If you recently started running a home business or considering running one, you will soon discover that winning new customers is much easier than keeping them as returning customers. For any home businesses whether the product is a service such as consultancy or a physical product such as an electronic device, the rate of rerunning customers must remain high to offset other costs (mainly marketing and expansion). The process of customer retention is not rocket science, however certain best practices should be adopted across the business. Hopefully this list will point you in the right direction.
Here are 5 essential marketing tips to turn existing business into repeat business:
Turn your business into an authority in your industry – For many home businesses the sale process starts when customers research, ask questions and ascertain your level of knowledge. To keep your new customers and turn them into returning customers become an authority figure by staying one step ahead of your competition and extend your knowledge base so when customers have a question before buying again you will be their first point of contact. To achieve an authority status level consider attending and speaking at industry functions, keep well informed about current affairs in the industry and most importantly share your knowledge.
Diversify your business offers – Staying one step ahead of the competition also means offering closely related products (again physical or non-physical) which customers might want after the initial purchase. If you have not diversified your offers to meet a customer need they might look elsewhere and you might miss repeat business. Also known as ‘cross-sale’ the process of offering closely related products and services is an excellent way to turn existing customers into returning customers. If you are struggling for ideas, do not shy away from asking existing customers in your newsletter or use good old competitive market analysis to find new opportunities.
Offer exceptional customer service – Make customer service the cornerstone of your home business and let your customers feel they are the most important aspect of the business. Offering exceptional service is not about how many customer service agents you have answering the phones or how quickly you are able to reply to emails, it is however about how well you are able to successfully resolve potential problems when they occur. Let all your customers big or small feel as if they are equal and by decisively negotiating problem you will increase the rate of returning customers.
Keep your marketing communication on-topic – Sending direct mail and newsletters is a great way to keep in touch with existing customers and should be the basics for your customer retention plans. The challenge is sending communication not for the sake of sending or because you can, but because you have something new and exciting to communicate. If the communication is not on topic or not frequent enough it might cause a dent in your customer retention process. When it comes to sending newsletters, sending twice a month using a combination of marketing offers and informative information will work well.
Always keep your prices competitive – The fact that customers bought your product or service once is no guarantee for repeat business. This point is even more important when selling a branded product which other businesses might be selling as well. Do your market research and competitive analysis on a monthly basis and try to negotiate the lowest rates from your suppliers to lead with competitive pricing along with great service as your unique selling point for existing customers . If your prices are extremely higher than your competitors customers will notice it and vote with their wallets.
I hope this article will point you in the right direction.
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Article by Michelle Strassburg Head of Sales and Marketing at engineered hardwood flooring company Wood and Beyond .