Published September 11, 2018
You’ve worked years perfecting your business: you spent days designing your website, months coming up with the perfect products and, most importantly, it took you two weeks to decide which shade of beige to paint your office. Finally it’s your grand opening but how many of the customers you see on this day will you see again and again? Here are some tips on how to get (and keep) loyal customers that will keep coming back and keep your business afloat.
Personalize Your Social Media
Let’s face it: Nobody likes advertisements. When was the last time you sat through an entire advertisement on YouTube without skipping it or opened your obvious spam emails? Customers want to know that they’re dealing with an actual person, not a big corporation, that they can connect with. On your social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, make sure to balance your content between promotional ads and inspirational posts to keep your customers engaging and your follower count high. Many big name companies make posts featuring their employees so why not do the same? Or you can just post a cute picture of your dog, or an inspirational quote, or what you had for dinner last night…
When it comes to social media make sure you don’t neglect your followers as well. If someone takes the time to comment on your post what’s stopping you from commenting back with a simple “thank you”? Customers will see that you care about them as an individual person and not just as source of money. When customers see that you care, they will feel more comfortable about working with you and you’ll be the first they call when they need a good or service. Customer service is called “customer care” for a reason after all.
Up Your Customer Service
Often times customer service is the only way a customer can communicate directly with a company- and this one phone call, email or direct message can make or break your business. The first step in creating bullet-proof customer service is to make your business as available as possible. Don’t just have a support email that you check once a week but instead have a phone line, email service and social media page that you check often. Blondie said it’s best when they sing “call me any, anytime” so make sure to have flexible hours that people can call (maybe not at four in the morning but perhaps 8am-8pm) and have pages where people can write their issues that you can get back to. When you go out of your way to help a customer they are sure to have positive feelings about your business and keep coming back. When was the last time someone helped you and you didn’t thank them?
Sponsor Events (or Create Your Own)
To keep in line with the idea of developing a personal relationship with your customers (are you sensing a theme here?), a great way to get out and actually meet your clients is to host or attend events. When sponsoring an event you will not only get advertisements, but you show that you care about your community (or a cause if it is a charity event). Customers are more likely to support a business that they have a connection to: Americans would rather buy American-made products, military families will sponsor veteran-owned businesses and who wouldn’t support a business who cares about adorable shelter pups?
Focus on Your Customer - Not Sales
Sure having blowout sales, deals and promotions is a good way to bring in more customers but is quantity better than quality? If someone comes to your shop just because you offer the cheapest shirt, shoes or service, then they are likely to leave you once they see that another business is cheaper. Instead, offer discounts to your customers so that once they buy something from you they can have 20% of their next purchase, not their first. Rewarding your current customers instead of providing incentives to attract new ones shows that you prioritize loyalty and that you aren’t desperate to bring in new customers by any means necessary.
Keep Communication Constant
Once you land your customer, in order to keep them from taking off you need to stay on their radar. Of course, you don’t want to stalk them everyday on Facebook so your best bet is to send them friendly reminder emails every couple of weeks. Do you ever feel guilty when you see “we’ve missed you!” in the subject line of an email or get re-interested in a business when you see that they have new products? Sending these unobtrusive little emails is a great way to remind your customers that you still exist and keep them coming back for more without overstepping boundaries. These reminder emails also give you the opportunity to send those discount codes that we were talking about earlier that everybody loves. To first get your customers’ emails you can simply make it necessary for them to give their email to buy a product (or receive an invoice by email), or you can advertise on your website to “sign up to receive discounts and news”. If your customers are like us they’ll automatically put in their email when they see a “subscribe” link with the hopes of receiving a discount…
While it may seem like building a loyal customer base is hard work, once you have your devoted clients it will make running your business a lot easier: loyal customers means you’ll have to spend less time and money on marketing and you won’t have to worry at night about sales numbers. One more thing that becomes easier with loyal customers are your invoices. Once you enter a new customer in our system, Invoice Home’s software will save your customer data so when they purchase something from you in the future you can create an invoice in one click. Loyal customers and faster invoicing? What more could you possibly need?