When it comes to small business marketing, we tend to place the focus on drawing in new customers, as if keeping existing customers is easy. But while getting new customers is important, it’s a mistake to assume that one-time buyers are going to keep coming back merely on the strength of what you’re selling. In all likelihood, you have at least a couple of competitors who offer products that are similar in quality, and if you allow these competitors to provide a better customer experience, you’re going to end up losing market share to them.
If you want to keep those first-time customers coming back, here are some ideas to consider.
Offer gifts and bonuses:
One surefire way to get people to keep buying from you is to give them something for free out of the deal. Of course, you don’t want to bankrupt your company with your free gifts, but it’s a good idea to offer a little bonus for people who buy form you multiple times.
Similarly, you can get people to keep buying from you by incentivizing their purchases with loyalty points. For every pound they spend in your store, they earn a certain number of points, which can later be redeemed for discounts on products.
Once someone has bought from you, it may be a while before they need to make another purchase. And by the time they have that need, they may start over from scratch and end up going to one of your competitors. Keep your business present in their minds by sending out things like e-newsletters and follow-up surveys. Sometimes simply by soliciting a customer’s opinion (usually through a customer satisfaction survey) you can help ensure that they remember you next time they need one of your products.
Send out coupons:
Every once in a while, put together a coupon-based advertising campaign directed at people who have purchased from you once or just a few times. Save the email addresses of everyone who fits into this category, and when sales go through a slump, send out a coupon, making sure to put “30%” (or whatever discount you opt to offer) in the subject line of the email.
Create a community:
If possible, give your customers a chance to talk about your product and converse with one another on your website. One of the best ways to do this is to create a blog that allows people to leave comments, or you can create a web forum. This usually only works for certain kinds of products, though.
If there are any companies that don’t qualify as competition but which also target their products to your customers, reach out to them to find out if they are interested in cross-promotional opportunities. This way, when your target customers go to that other company, they will be reminded of your business and prompted to make their purchases. Such connections can be crucial for maintaining thriving business in the long run.
About the author: Caterina Christakos is a published author and reviewer. Learn how to find the best espresso machine and where to buy espresso machines at a discount.