Keeping Your Best (Existing) Customers Coming Back
How much does it cost to get a customer? It’s impossible to answer with an exact dollar figure. There are too many variables. But you probably know roughly how much money you spend to attract prospects and turn them into customers.
The internet may have made marketing much more affordable, but your time hasn’t gotten any cheaper. And you put a lot in on attracting new buyers.
Your existing customers aren’t your best customers simply because they cost less money to cultivate. They’re the best because they’ve already bought what you’re selling. And unless they’re screamingly dissatisfied with your products or services, they’re more likely to buy from you again because you’re a known quantity. So it behooves you to put some targeted effort into wooing that customer list.
Some people say that there’s no privacy anymore. While that’s not absolutely true, everyone who is active on the internet should know that individuals and businesses can learn a great deal about them without putting in a whole lot of effort.
If you’re using email marketing tools or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application or accounting software or some other tracking solution, the information you can get from these systems can help you compile detailed profiles about your customers, including:
- What they’ve bought (and what they’ve bought more than once).
- Where they’ve gone on your website (and what brought them there).
- The types of promotions that resonate with them, and,
- Which social media sites they frequent.
What you do with that information and how you do it can either make your audience feel like valued customers or creep them out.
Keeping The Happy
Does anyone like to buy something online and then see an ad for the exact same thing from the exact same merchant pop up while they taking a Scrabble turn? That approach must work on some people because the practice hasn’t stopped.
You can’t compete with the titans of online sales. They have way better software than you do and a lot more employees. But you don’t need the kind of revenue they’re hauling in, either. So use the tools that you can reasonably afford and keep some common-sense rules in mind to hang on to your faithful customers, like:
- Provide priority service to brand-new customers. Upgrade their shipping. Send them a brief, handwritten thank-you note.
- Solve problems before they occur with FAQs, how-to’s, videos, etc. on your website and blog, with links to them from social media.
- Listen to feedback and respond to customers who provide it.
- Thank your customers – and not just your first-timers.
- Hire an independent contractor if you have to, but make sure that every word that customers see coming out of your company is spelled correctly, and that sentences are phrased properly, punctuation enhances readability, etc. Yes, you’ve heard this before, but it has impact on perception and brand integrity – and customer retention.
- Do all the things the pros tell you to by sending customers coupons and special discounts, calling their attention to sales they might like, and dispatching surveys, but don’t overdo it. Emails that come too frequently convey a hint of desperation or an inept sales and marketing team.
Some of your customers may see you on social media, so take those opportunities to position yourself as an expert but a regular guy, a go-to person in your field, but a human being, too. Let your customers get to know you, and let them know you know them, too.