I know a gentleman whose small business was very successful, he had a strong customer base and actually couldn’t take on many more customers (don’t we all wish we had this problem). He felt that he didn’t need to invest the time, effort or money in marketing, because it wouldn’t yield any benefit to his business. When a competing business opened up near his, he wasn’t to concerned. His customers had been using his services for years and were satisfied. But when his competitor started offering lower prices and incentives, his customers started leaving. His competitor continued to gain momentum as people realized the service was just as good. So even if you’re happy with your existing customer base, it’s wise to give some thought to marketing programs aimed at your existing customers.
Reach out to your customers.
Keep all the information you can on your customers and don't hesitate to ask them directly to come back. Contact with current customers is a good way to build their loyalty. So, send reminder postcards or emails when they may be due for another visit or need more of your product. Send a personal thank you note to your clients. Send holiday cards, look for them at trade shows or events, call or visit them to ensure they are happy with whatever your business may be able to help with. Consider sending an email newsletter to make them aware of the great things that are happening at your business, and include promotions, coupons and information they may find useful. Maintaining visibility and continually reaching out to clients and customers is a key aspect of building customer loyalty.
Build business from complaints.
People are much more likely to complain about a negative experience than rave about a positive experience. And, they’re much more likely to complain to everyone they know except the person or business they had a bad experience with. So, one bad interaction or service error with a customer can spread like wildfire to your customer base - without you even knowing about it! To avoid this happening to your small business, take the time to make follow-up calls with your customers or clients, or encourage them to answer a few questions via email. If you can resolve a customer's complaint quickly and show that you're committed to customer satisfaction, the customer might be more likely to do business than the average customer who didn't have a complaint. Rectify any mishap and consider offering an incentive like a future discount to encourage the customer to come back again. Also, with so many venues for customers to voice their complaints, be sure you’re looking everywhere any bad news may be spreading about you. Have an active presence on Google Places, Yelp, review services and social media websites. Don't delete these comments, reviews or complaints. Address them head on and demonstrate your pledge to provide the highest quality service.
Offer incentives for your customers to come back and even refer others.
For quite a while now I’ve been considering going to a new hair salon just to mix things up, but I haven’t. I keep going back to the same place because every 4 months or so, when I’m due for a haircut, I get an email from them offering a great deal. Free eyebrow wax with a haircut and style. Half off a spa pedicure with a cut and color (not that my hair color isn’t natural or anything). It’s like they know when I am thinking of straying to a competitor and they hook me back in. It’s great marketing. Offer incentives for your customers to keep coming back. Visit five times and the sixth time is free. If you make a big purchase, something smaller is free or for a reduced rate. Have your customers do some marketing for you too. Referral programs encourage your customers to refer their friends or family so they can get a little something. Bring a friend and get 25% off services. Refer 5 friends and receive something free. I offer a referral incentive with my marketing services. Anyone who brings a new client to Dow Creative Solutions receives 10% of the contract amount.
Sit down and think of how you can appeal to your existing customers. Get creative and come up with some new ways to reach your old clients or to convince customers to keep coming back - and bring others with them.