Do you struggle to market your business? Is it a challenge to reach new customers? And once you find a new customer, how on earth do you keep them coming back?
Marketing your business can seem like a full-time job, one that you may not have time for after a hard day’s work. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In 2015, nearly a quarter of small business owners listed marketing their business and finding customers as their top challenge. It can seem daunting to craft a marketing strategy for your business that targets just the right type of customers for your business at the right time. That’s why we’ve created a simple 3-step plan to help you grow your business and keep your customers coming back time and time again.
Before we jump into strategy, let’s talk about your customers. Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, so your primary goal should be the satisfaction of your current customers. Your current customers are people who you have already built a relationship with, and who already know the value of your services, so it’s a far more efficient use of your time to solidify those relationships as your first priority.
If you’re still not convinced that retaining customers is valuable, check out this research that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. Now are you sold on focusing on your current customers yet? Good, because once your customers are satisfied, they will be more than happy to refer you to their friends and family! Not only are current customers less expensive to retain, but they are also your BEST source for finding new business. With that in mind, here is the simple, three step plan we’ve created to help you re-market to your current clients:
Thank your customers
Send out reminders
Ask for referrals
The steps seem simple enough, right? Let’s look a little more in depth at how you can make each of these phases work for you and your company:
Step 1: THANK your customers for their business
The very first phase of your marketing plan should always be thanking your customers, and not just on-site. Your first job with a new customer is like an interview - you impress them based on your merits during the job, as well as follow up and make sure you stand out afterwards. This can be as simple as a 30 second phone call, an email, or a postcard. No matter how small the gesture, showing your gratitude is an easy way to let your customers know that you care about them, and appreciate that out of all the other companies in your industry, they selected yours.
There are also economic advantages to expressing your gratitude. Don’t believe me? Check out this study, which found that waiters who write “thank you” and a personalized message on their receipts received larger tips than waiters who didn’t, as well as this study, which found that a retail store’s volume of purchased goods rose by 70% after calling past customers and thanking them for their purchases.
These results stem from the fact that a simple “thank you” intensifies your relationship with your customers and their loyalty to your brand. In other words, there’s absolutely no excuse for not expressing your gratitude.
Step 2: REMIND your customers about your business
As a business owner, you want to believe that your customer service and superior quality are enough to earn a permanent place in your customer’s rolodex, but in today’s world, that’s simply not enough. This is especially true in the home services industry, where a single customer may have relationships with a carpet cleaner, plumber, window cleaner, pest control company, and a landscaper (just to name a few). That amount of information is a lot to keep track of, especially when factoring in follow-up service schedules.
It is your job as a business owner to prevent your customers from forgetting about you. Make a point of reaching out to your customers every three months, six months - whatever time frame works best for your industry. Just make sure that you are contacting them early enough that you remind them of your service before they would think to look for it on their own. That way, you can eliminate the possibility of your customer losing your contact information and booking someone else.
Step 3: Ask your customers for REFERRALS
Referrals are hands down the most successful marketing channel at your disposal. The proof is in the pudding: Customers are four times more likely to use a service if they are referred by a friends, and referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value than non-referred customers. This is especially true if you do commercial work: 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral.
There are three steps to harnessing the power of referrals:
Your quest for referrals begins far before you ever start re-marketing to your customers; it begins with your quality of service. Make sure you leave your customers satisfied and thank them for their business, so that they feel appreciated..
Ask for it:
This tends to be the hardest step for many business owners. Some may be embarrassed or afraid to ask. Others may think they don’t have the time or that their customers should just be willing to give referrals without needing to be asked. Whatever your thought process may be, there is no reason NOT to tap into this goldmine of new business.
If you want your business to be at the top of your customers’ minds, you need to give them a reason to think and speak of you often. This can be as simple as expressing your gratitude, or it can be more tangible, like offering your customer a discount or a gift card.
When all's said and done, your best bet for creating lasting relationships with your customers is making sure they know that you value their business. As simple as these three steps are, your customers will appreciate feeling like they are valued member of your business community, and in turn, will be happy to help you spread the word and help you grow your business!
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