Even though my specialty is inbound marketing and bringing you the best ROI for your Calgary business’s promotion, even I can admit that it is far more difficult to earn a new customer than to keep an old one. That’s why building and retaining customer loyalty is one of the most important parts of owning a business. Dedicated customers spend more than new customers on products and services, and they also tell their friends about their positive experiences more often. In short, they are invaluable.
Here are five ways to keep your customers coming back for more … and more.
Keep Them Interested in Your Brand
Good brand reputation management practices can make your company simply captivating to your customers. Your brand is what people identify you with, and what makes your company unique. It’s what sets you apart from the competition. If you can keep your brand fresh and exciting people will gain the impression that your company is also evolving and staying on top of trends.
Managing your brand’s reputation requires responsiveness, first and foremost. More than your logo, your brand is your reputation. It’s vital to always treat your customers the same way you would like to be treated, as word-of-mouth is one of the fastest ways for news to travel – especially if it’s something negative. When a customer writes a review or leaves a social media comment – positive, negative, or in between – it’s vital that you respond professionally. A thoughtful response to a negative review or comment ultimately works in your favour, as other potential customers will take note of your professionalism when they read the exchange.
Online marketing tools you can use to strengthen your brand message include:
Let Them Get to Know You
Successful companies have good stories to back them up. This doesn’t mean you have to make something up, though. Your company story should describe why you started your business, which, for good companies anyway, is almost always interesting. Chances are you wanted to solve a problem or improve upon something, and you figured out how to do it. That is something your clients should know. If they can see why you were inspired, they’ll be inspired too. Two of the best ways to share your story are by creating blogs and the smart use of social media.
Implement a Loyalty Program
Aside from offering great service all the time, there are lots of cool ways to entice your customers into coming back. Plus, it’s always enjoyable to do something nice for people you like!
Some of the more popular loyalty programs include:
- Allowing customers access to sales and discounts for a fee.
- A “club” program that moves customers through ascending levels according to the amount they spend. Those in higher levels receive greater discounts and bonuses.
- A points system where customers can earn points for purchases which they can then use towards something else.
- Automatic charitable donations with purchases above a certain amount. Although in this case the customer isn’t directly receiving the benefit, customers that share your values will be pleased to take part.
- Creating a game that people can play and win prizes. The odds of winning should be fairly high, otherwise it’s not fun!
Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
It pays to know as much as you can about who your clients are and what they like. The more you know about a customer the more they will feel like they’re getting your undivided attention – which is what every consumer wants! CRM software allows you to gather and record valuable information through the regular course of doing business. The data you collect will help you customize your marketing to the individual needs of each person. Customers value personalization. They want to feel like you’re reaching out directly to them, not to a generic target.
Be Available to Help
Nothing is more frustrating that making a purchase or procuring a service from a company and then being unable to reach anyone to answer your questions after. This is one of the fastest ways to lose a customer for good, and earn a bad reputation that you might be unable to shake. If you provide an email address, make sure there’s someone to respond quickly, efficiently, and politely (automatic responses are annoying), telephones should be answered throughout the day (no, you don’t have to be staffed 24/7, but having a person there into the evening can show your commitment to your customers, and live chat is also always an option.
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