Repeat customers are the bread and butter for home business owners. Whether you are a service provider, direct sales consultant or crafter, returning buyers allow you to focus your time on making money rather than marketing.
According to Get Satisfaction, new customer acquisition is 6 to 7 times more costly than customer retention.
Repeat customers are worth more than just repeat sales. Loyal customers
- refer more customers
- are willing to pay a premium
- are more resistant to competitors
Those are things money can’t buy. But how do you turn a new customer into a returning customer?
Be consistent with your customer experience. Don’t leave the white glove treatment for the new guys. If a customer comes back because of the stellar treatment they received only to find out they are now just a number, they are likely going to move on. If you promise great service, deliver – regardless of how long they have been with you.
Keep in contact…but not always with a sales pitch. Follow up after a purchase to ask if they are seeing results or enjoying their purchase. Reiterate those original selling points and offer assistance with their future needs.
Get to know them. When you acquire a new customer or lead, ask for their birthday, anniversary or another date if it is more relevant to your business. As soon as you get back to your computer, schedule a card to be sent from Cardstore.com. Take it a step further and include a special discount. This works. How often do you leave a retail checkout these days without being asked for your email, address and birthday?
Create a loyalty program. There are so many ways you can work this depending on your business. If you are a service provider, you can extend a free hour or small additional service at no charge every three or six months a client has maintained their contract. If you sell a physical product, you may offer a small freebie or discount for every 10 purchases or six months of auto-ship.
Just as you need to ask for the sale initially, you may need to ask for the repeat sale as well. Watch the correspondence from your favorite retailers. How are they pitching to you? How often? What makes you pull out your wallet? We often overlook the marketing practices of other businesses (or bigger businesses) because we are small home entrepreneurs. We shouldn’t. We are customers as well as business owners. Modify and incorporate those practices you find most appealing and effective. You don’t need a million dollar budget to get your customers into a buying cycle.
What tips can you add for turning a one-time purchase into a returning customer?
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