Repeat business is the key to ultimate long-term success in any business.
Your goal as an entrepreneur or business owner is to turn every first-time customer into a life-long customer. However, in order to maximize the value of that customer, you need to encourage regular purchases on an on-going basis.
Encourage customers to come back frequently with special sales, events, frequent-buyer programs, credits towards gifts, unique offers or reminders.
In order to make this strategy work best, you need to buy aware of your customers preferences, buying patterns and styles. It’s very different between industries as well as individual customers. A window contractor might only buy regular supplies once every 4 months. So if you’re supplying this outfit with screws, caulking, glazing tape, and the like, you’d better be aware of their buying habits, or else you’ll be wasting your efforts and probably annoying them at the same time, by not being aware of their preferences.
Keys to Success
Constant communication is vital. You want to establish a relationship and to do that you need continuous contact. Keeping in touch with your customers on a regular basis helps them remember the benefits they get from doing business with you. Whenever you’re holding a special sale or event of any kind, be sure to inform all customers and prospects on your list.
You may have to notify them more than once to get them to show up. Keep your clientele informed about new stock arrivals, upcoming sales, what’s hot and what’s not, special guest appearances, seminars, expansion plans, new store openings, etc.
Enticing offers are critical to response. Even the best customers won’t show up repeatedly if there’s not something new or unique or special for them. Make it interesting, inviting and difficult to ignore.
To renew the buying relationship on a frequent basis, determine the best means of connecting with your customers. A wholesale foods supplier serving cafeterias, lunch counters, and restaurants, should be marketing on a weekly (or daily) basis, featuring limited-time specials at reduced prices.
A computer retailer, on the other hand, wouldn’t want to contact customers every week. Perhaps a quarterly newsletter would work better in that scenario.
Holding a special event? Try sending invitations out to your customer list. If you hold several sales or special events throughout the year, create a calendar of special events that you can send to give customers advanced notice of those important dates.
The air miles program has become very successful at increasing customers buying frequency patterns and developing loyalty. The lure of getting a free trip to some exotic destination is enough to generate tons of excitement and increase the number of purchases.
Coffee Time Donuts offer another way to get you coming back to enjoy their brand of coffee. When you buy a coffee, they give you a club card that you present with each visit. After buying 10 coffees, you get one free. Then, you start on another card. It’s using credits to build repetitive purchases.
Building a database and developing ways to keep in touch with customers and prospects is a good place to start. Then figure out some enticing deals you can create and a way to communicate the value of these deals to those most likely to be interested.