There’s a saying that a business that’s all front end is not a business at all, it’s simply a promotion
When a person decides to start a business venture there’s generally two objectives:
- To derive a good liveable income from the business
- To build the business so that it has a saleable value
After establishing the product or services that is to be marketed, the first objective is to acquire customers.
Customers are everything to the business. They are the number one asset of the business.
The degree of success that the business enjoys will be directly related to the business’s ability to attract new customers and to keep existing customers repurchasing.
Failing to obtain repeat purchasing from customers in effect puts a business into the mode of being a permanent promotion machine and all it can do for growth is hope that it can continually attract a larger and larger number of customers.
The reality is that for a business to grow and build its profitability it must cultivate the maximum value from the investment it has made in acquiring the customers – and that is to obtain repeat purchasing – again and again.
The best means of building a business therefore is to continue efforts to attract first time buyers -= and to constantly stimulate sales from those who have purchased before.
Marketing is not just about finding new customers. It’s also about retaining them and encouraging them to buy repeatedly year after year.
That’s where the real profits are harvested.
The easiest and least expensive sale to achieve is from an existing customer, hence the importance of having a system in place to ensure the customer doesn’t forget you and that they perceive you as being appreciative of their custom.
Be assured that if they perceive you as regarding them as a number and they don’t perceive you as valuing their custom, you will not acquire their loyalty but simply be a source until another business with more appeal comes along.
It’s always in your best interest to continually serve, communicate with, make offers to and generally delight those who have already purchased from you in the past.
Keep in mind – satisfied customers usually welcome frequent contact from businesses that have given satisfaction provided your communication aims to renew good feelings , treats them as preferred customers and is not one of constant ‘hard sell’.
The following are a few strategies for maintaining contact:
- Treat them as special – for instance informing them of special sales, product launches etc before making it common knowledge to the general public
- Provide helpful tips or pass along information that they might find useful
- Provide case studies of how other people have used the product or service – a) it can be of interest b) it can stimulate ideas and more purchasing
- Keep customers and prospects up to date with changes such as new product releases, changes within the business
- Make them aware of key personnel that they’re likely to make contact with because it’s good to place a face to name and it can help with referrals if they relate to particular people
- Keeping lines of communication open makes you seem more accessible to them
The ultimate position is to be ‘top of mind’ – to be the first and possibly the only organisation your customers think of when their need for your type of product or service arises.
The tools to use: Invitations, sales letters, thank you cards and newsletters.
- Marketing guru Dan Kennedy says a good newsletter puts a fence around your customers that’s hard for competitors to break down.
- Research by Saatchi & Saatchi found newsletters a brilliantly useful tool for gaining repeat business particularly for motor vehicle dealerships
- Standard & Poors found in a survey that of 4,000 people receiving newsletters
*92% read at least some issues of the newsletters received;
*83% read most or some articles
*84% found the information useful.
*72% saved articles for future use;
*74% visited the provider’s website;
*60% passed on an article to a friend
*40% called for more information.