When we own a business, most of our time is spent in two areas: focusing on the incoming work, and focusing on increasing the incoming work. But sometimes, we focus so much on bringing new customers to our businesses that we overlook our existing customers.
Whether they are loyal advocates of our business or one-time customers who’ve not yet come back for more, there are plenty of creative ways to reach out and nurture those relationships with the people who have gone out of their way to support your brand.
Let’s show our customers just how much we appreciate them and look at the creative ways online and off that you can encourage repeat business.
Host an Open House In Person or Online
Another great way to engage customers is to look for creative ways to connect face-to-face, whether in person or over ZOOM, to encourage their interest in you, your company and your goods or services. Open houses at your office, or workshop, can feature introductions to your talented team and put your brand front and centre.
Add a Q&A session at the end and motivate your audience to connect. Take people’s business cards for a business card draw, and follow-up after the event to offer help or support. If you offer niche services for a specific audience, targeting those audiences with in-store events and promos can go a long way to establishing an ongoing relationship with your customers.
Host a VIP Event IRL or Virtually
An open house with an executive twist! Maybe you want to invite all your most loyal customers, or all your one-time customers, to a private function hosted by you that’s just for them. Offer swag bags with giveaways, promotion codes for next purchases, or a discount on your services with interactive trivia games and other engaging activities.
Supply snacks and refreshments or goodies reflective of your brand (eco-friendly? Give out DIY herb boxes) and go the extra mile to provide a singular experience for your special guests. Making your clients feel appreciated and special reminds them you care, and will only encourage them to return for more!
Cards or Gift Giveaways
Sometimes less is more. Whether it’s a birthday or holiday card, or a simple thank-you card, this simple personal touch can go a long way to remind customers you appreciate them. Do you know what their interests are?
Maybe you’re a home builder and your clients are business leaders in their fields. A small gift basket on move-in day with a leadership book and a bottle of bubbly might be a perfect way to show that you’ve not only paid attention to their needs but also paying attention to who they are as people, which is the basis for any healthy relationship!
Setting up a formal referral program built for win/wins can help you spread the word through those customers who’ve had a great experience with you. Keep in mind, when we talk about referral programs, we don’t mean offering a client $50 to tell-a-friend.
An effective referral program is one that is carefully thought out and planned, starting with a list of your very best customers (those you can count on to give you a winning review regardless of an incentive). Whether it’s a double-sided referral program where the existing customer and the new customer receive incentives, a private/VIP experience for customers who do the referring, or a points system referral program, there are all kinds of creative ways to motivate your biggest fans into becoming advocates of your brand.
Engage on Social Media
A lot of business owners are reticent to spend time on their company’s social media channels, for good reason. Too often, it feels like a redundant tool to self-promote, and for those who don’t like self-promotion, that can feel like a giant waste of time. But actually, social media is where you’re going to find conversations about your brand by actual customers.
Paying attention to comments and searching for conversations about your brand online to find conversations you may otherwise not have known existed will help you address weaknesses in your service. Customer feedback, whether direct or indirect, can help address issues in sales funnels, and offer creative content opportunities, ads, campaigns, strategies and conversations around the valuable insights you uncover.
Rather than listening in, another great way to find out what your customers think is to reach out to them directly and ask. Maybe you want to give your very good customer/friends a call, and ask specific follow-up questions about your services, and if there is anything you could improve. This can also be done through online polls and surveys you can post to your social media channels.
By specifically checking in to find out where your weaknesses are, and areas that you could focus on for better customer experience, you’ll gain you a reputation for transparency, and honest service, two key ingredients to keep people coming back for more!
The bottom line is that we should always be keeping an ear to the ground when it comes to our business. Feedback from the people who shop with us is invaluable when we’re looking for ways to grow an audience and deliver in ways that nurture customers for life.