Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you. –Tony Hsieh, Founder & CEO of Zappos
A clear vision helps you, your team and your company maintain focus. What’s your vision? Are your employees and your customers on board with it? Know what your customers want, define your vision, then define how their vision aligns with yours.
When everyone is working toward that common vision, you’ll be able to keep steering your company toward success. The first step? Getting in your customers’ heads. Next? Working to retain that customer for the long haul. Here’s how…
- We weren’t kidding about step one. Get. Inside. Their. Heads. Not sure where to start? Try these 12 Books to Read If You Want to Understand Customers Better.
- Understanding your customers is also one of the most powerful things you can do for retention. This goes beyond simply offering up something shiny to get them in the door. It’s about getting to know your customers SO well you intuitively know what they want. But don’t forget the icing on the cake: you need to continue to deliver what they want—consistently. Read these 5 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid to learn how to get there.
- What’s all this about retention? Truth is, repeat customers are your goldmine. They’re less expensive than new customers, they spend more, they’re loyal, and if they REALLY love you, they work FOR your business as your brand ambassadors.
- Still not convinced customer retention should be your focus? Hey, it’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em—repeat customers literally pay for themselves.
- If you feel like something is missing in your customer relationships, trust might be the key. Learn all about it here: establishing customer trust, building it, and measuring it.
- Want to Win the War on Customer Churn? While 55% of current marketing budgets are spent gaining new customers, there’s only a 5-20% chance of making a new sale. Yet there’s a 60% chance of a repeat sale—so WHY does customer retention only account for 12% of most marketing budgets?!
- How do top B2B companies ensure retention and repeat business? These 3 important ways they wow their customers.
- Want to learn more about wowing your customers at every stage in the buy cycle? Download this FREE guide: Side Door Thinking for more suggestions on how you can use content marketing to build customer loyalty.
For ongoing ideas to help you hold on to more customers, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.
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Trust—it’s truly the secret to strong, lasting relationships with your customers. While you can’t buy trust or expect it to magically come about with little effort, trust-building is absolutely crucial to encouraging more repeat customers. You need a customer retention strategy designed to cultivate customer trust at every point in the buy cycle.
That’s why so many businesses offer repeat customer perks, such as loyalty cards, customer discounts, frequent flyer miles, and rewards programs. It’s all bait to lure customers back in for more. As long as you continue to deliver on your promises, customers will come back.
Your best bet? Kill ‘em with kindness to earn enduring loyalty and to build customer trust.
Be More than a Price Tag
As a small business, whether you’re selling a product or service, chances are pretty good you can’t offer a better price than big box stores unless you have an unbeatable business model. If you do try to compete exclusively on price, some company will find a way to undercut you and steal your customers. Add value by offering a unique add-on service or some other enticement to encourage repeat customers.
Take Dollar Shave Club, for example. They automatically deliver something more than half the population needs almost daily, on the cheap. Refer a friend and you get a $5 credit. As they say, “1000 friends gets you 83 years of free razors…and if you live long than that, bravo, we’ll be happy to keep sending.” Brilliant.
Send Personal Thank You Notes and Greetings
A common practice a century ago, handwritten notes are long out of fashion. But you have your customers’ addresses, so why not drop a personal note just after a sale? The gesture shows your company cares and that you’re personally invested in the sale. (And hey, it’s not too late for a Happy New Year note, so send away!)
Issue an Invitation
To land big, repeat customers, nothing beats a personal touch. Invite your big-name clients to lunch or throw an office party to show top decision makers around and introduce them to your staff. OR, try presenting your repeat customers with a secret portal on your website offering invitation-only discounts and special offers. Your repeat customers (big or small) will feel valued and special—you can’t go wrong.
Online Version of Fishbowl Freebies
Restaurants often put out a fishbowl and ask customers to drop in business cards, then give away a catered lunch once a month in return. You may not have a brick-and-mortar and a fishbowl, but you can capture the same spirit with customer satisfaction surveys, online polls, and even social media responses. Provide your customers with an incentive to interact with your brand online and reward your customers with a deep discount or even a free product or service giveaway. Also, hey, take your customers’ responses to heart. Whether B2B or B2C, when people take the time to provide valuable feedback, do not let the opportunity for improvement go to waste!
Focus on Customer Service
78% of consumers say they’ve bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase due to a poor customer service experience. NOTHING beats great customer service. Deliver more than you promised and do it fast. Respond quickly to queries and issues and ensure your customer service staff is always accessible, empowered to fix things, and easy to find.
Interested in establishing, building and nurturing customer trust at every point in the buy cycle? In our free Growth Cycle Marketing guide, you’ll learn lots of great, specific techniques for nurturing repeat customer relationships.
Remember, true profitability isn’t simply in the one-time sale—it’s all about gaining more repeat customers. Lay the groundwork for a solid relationship built on trust from first contact, then show your customers so much kindness and care that they’ll remain loyal customers for life.
While it’s always exciting to see your customer list grow, it’s your existing customers that’ll ring up the biggest dollars for you. In fact, it costs at least six times more to woo a new customer and make that first sale than to sell an existing customer. That’s why it makes perfect sense to offer incentives to new customers to invite them in and bring them back again and again.
What Are Your Customers Hungry For?
The answer isn’t always cupcakes. Although cupcakes are never a bad idea (who doesn’t love cupcakes?), some customers are looking for information or are more interested in saving money. The incentive you choose should reflect your business and answer your customer’s needs and wants.
The most popular incentives include:
- Cash back
- Discounts on targeted goods/services
- Free shipping
- Free swag
- Loyalty rewards
- Referral bonuses
- Co-branded deals with complementary goods/services (buy milk and get cookies at half price)
The Incentive to Offer Incentives
The best reason to offer incentives is to spur flagging sales, but that’s not the only reason you should consider it. As part of your overall Growth Cycle Marketing plan, you’ll have the opportunity to contact your customers consistently, without pestering them…to give ‘em a new reason to come back to your store or website and explore, or to participate and engage on social media. Keeping customers engaged is a great way to keep their business and incentives are a tried-and-true engagement method.
For new customers, think in terms of outselling your competition. Your job is to lure customers away from other shops, so your cupcakes should be bigger, sweeter, and maybe have bacon on top. Offer up something that’s really hard to turn down.
Free Stuff Fail
Some companies manage to win and fail at the same time with incentives programs. DIRECTV, for example, offers a great referral program: invite a friend and get a discount for a year—and your friend also gets a discount. (Win!) They also offer their popular sports package free to new accounts. Existing customers pay for the same service…a lot. (Fail.) To add insult to injury, after the first year of service, they charge automatically, whether you ordered it or not. It’s probably a good idea to offer incentives that aren’t designed to tick off existing customers and don’t come with pricey strings.
It’s like a yummy-looking cupcake with anchovy filling. It looks like a great deal, but it ultimately leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Analyze Your Measurable Results
Once you’ve launched your incentive program, it’s important to watch the numbers. How’s your campaign performing? Are opens, clickthroughs and conversions up? If your numbers go up, you’re doing it right. If there’s no change, consider mixing it up. If your open rates are low, you may want to try different subject lines or experiment with the best time to send emails. If, on the other hand, your emails are opened but customers aren’t responding, the problem might be that your content is not compelling or your CTA needs to stand out more.
Figuring out what incentives work best for your business won’t be rocket science. If you’re paying attention, you know what your customers want. You just have to figure out how to give it to them…and still make money. Consider the long game, and remember, when you’re passing out the cupcakes, put your existing customers at the front of the line so they don’t miss out on the best flavors. They might be delighted to discover something new from you and they’ve already sampled your tasty wares.