11 tips for small businesses to keep customers coming back
Having a plan of action for motivating your existing customers to stay engaged is not just a smart and efficient way to help your small business succeed – it’s essential if you want to keep growing.
May 20 · 7 min read
You’ve likely already worked hard to attract new customers. Brand building, promotional efforts, and content marketing — all to let potential customers know your products and services are worth their time and money.
But how do you get those customers to keep coming back? Marketing to your existing customers isn’t the same as marketing to potential customers. The reality is, acquiring new customers costs more than it costs to keep the ones you already have. Not only that, but your existing customers are likely to spend more; loyal customers are known to spend, on average, 67% more than new buyers.
Having a plan in action for motivating your existing customers to stay engaged is not just a smart and efficient way to help your small business succeed – it’s essential if you want to keep growing.
Here are 11 tips you can start using now to encourage repeat business and to keep all your acquired customers coming back for more.
Offer top-notch customer service
Outstanding customer service will make your customers feel valued. For some people, how they feel about purchasing your products or services can matter more than how much they like your products more than your competitors’.
To ensure your buyers feel good about your business, make sure every interaction with your company is positive. From phone calls and other one-on-one exchanges to how easy it is for your customers to find the information they’re looking for on your website, five-star customer service should be the standard at every touchpoint.
Listen to feedback
If your customers are willing to take the time out of their busy lives to let you know what’s great or not so great about what you’re selling, pay attention! A lot of successful businesses know that customer feedback data is invaluable for informing your business and marketing strategies. Successful, well-known companies aren’t just listening, they’re actively and continually asking for feedback. Then they’re feeding these insights into their decision making.
If you take a methodical approach to customer feedback, leveraging multiple channels for feedback and keeping track of what your customers are saying, you’ll always know where there’s room for improvement and what excites your customers.
Follow up after initial purchases
When a new client signs up for your services, send an email to check in and see if they have any questions. Find out if they’re happy with the experience. When a new customer orders a product or completes a session with you, follow up with an email, SMS message, or whatever channel works the best for your customers, to ensure their expectations were met.
It’s easy to send out automated follow-up messaging, just make sure it’s personalized for each recipient. This simple habit signals to your customers that you care about them. It also gives them the chance to let you know about any issues so you can address them.
Don’t underestimate the power of your blog
Fill your company’s blog with regular posts to stay connected with your customers. Fresh content will create the impression that your company is an active force in your industry, establishing your business as a thought leader.
This isn’t just a great way to enrich your online presence. Your blog posts are also where you can answer the questions your customers are asking. Identify your target audience’s pain points then write blog posts that provide the answers they need. When they know they can turn to your website for answers, you’ve further cemented your role as the go-to resource for solutions in your industry. You may refer to our blog posts as a reference too.
Surprise them with thoughtful promotions
Everyone loves a deal. Reward your existing customers and keep them engaged with thank-you offers and special deals only available to loyal customers. You can do this through an email newsletter that you send to your subscribing customers. In addition to your regular email content, mix in promotions to show them that there are benefits to keeping your brand in mind and out of their spam folder.
Make your website better and better
You probably already know how important it is to have a company website so your customers can find information about your business online and easily contact you. What you may not realize is how important it is to continually assess and improve your site as well?
At B12, our AI-powered software will monitor your website’s performance and make suggestions based on what’s working and what needs improvement. This way, your site is always relevant to your customers but you don’t have to spend hours and hours sifting through your site’s analytics or running time-consuming tests.
Be active on the right social media platforms
People like to know what’s going on with the brands they love. Don’t be hesitant to post a picture of your company’s new office or a video of you speaking at a recent industry conference on social media. Not only is this content interesting, but it also signals that your brand is multi-dimensional and worth following. Here is a list of social media platforms you can use completely free.
Keep your customers engaged with active social media profiles. Post about what’s going on at your business and what’s new in the industry. Publish relevant content from other industry thought leaders. Share videos of your business in action, employee interviews, new products, and anything else your customers might find useful, entertaining, or inspiring.
To get the best results, focus on the social media sites your customer base is likely using and that work well for your industry. For example, if you’re selling visual-friendly products like food, cosmetics, or travel services, your Instagram posts will keep your loyal customers enthralled. For financial or business services, post updates and news on LinkedIn to reach professionals.
Establish a loyalty program
Reward your customers for their continued business with a worthwhile customer loyalty program. This can be something as simple as a customer loyalty voucher offering a discount on the tenth massage, oil change, training session, or whatever your product or service is. If this model doesn’t work for you, consider a free gift that your customers would appreciate after a certain sales level.
Use your customer feedback channels, such as surveys, check-in emails, and social media comments to understand what your loyal customers would be excited about. Whether it’s a discount or a free gift, the goal is to make your reward something that motivates your audience.
Make it effortless to do business with you
Convenience is one of the biggest drivers of the decision to make a purchase. We pick the restaurant that’s a shorter walk. We order from the ecommerce site that already has our purchase information saved.
If you want your customers to stick with you, make that second, third, even 20th purchase super simple. You can do this with a website that’s flawlessly easy to navigate and a fast checkout process. Make sure your services are clearly explained and your contact information is easy to find.
For in-store purchases, use up-to-date payment processing systems and make sure you have informed staff on hand to ensure a hassle-free experience for your customers whether they’re paying for their car repair or their facial.
If you offer a service-based product, make it easy to book an appointment through your website. For building contractors and plumbers, offer a form on your website so your customers can get a free quote the next time they need your help.
If your customers had to work to make a purchase or set up an appointment the first time around, that may be the last time they come to you.
Let your customers know how socially responsible you are
Consumers prefer to do business with companies that have values that are aligned with their own. Make sure you’re sharing your company’s social responsibility initiatives. Whether you support a local community or you’re committed to using recycled packaging materials, let your customer base know about it.
If the environment, social welfare, or just good-old giving back is important to your buyers, knowing your company makes an honest effort to do its share can be enough to keep them coming back.
Say thank you!
What’s the ultimate secret to customer retention? Gratitude! Find a way to say thank you to your loyal customers. It could be a simple thank you card enclosed with a mailed purchase. If you’re a service-based business, you can send a friendly thank-you email after their first session or after they sign up for your services. If you have long-term clients, a thank you gift once a year could be appropriate.
Try to make your thank you message as personalized as possible. Ideally, your thank you feels as authentic as your sentiment!
Your thank-you’s, along with all your other efforts to motivate and connect with your existing customers, don’t have to be complex or even expensive. The idea is to be consistent and committed to letting your existing customers know they matter to your business. We’re pretty sure you’ll find that the more you give in terms of a great website, useful content, customer service, and genuine connection, the more you’ll get back.