Running a business is never easy, and your relationship with customers is often the key to a successful business.
Customers are your source of revenue. Having a steady source of income is dependent on how loyal your customers are. A loyal customer base can reward you with consistent and large ticket item purchases.
Hence, adopting the correct mindset when running a business, and interacting with your customers, is an important piece of information that all business owners should know about.
Being Proactive in Interaction
Consumers are inherently lazy.
It is likely that they will not take any action if they have to exert a lot of effort to do so. That is why it is the business’ job to make the purchasing process and conditions as smooth and as convenient as possible.
To be concise, you should do all you can to keep a customer. If you have a customer base, work them!
There are many ways you can feed information to your customers and encourage them to make a purchase. Direct response marketing through texts and calls, or email newsletters to keep them updates. Keep a list for your company, a database that makes reaching out an easy and convenient method.
Have a system in place that allows you to follow up and update your customers at regular intervals.
If you are new to the market, you are in luck. It is easier to start by implementing this program than to have to make changes to your marketing strategies halfway through. Additionally, starting new can mean starting small, which means that with a smaller customer base, you can afford to be more personal in your connections. Post cards, letters and special prices… your business is sure to flourish given enough time.
Your list of customers is a vital and irreplaceable resource that will make all these processes much easier. To maintain your list, split it between two categories prospective customers versus current customers. Your current customer list should contain customers that have made a purchase from you in the past two years. Meanwhile, your prospective customers should be customers that have been added to your list within the past year.
To maintain contact with your customer base, you should seek to email your current customers at least once every month and reach out to your prospective customers at least six times per year. If you have a special discount or offer for your customers, you can email everyone on the list. Make sure you keep track of the responses you get from your follow up sequences, for having an organized list to work with can save you a lot of time.
Adopt a Brand Personality When Interacting with Customers
After investing in follow up sequences with your customers and clients, take it a step further! Become the face and spokesperson of your company and teach them about what your product is all about. Your customers should not be dealing with the company itself.
They should be dealing with the president, face or spokesperson of that company.
This is when PR marketing comes in. It is important to build a brand image, especially in this age of social media. Entertaining brand identities and snappy remarks on the internet are what makes social media marketing interestingly, effective and engaging.
- Popular brands like Nike and GoPro reserve their Facebook and Instagram for marketing campaign purposes, but use Twitter as a smart and casual way to interact with their fan base.
- Starbucks’ Facebook account is another good example to bring up, being a digital landscape designed for providing information. With tons of eye-catching photos of their products displayed through fun and colorful videos, they successfully build a brand image while informing their customers of their latest products. Their separate social media accounts across countries allow each countries’ marketing team to cater their marketing campaigns to the latest local trends and happenings, giving it a larger sense of connection with its customer base.
- Budgeting app YNAB also has a YouTube channel that features educational and informational videos regarding budgeting, and how their app can help with that. Not only is this a good example of content marketing, but the company also gives its staff full discretion on setting the tone of the videos, giving birth to a lively vlog-style video lineup that has personality and breeds interest in their product, instead of feeling like a quick cash grab and sell.
- Popular YouTube channel Slidebean takes it a step further, choosing to punch out informative videos discussing about startup news and companies headlines, weaponizing content as a form of marketing their app. This is effective as their content caters to their main target audience – business owners. Their channel has since grown so successful that it also serves the dual purpose of diversifying their company income stream through YouTube ads while acting as a sales and lead funnel for their company.
The Retail Industry and The Opportunities It Holds
Retailers have a goldmine of opportunities when it comes to their business.
After all, they have many opportunities that allow them to record and retain customer information that can help with their marketing. This information can be about things as basic as the customer’s address, or even their name, to the specific products and services they are interested in and the total number of purchases they have made.
Having a detailed and organised customer information list to work with can further your prospects significantly. You can reach out to interested customers directly instead of purchasing costly ads that are not as targeted or emailing a general list that will ultimately prove ineffective.
Targeted Promotions & Campaigns
In these promotional and targeted mailings, you can include a prelude to the products and services you have to offer, which allows you to, in a sense, test the waters before investing your dollars.
If you are very familiar with your customer base, you can even mail the different categories of customers more specific letters to offer them a particular kind of product or service.
- For example, if you are a dress store, and you are aware that out of your entire customer base, 150 of them are women in their early 20s and have an interest in the latest Korean fashion trend. You can send these customers an exclusive email to offer them to try out the latest Korean fashion products in the market. You might even want to suggest a compiled collection of existing stock in your shop, that fits their interested genre.
- By reducing the inertia, it takes for customers to look for a product and make a purchase, you can potentially increase your revenue. Even if 10% of these 150 customers replies with interest, that represents 15 interested customers that you can potentially earn from. A $50 profit earned from all fifteen customers equates to $750 in profits. Even if you choose to mail your customers physically and it incurs a cost of, let’s say, $50, that is still a significant profit of $700 left over.
- Additionally, if the campaign is sparked through direct response marketing such as texts, emails, or social media marketing, the monetary cost is almost zero.
Further Categorise and Tier Your Customer Base
Also, let’s not forget that each customer base can be further categorised into even more specific groupings. Send a few of these categories a personalised email to their taste at least once a month – and watch how the money rolls in.
You do not have to be a big retail business for this strategy to work – small, personable local stores are perfect for this kind of promotional strategy.
If you are a business that sells your customers the same thing, take a close look at the following example:
- For instance, what if you are a widget store, and out of the 200 customers who make purchases from your store in one week, the average amount is around $50? What if you implement a strategy, where right before the customer pays, you suggest that your customer increase their sale by 10%.
- It seems miniscule, but it adds up. If you can convince your customer to increase their sale by $5 per purchase, and you handle 200 customers a week, that is potentially an additional $1000 addition in profit! You can achieve this simply by suggesting to your customers, prior to finalising the purchase, that they try out a special offer available in the store that they are eligible for.
- That special offer can be a package of products or services available prior to the finalising of the purchase. It should be attractive to your customers yet have a low assembly cost. For example, you can throw in two extra products upon the point of purchase (this is also a great way to get rid of off-season items) or offer a free consultation to your customers that would normally cost a certain amount.
- Sounds too simple. Surprisingly, despite the simplicity, not many businesses implement these strategies. This means that by trying these marketing tactics, you stand at an advantage over most of your competitors in the same market.
It is important to note that, when making changes and trying out new strategies, you should take note of the effectiveness and costs. Try setting up a monthly budget and testing it in a smaller and more controlled environment. This way, you can easily tell if you are making a profit or not or if it is actually eating into your sales from the previous month.
Telemarketing in the Modern World
An alternative strategy you can implement to increase your revenue is to try telemarketing, to develop a strong rapport with your customers so that they trust you.
Telemarketing may be commonly seen as cold-calling, but in recent years, telemarketing has taken a new meaning to include other forms of customer outreach. This can include:
- Social Media Direct Messages
- Text or Messaging Apps
- Telegram Channels Updates
- Email Marketing
Contact them and offer a discounted product or service, or an exclusive package that your store normally does not keep in stock, but that they can acquire if they are interested.
The likely scenario is that your customers would be happy to agree.
By telemarketing, you can also improve your customer contact strategy. Have your sales staff members categorise your customers based on the closeness of their relationship, then contact them via phone. This can help to improve the results you get.
Communicating With Your Customers – The Key To A Loyal Customer Base
The key point, be it for sales or marketing, is to keep in contact with your customers.
- Whether it’s by phone, email, letter or in-person, reaching out to your customer and show how much you appreciate and value their patronage. Follow up with a convincing reason as to why they should want to purchase the product or service that you are currently offering them. You can build your case around the reasons why your customers made their previous purchases from you.
- After a positive experience dealing with you, it is easier to convince customers to repurchase. You simply need to make the process simpler, less tedious and smoother – whether it is through exclusive pricing, special discounts and what not. Your offer should be so attractive that the customer will prioritise your business. Convince them that your product and service will add value to their lives and the results should prove themselves.
- If you are selling a more complex type of product or service, such as a luxury item, take the time to educate and explain to your customers the benefits of purchasing from you. Be forthright in recognising the heavy price tag associated with your business, then counter it with a suitable offer or reason. You can even turn the high price into an advantage for your business by tying it into the intangible qualities of your product or service, such as its impressive features or its superb quality and value, to convince your customers.
- The same logic applies for when you are trying to market your product. You need to be able to educate your customers on the unique selling point of your product. What benefits does it have as compared to your competitors and rivals, who are selling something similar? Wallet company Ridge does a good job in this, branding themselves as a redefined minimalist wallet, effectively selling a lifestyle in addition to a product.
While it sounds like a lot of numbers being involved, the actual cost of reselling to your current customers is surprisingly small, when compared to what you can gain from them.
The costs of reaching out to them and implementing your contact system has also proven to be almost negligible in favour of the results it can bring.
Understanding Your Customer’s Needs
Many businesses sell their product and services by framing them as answers to people’s questions and needs.
Yet few of them actually understand these needs, much less be able to fulfil them. Take the time to learn about your customer’s goals and desires. Is it convenient? Functionality? Profitability? Comfort? Do they want an accessible and convenient service or a luxurious and personalised experience? Is price their biggest priority? Or quality?
It can be a single need or a combination of it. Your customer may not even be fully aware of it themselves, but it is up to you to fulfil that need.
- The first step you need to take is to identify which needs are within your ability to fulfil and build it into your image from there. Communicate with your customers, whether they are old clients or prospective ones. Determine which image works best for your business and gather feedback.
- Once you are set, do not settle. Don’t be satisfied with just fulfilling your needs, go beyond it and make sure everyone knows. From the market to your prospective customers, be tactful in broadcasting how your business succeeded in fulfilling your customer’s needs. Feature these in your ads.
- Include them in your email listings. Point it out in customer consultations. Through these methods, you can build a name and identity for your business.
- For instance, if service is your top priority, only offer the best with the most skilled staff members. If your key selling point is your affordable prices, stay true to that promise. Practice integrity and stay genuine and sincere. If you fail to do so, you will only drive customers away.
- Business owners should always strive to understand their customers by observing them closely. Talk to them over the phone and treat their complaints seriously. Your customer’s voices are the market’s voices.
- If a customer stops buying from you, be diligent, but tactful, in finding out why. Keep a close eye on your competition and any potential changes to the industry. Fail to realise the changes that may occur based on your customer’s attitudes, and you fail to keep your business alive. Studying your customers gives you an advantage – one that you should take seriously.
In the art of war, Sun Tzu has a famous quote that you should ‘Know Your Enemy’.
In the art of business, it is important to know your customers.
Leading Solution provides many methods for businesses to gain new customers at a low and affordable customer acquisition cost. Additionally, we provide ways for you to understand your customer base online activity better, thorough keyword research, for you to use to your advantage.
Contact us for more info.