Earning sales from customers takes time and effort. Depending on your industry and product prices, encouraging a customer to do business with your brand could take weeks or months. Even if you’re in the retail industry, where impulse buys are the norm, the first purchase is always the hardest to get.
Once you’ve secured a customer, keeping them engaged becomes a priority. Encouraging repeat business can help you grow your bottom line without significantly increasing your marketing and advertising expenses. We’ll explain why repeat business is crucial and share seven strategies for nurturing loyal customers.
Repeat business is when a customer shops with your company regularly. Ideally, you’ve fostered customer loyalty, and customers trust your brand enough to habitually spend money on your products or services.
Repeat customers are incredibly valuable to a business. They improve your cash flow, boost your marketing ROI, and help you amass comprehensive target audience data. Additionally, repeat customers bring the following benefits:
To earn repeat customers, you must grow customer relationships and nurture consumer trust. Consider the following straightforward strategies to encourage frequent buyers.
Building a customer loyalty program is an excellent way to encourage repeat business. As a bonus, loyalty programs increase the average sales transaction size.
While you can structure your loyalty program in various ways with differing levels of complexity, a straightforward, easy-to-understand loyalty program can be very effective.
To get started with your loyalty program, gather your customers’ contact information, provide them with a unique account number or card, and reward them when they make a specific number of purchases or reach a certain dollar amount.
Consider the following loyalty program ideas and best practices:
Unfortunately, many consumers have become accustomed to impersonal service. They can walk into a big-box store and go unrecognized, even if they’ve been there numerous times before and spend significant money.
To differentiate your brand and encourage repeat business, treat your customers with personalized service. Excellent customer service can take many forms, depending on your business and industry. For example, restaurants can use their POS systems to gather customer information, then use that to make personalized menu suggestions and substitutions. Retail stores can greet customers and encourage them to join their rewards programs.
Targeted email marketing campaigns are another way to personalize service. Market segmentation tools in email marketing software solutions allow you to send specific emails that address a unique customer segment’s interests and needs.
Future-use coupons are an excellent tool for encouraging repeat business. Coupons drive engagement and retention by giving customers a reason to frequent your business after making an initial purchase.
For example, for every $50 purchase in your store, you could offer a coupon for 10 percent off a future purchase. This enticement gives customers a reason to return — especially if their first purchase wowed them.
When any customer walks into your store or visits your e-commerce website, getting their contact information should be a top goal. When you have their names, phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses, you have numerous opportunities to reach out and build relationships.
For example, when customers opt into your email marketing list, they give you express permission to send newsletters, information about sales and discounts, new product announcements and more.
The key to driving repeat business is staying on your customers’ radar. Once they leave your store or exit your website, you want them to remember you. Free promotional materials are an excellent way to stay top of mind.
Whether you opt for pens, calendars, stuffed animals or other freebies that fit with your brand, handing out promotional materials to select customers can show them you value them and help them feel like VIPs.
Providing feedback opportunities shows your customers you care about their opinions. They’ll feel heard, understand they’re more than just another number, and will be more likely to return.
You can collect customer feedback via surveys in numerous ways, including email, text, live chat and social media. Survey data can yield valuable insights and help you improve your offerings.
Frequent customer feedback is crucial. Provide ample opportunities for customers to share their experiences, and be sure to acknowledge and thank them — even if they provide constructive criticism.
Social media marketing is uniquely valuable when you’re developing a brand personality. It keeps your business on the top of consumers’ minds and helps them feel like they know and understand your company personally.
Creative, eye-catching social media posts also provide your current customers with material to point to when they recommend you to others.
Gathering customer data is crucial to earning repeat business. Understanding your target audience helps you pinpoint your marketing efforts and weed out unproductive leads.
Consider the following essential software tools that can help you nurture repeat sales and create great customer relationships.
The best CRM software platforms provide essential tools for organizing data, tracking prospects and catering to customers. The data you gather in a CRM will help you segment your contacts and provide personalized offers to unique customer and prospect groups.
A CRM platform can help you personalize all customer communications and serve targeted offers at the right time to increase sales and foster repeat business.
The best email marketing software streamlines customer communications and allows you to share targeted information with specific audience segments. These platforms have varying features that help you build customer relationships, foster consumer trust, increase sales and website visits and much more.
Email marketing software and services can provide customizable templates, A/B testing, HTML-ready landing pages, campaign management and automation functions, lead generation options, and advanced reporting and analytics tools that inform and guide future campaigns.
Additionally, email marketing software can help you:
If you haven’t yet ventured into text message marketing, the time may be right to consider this effective way to connect with your customers and boost sales. The best text messaging marketing services take the guesswork out of texting customers and prospects while helping you comply with laws, best practices and regulations. They help you effortlessly automate personalized messages to connect with your target audience immediately.
Text message marketing can cut through the clutter and provide immediate results. Engage with customers by sending time-sensitive updates, customized product recommendations and follow-up customer service messages.
According to the book Leading on the Edge of Chaos by Emmett C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy, a 2 percent increase in customer retention has the same effect on a company’s profits as cutting costs by 10 percent. By retaining just 2 percent more of your customer base, you’re essentially cutting significant business expenses.
Additionally, the more times a customer returns and has a positive experience purchasing a product from you, the more likely they’ll return and tell their friends.
To earn repeat business, you must ensure you’re doing the right things to respect your customers and meet their needs. The strategies we’ve outlined are a great place to start.
Julie Thompson contributed to this article.