The main reason for creating this ‘6 Tips’ guide is that I sometimes get asked by clients or friends of mine how to improve customer retention says Saivian. (By the way – if you are one of my clients, don’t be offended! This post isn’t about you!) I find myself often simplifying my answer down to these 6 tips but wanted to give some more detail into what that looks like in practice.
As a small business owner/operator, your customers are your lifeblood. They bring you new business and can even help finance your own personal lifestyle through spending with you. You might have some competitors who are stealing away customers from you, so it’s important to continue to build your loyalty with existing customers through communication, communication, and more communication. At the same time, you also need to constantly seek new customers to increase your customer base in order to grow business revenue in a sustainable way.
To achieve that healthy balance in a growing business between luring new customers and retaining loyal ones is tricky sometimes explains Saivian. For example, if you have a popular product, the demand for it goes up when sales have been going well. The last thing you want is to run out of stock when demand shoots through the roof! So there’s definitely a fine line between being too aggressive on discounting or offering giveaways when marketing your products/services which could actually start driving away loyal customers who feel they are being treated like walking wallets.
3 Tips for Your New Customers:
1) Loyalty Programs –
The simplest way to get your existing customers to keep coming back is through loyalty programs or discount coupons. It doesn’t seem that complicated, but you’d be surprised how often this gets overlooked by business owners. Who might say “But I don’t have the time/money to implement something like this”. Saivian says you can create a simple spreadsheet with customer names and start tracking their spending/ purchases so when it comes time to offer them discounts for referring friends, you’ll already know how much they’ve spent in your store over the past 6 months. (This especially works well if your loyal customer has already tried your competitor’s products/services and you can give them even more of an incentive to stay with you when they are given access to exclusive discounts for repeat buyers)
2) Email Marketing –
You’ve probably read about how email marketing is becoming one of the most effective ways for any business to communicate with clients. It was one of the first things I implemented when starting my store at justproducts.com. Because everyone in retail knows that the money is on the list! Rather than writing a novel on this topic. I’m just going to point out what makes me stand out from all others: personalization, segmentation & frequency.
As an example using something like Mailchimp. It takes less than 5 minutes to set up a new list for your company. You can then open up the advanced settings under Lists and create Segments for your customers. Based on buying habits, location, etc. Next, you can choose how frequently you would like to send out emails to them. Without overloading their inboxes with too many updates! Mailchimp also makes it easy to re-engage lapsed customers by offering them special discounts. If they haven’t opened an email in 30days or make them aware of any upcoming promotions/specials. Saivian says the bottom line is that there are so many tools available now which will help you keep track of who’s buying from you & easily contact them – don’t let this opportunity go to waste!
3) Follow-Up Calls –
If you’re too busy to take the time out of your day to follow up with customers. Then it might be a good idea that you hire an assistant or part-time help. This small investment towards growing your business will quickly pay off. When you are making more sales, run weekly specials/promotions through email marketing. Which gets sent directly to their phones, AND now they are calling you asking if there are any last-minute deals this week! This is probably the easiest way for businesses to double their revenue overnight. I’m not joking here…I’ve seen it happen on multiple occasions and guess what? The smarter business owners don’t stop there because the real value comes from turning customers into brand advocates.
So there you have it! It’s definitely a lot easier said than done, but if you’re willing to put in the work & time. Just remember that although the price is important, happy customers will always pay more. Because they want to keep building a positive relationship with your business. If you make them feel appreciated, cared about, and welcome back each time they come in or contact you for assistance. There really isn’t anything better an owner could ask for.