The hardest and often the most expensive part of business is finding customers, so it’s important to hang on to them from day one.
When you’re new in business, having a plan to build the base who will provide early revenue and become your most important advocates is vital.
Here are five ways to build that base.
Establishing rapport and providing excellent customer service is a good way to build a strong customer base.
It’s simple, but thanking your customer for their purchase and letting them know that you’ll welcome them back is an instant way to build rapport.
Encourage them to stay in touch with you via a mailing list or through social media in between sales.
If you have customer details you have the capacity to stay in touch with customers and to be proactive in encouraging them back.
Develop ways to capture email and mail addresses, and phone numbers. That way you have the option to communicate via sms, phone, email or post.
You can gather this information through entry forms for competitions, mailing lists, customer feedback or application forms. It’s best to provide a good incentive for people to hand over their details e.g. a special bonus or chance to win a prize.
Always let them know up front why you’re collecting their details as well.
Encourage your customers to follow you on social media as a backup for keeping in touch. You’ll need a customer database to capture these details. If you are in retail they are often linked to your Point of Sale system.
There are many cloud-based CRMs available from no cost to low cost they now also have the ability to capture social media addresses of your customers as well.
Communication is key to nurturing your precious relationships with customers. One way to keep your customers coming back is to communicate with them between sales.
Come up with reasons to contact customers that isn’t about selling.
Consider providing helpful information associated with products or services you sell, or provide advanced notice of a promotion in an email.
Sharing tips and hints for how to get more from their purchase can also be appropriate communication that can build customer relationships.
Being active on social media and interacting with customer comments is a perfect way to continue to build relationships in between sales.
A strong customer base is developed when you go out of your way to assist your customers or make them feel special.
This might be setting up a VIP Customer Club which provides previews of products or invitations to events or a loyalty program that rewards frequent sales.
It could be about offering special services such as advanced orders.
In each case, for people to join they need to provide some details so you can contact them.
A card doesn’t make someone loyal by itself, but if they’re happy with your service a loyalty card may just encourage them to buy with you more often.
Getting happy customers to refer your business is not only an effective way of building a customer base it’s also one of the cheapest.
Have a system where the person who refers gets a reward as well as the new customer they have brought in.
This can help referrals come in faster.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just started your business or have been in business for a while customers are your lifeblood. You need to build a strong customer base at all stages in business.
By implementing these five steps you will be well on your way to achieving this and your business will thank you.