In March 2014, Manta and Dell conducted a joint study in which they found that getting repeat customers was the most important business milestone for small business owners. Returning customers are truly the cornerstone of any small business; they provide a consistent cash flow and are more likely to recommend your business to friends and family. So today we’re going to discuss six strategies for attracting repeat customers FIESTA style—through Facebook, Instagram, Email, Snapchat, Twitter, and Amazing Service.
Reward your fans with special, Facebook-only promotions. Give out weekly coupons for various products that you sell; create specific promotions around the holidays to drive traffic to your site or physical shop.
Facebook is also a great platform you can use to engage with customers, create personal connections with fans and put a voice to your business. Insert yourself into conversations in the comment sections of your posts to provide helpful feedback or advice.
Remember, every post doesn’t necessarily have to be about your business—share related articles and videos you think your fans will love. They may share your content, increasing awareness of your business amongst their own networks.
One way you can attract returning customers through Instagram is with in-store photo/video contests. Obviously, this will draw shoppers back to your physical store where they can capture themselves interacting with your products. Make sure to use a unique hashtag for the contest so all of the user-generated content is curated for you and interested participants.
When you promote the contest, use a simple call-to-action and clearly explain the prize. To encourage return visits, make the prize a gift card or certificate customers can redeem in your store.
If you own an ecommerce business, you can still host an Instagram photo contest to drive people to your site and generate buzz around your business. If you’d like to increase reach beyond your followers, include common hashtags in your contest post.
Email is an ideal channel for nurturing customers after their initial purchase. Have an automated email marketing program send a “thank you” message to each customer that makes a purchase on your site. You could even include a time-sensitive coupon to encourage another immediate sale.
If your business is small enough, you could personalize each email and perhaps include some tips/tricks/additional information about the products they purchased. If you’ve created any how-to videos featuring a customer’s newly purchased products, include them in the email. Note that marketers who use video in email cite increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, increased sharing and forwarding, increased conversion rates, and increased dollars generated as the top benefits.
Ultimately, make sure to convey your appreciation for their businesses and let them know how much you would love for them to stop by again.
If you own a brick-and-mortar shop, fear not! There are ways to collect email addresses from your shoppers. Offer a coupon (good on their next visit) or a little freebie to anyone who signs up for your email list. Have customers write their email addresses down on a slip of paper and enter it into a drawing for a weekly prize. Get creative with it! But remember, there needs to be a value exchange in order for most people to hand over their primary email address.
The self-destructive nature of Snapchat “snaps” allows you to build up hype, anticipation and urgency. Brands have been using the app to tease viewers with quick snapshots of new products or upcoming events. Use “snaps” to display the progress your business is making to keep followers interested and engaged.
You can also send users coupons via Snapchat. Encourage people to open the coupon “snap” when they’re checking out in your place of business, so the cashier can apply the discount. Add a little mystery and make it a tiered promotion—people could receive 10%, 15% or 20% off their purchase.
Having a presence on Twitter will allow you to engage in conversations with your customers. Over time, this social media site has become an easy way for consumers to make inquiries or voice complaints about a specific business. You should be ready to respond to the good, the bad and the ugly.
If someone gives you a compliment, thank them and encourage them to stop by again. If people voice complaints about a product or the service they received, you can either handle the issue on Twitter with an apology or encourage them to email you so you can resolve the problem in private.
Twitter users may even reach out for help finding your store or using one of your products. You can provide them with helpful videos or direct them back to your site for more information.
You can also reach out and follow your past customers to extend relationships beyond the walls of your store.
In a 2012 survey from Clickfox, 72% of respondents noted that customer service was a factor that made them loyal to a brand. Similarly, respondents’ top requirement (34%) for winning their loyalty was for companies to provide exceptional service 24/7. Now, if you own a small business, “24/7” may seem daunting. To preemptively address any issues customers may have, make sure your business website has an updated FAQ and clearly lists your location, hours of operation and contact information.
Outside of that, be sure to address any problems in a timely manner and create an exceptional experience for customers, whether it’s in-store or online (as I’m sure you already do). Customer loyalty is incredibly important not only because it brings in repeat business but also because 78% of customers express their loyalty by telling others about your business. Referrals are an incredibly effective marketing tool that can drive revenue for your company.
In a March 2014 poll by Huzzah Media, 36% of small business owners noted that word of mouth is their best source of revenue, right behind returning customers (44%). People hope for, but do not always expect to receive amazing customer service. Exceed their expectations in any way you can and they’ll be more apt to return and/or refer friends and family members to your store.
If you provide every customer with quality products, excellent service and nurturing through social media and email, attracting repeat business shouldn’t be a problem—just remember, FIESTA!