There have been countless studies saying that it is cheaper to keep a customer you already have, than to get a new one to walk through your doors or visit your online space. So how do you keep those return customers coming to purchase what you’re selling? We can answer that in one word: loyalty. But it’s what you do with that loyalty that makes the difference between a good year and a great year.
Here are a few tips for creating a loyalty program that will keep your business top of mind with your customers:
1. Training. Is there any training that’s needed for the product or service your customer just purchased? If so, offer it free of charge or at a nominal fee. After the training, or even if training wasn’t needed, follow up with them to make sure they are happy with their purchase.
2. Keep in touch. Now that training is out of the way, let your customer know that your business offers other goods and services that, along with their original purchase, can make their life safer, easier or healthier (depending on the business). These upsell opportunities must not be hard sells, but an enhancement to their latest purchase.
3. Keep a schedule. Ask your customer how often they’d like to hear from you. That way they know what to expect and you can plan your messaging accordingly. Also ask them how they’d like to receive communications from you: is it text, email or direct mail? This allows them to choose what best fits their needs.
4. Special access. Customers like to feel special, so invite them to early-bird sales or other special events that have an exclusive guest list. If the latest “must have” sneakers are being released soon, let all your best customers know they can skip the lines and walk right in - or better yet, host a pre-release party just before the sale starts. That exclusivity will help spread the word on how well you treat your loyal customers.
5. Teach. Own a gun store and want to promote smart ownership? Host an educational seminar on the latest in gun safety and invite local officials to show you’re a valued member of the community. These opportunities also allow your repeat customers to interact with your business on a different, more authoritative level.
6. Virtual hello. Set aside time for you and your staff to reach out to your customers via social media each day. Just a quick hello - maybe mention that the product they’ve been waiting for has finally come in. Be smart not to overuse these messages, you don’t want to appear needy or pushy. Also, if your customer requested all communication be via standard mail, make sure not to contact them on social media.
7. Check-in. To ensure you are meeting your customer’s needs, send them a message (via their preferred platform) to get feedback about your business, and the status of how they’d like to be communicated with. Some may want to stop, stay the same or increase communications with your business. This will also give them a feeling that you truly care about their business.