Retaining customers is easier than acquiring new customers.
In fact, it can cost at least 5 times more to acquire a new customer than keep an existing one which makes customer acquisition important for any local business owner.
So what can you do to build customer loyalty and show your customers you love them?
ReachLocal offers up some great suggestions. Let's start creating some customer loyalty today.
1. Create a Custom Loyalty Program.
Who better to reward than people who are already loyal to you. Too many businesses make the mistake of rewarding customers that they have to draw to them with incentives. Your existing customers already use your products and services so why not reward them and really make them loyal to you. Use punch cards or customer identification numbers or gift cards turned into reusable debit style cards like Starbucks to reward customers with a freebie after a certain number of purchases. Starbucks has a great loyalty program in place. Utilize one of their gift cards, register it and continue using and refilling it and after every 14th drink or so you receive a postcard in the mail for a free drink. Or go mobile, like Starbucks, and develop an app that your customers can create an account with or upload existing account/card info. Then you can build in payment method like Starbucks where you can hold the app up on your phone to their scanner to pay.
2. Reward Customer Referrals.
If you run a business where customers do not make frequent visits back to your business then consider a reward for customer referrals. Kitchen remodeling, bridal boutiques, attorneys and restoration companies are all great fits for customer referral programs. Rewarding existing customers for referring you new business is a great way to instill loyalty in existing customers and drive new business through your door.
3. Build Gamification into Your Retention Strategy.
Who doesn't love a good game? Use games to recognize and reward customers, not just with discounts but also with fun experiences that can lead to repeat business. For example, if you are a health or fitness facility you can offer small attendance rewards. Provide prize incentives to get them to achieve certain levels of membership and tell others about your business. If you have a lot of customers who love check-in sites like FourSquare and Yelp then offer exclusive offers to people who acheive "mayor" status as a way to incentivize people to not only frequent your business but share it online with all their connections.
4. Offer Your Online Fans a Special Deal.
Generally, your best, and most loyalty, advocates of your business will "fan" or "follow" you online through your social media profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Craft a special deal just for them. This not only rewards your existing fans but also enables them to easily share this deal with all their online connections - it's a great way to drive awareness about your business and increase your fans and followers online.
5. Provide Excellent Customer Service.
If you choose to do nothing else - this is a must. As a consumer I have plenty of businesses to choose from. This isn't 50 years ago when you were the only [insert profession] in town. In a 5 mile radius there are most likely at least 1-2 other businesses just like yours. As a consumer, I wanted to be treated with exceptional customer service. In fact, I want this so much that most of the time I'm willing to pay slightly more to receive it (hence why you see me drinking coffee from Starbucks and not McDonald's). Boost your customer loyalty with exceptional customer service. Not okay, not good - exceptional.
What has your local business done to show your customers some love? As a customer, what has a business done that has really made you an advocate for them? Share your experiences with a comment.
If you like this article, make sure to check out the following:
- Do You Know the 3 Types of Customers & How They Impact Your Business
- Social Media Done Right: Sally, a Burrito & Social Media
- Do You Know the Value of One Satisfied Customer?
About TeamBishop: TeamBishop (Dawn Bishop & Leslie Whittaker) are Internet Marketing Consultants with ReachLocal Orlando. Our mission is to help you grow your business by increasing your leads and revenues and decrease unproductive advertising expenses through proven online marketing strategies. Give us a call at 321.422.6600 to schedule your free consultation.
Read our client testimonials to learn more!
Author: Leslie Whittaker
Partial content & image from: ReachLocal: 7 Ways to Promote Customer Loyalty & Retention by Tamara Weintraub