsletters can drive your repeat business through education. It is an opportunity to showcase your range of products and services - many of which your customers may not know about and thus go to your competitor for.
Find a way to get your customers involved in your business.
Just like your employees, when a customer feels invested in and a part of your company, they will remain loyal.
Tell them about announcements, sales and news developments before you would tell prospects or the public. If your company is volunteering for a cause, invite your customers to help out. If you're holding an event, ask your clients to come and show their support.
You can also make your top clients part of a VIP program to show recognition and appreciation for their loyalty. Or, continually ask for their feedback and opinions as part of focus groups. There are hundreds of ways you can include your customers in your business beyond their purchase. When you're brainstorming, just think of them as a member of your team and you'll generate a host of great ideas.
4. Give your customers an incentive to return.
Another powerful way to build your repeat business is to provide your customers with incentives to return. Even if they were planning to come back already, this will drive a faster return spend and you'll see results sooner.
Offer a rewards-based customer loyalty program.
These programs do not have to be complicated or costly and are relatively easy to maintain once they have been implemented. These programs help you gain more information on your customers and their purchasing habits.
Here are some examples of simple loyalty programs that you can implement:
Remember that for this strategy to work, you and your team have to understand and promote it. The program in itself becomes a product that you sell.
Provide a free sample with every order.
It won't matter how large or small the sample is, everyone loves to get something for nothing. Just make sure it's relevant to the buyer. This strategy will benefit you in two ways:
Offer an automatic re-order option on all purchases.
This mostly applies to companies that sell consumables, such as person maintenance products, medication, groceries, and vitamins, etc., but it's a great tool for getting automatic repeat business. It also works well for subscriber-based companies.
When your customer makes their first purchase - either in-store or online - provide an option where their purchases will be made automatically, and either shipped or available in-store for pick up.
5. Measure the results and make changes based on your findings.
Make sure you're keeping track of repeat customers both before and after you implement your repeat business strategy. You'll need to be able to evaluate if your strategy is working, and if the time and effort you are investing is justified by the increase in sales. If it's not, try another strategy or make small changes.
Also consider using an exit survey to gather feedback from customers who don't return to your business. What can you do to improve? How can you change your offering to encourage them to buy from you more than once?
Remember, your best strategy for generating repeat business is genuine customer service and a quality offering.
The simplest way to keep customers coming back is to treat them the way they want to be treated. Usually, this means making sure your customer service standards anticipate needs and reduce hassle.
Before you dive into complex customer loyalty programs or frequent newsletter distribution, remember that your first goal is to meet your target market's needs and exceed their expectations. Once that is your foundation, then build on your success using strategies like incentive-based loyalty programs and regular email communication.
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