Customers are the life blood of any business. Without them there is no business. But often times too little attention is paid to retaining existing customers. In this article we will explore how to turn those one hit wonder clients into fans of your brand and keep them coming back again and again.
I know that the buck shot approach to targeting your customers is attractive. You will however get far better results if you identify your ideal customer and concentrate your marketing efforts on them. It’s called niching down and I know it’s scary. But think about it: if you niche down you become a specialist instead of a generalist. You then position yourself as an expert in your field. When you specialize in one area, you stand out. Customers can relate to you and they will refer you to friends and family.
You can find a detailed ideal customer avatar questionnaire in the Virtual Club Freebies. This will help you get clarity and focus on who you want to serve, what products you need to serve them and why.
Following on from the niched down ideal customer is to create a memorable branded experience for them. Many people think that branding is simply a logo, a few business cards and maybe a letterhead and off you go, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Creating a branded experience for your client is so much more than this. If done correctly it will attract your ideal customer and keep them coming back time and again.
Having a cohesive and clear brand message will make you instantly more relatable, referable and memorable. It all starts with figuring out what you want to be known for or what sets you apart from everyone else. If you want to know more about niching down and what sets you apart from the rest read this article “Niching down and creating your VPS (Value proposition statement)”
Customer service is the single most important part of your business. Without your customers your business is dead in the water. Have you often wondered why you seem to only serve one time customers who never come back? It could be your customer service or lack thereof. Ask yourself: when you walk into a store, how would you like to be treated? You should always have this question in the back of your mind when serving your customer. You should make the experience of doing business with you a memorable one so that they return again and again. Your focus should move away from your product and towards your customer.
It is important to gather information about your customers. This will allow you to keep better contact with them and also deliver targeted marketing efforts and information to them. Basic information should include: name, email address, physical address & birth date.
This basic information can tell you a lot about your client such as age demographic, geographical area, gender, etc which will allow you to target your marketing efforts and graphics towards these customers.
It is also nice to create a personal touch such as wishing a client happy birthday on their birthday and perhaps offering them a small token gift such as a free ring cleaning or stone setting check. This will make them feel special and make you more memorable in their eyes.
Customer nurturing and communication
Acquiring a new customer is 25% more expensive than retaining one. Increasing customer retention rates by 5% will increase profits by 25-95%. Simply put this means that it is far easier and cheaper to keep the customers that already know, like, trust and engage with your brand than to continuously find new ones. It is important to make sure that you are communicating and nurturing these customers on a regular basis with targeted emails and communications.
You need to make sure that not all your messages are selling something but that they also offer value to your clients without asking for anything in return. This will foster a relationship of communication and familiarity.
Loyalty programs are an important part of customer retention. It is a good idea to research what it is that your customer’s value and offer it to them as a reward for being loyal.
Some great examples are offering a free low value item such as a charm to loyal customers. You could offer points for every purchase made and then say R50 off every 1000 points earned with bonus points gifted for birthdays. Customers could earn points on every purchase which will give them a discount on their next purchase for example every R100 spent they earn a point every 5 points translates to 2% discount or you could offer a gift voucher to members who spend over a certain amount a year, the combinations are endless. With all these programs you can also send promotional discounts, new releases, coupons, exclusive events. This is your captive audience, your brand followers – make use of the opportunity to engage with them and make them fall even more in love with your brand and go onto become your brand ambassadors
Another important aspect that sometimes gets overlooked is naming your loyalty program. Alex McEachern features some great examples in his article How to name your loyalty program (and 5 examples of names done right)
Referrals, testimonials & social media sharing
The easiest way to get good referrals is to simply ask happy customers to refer you to their friends and family or to share their experiences with your brand on social media. People are much more likely to trust and buy from you if they have been referred by a friend or family member or if they have some kind of social proof. The best way to get great referrals and testimonials is to offer jaw dropping customer service.
You could also offer a referral incentive like a discount or reward whether the customer buys anything or not. Whatever you decide, referrals, testimonials and social sharing should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
Just starting out and have no testimonials? Read our article “What to do if you have no testimonials”
Upsell or cross sell
Upselling in any encouragement to purchase another item that will make the original item more expensive (suggesting the purchase of ink with the printer you are already purchasing) while cross selling is encouraging to purchase another product in conjunction with the original item (suggesting the purchase of conditioner with shampoo)
Upselling is 20x more effective than cross selling.
How to upsell your jewelry. The Jewelry making journal gives great tips and advice on how to do this effectively.
In this article we discussed how customer retention is far easier and cheaper than continuously trying to entice new customers to your offerings. In this day and age where everyone is fighting for position in an overcrowded and noisy market, it pays to take the time to make your brand stand out from the crowd with memorable branding, superb customer service and strategies to nurture and keep the customers you already have so as to turn your loyal customers into fans and brand ambassador.