Racking up sales is wonderful, but it won’t keep the doors open if these are just one-time customers. You need to retain your existing customers and turn them into diehard brand loyalists.
Your loyal customers will purchase more with you, and more often. And they can be an incredibly valuable marketing tool that can help you grow your customer base through referrals and word-of-mouth.
If you don’t already have one, now is the time to put a plan in place to harness the power of your existing customers. Here are the steps you can take to engage them and build a loyal following for your business.
Understand Your Customers
Because you need your customers to relate to your brand, you have to understand what they’re all about. You accomplish this through market research.
Market research is gathering information about the market you want to enter or operate in — your target market. The end goal is to find out how successful your offering can be to customers in your target market, and to understand how best to engage those customers.
There are two approaches to gathering this information: primary (research you do yourself) and secondary research (public-facing research compiled by a third party).
Examples of primary research include:
- Email and online surveys
- Telephone interviews
- One-on-one interviews
- Focus groups
- Internal data (in-house information on your customers)
For instance, with email surveys, you could ask your customers directly what new services or offerings they would be most excited about. This helps you prioritize opportunities to grow your business, and shows your customers that you care about their feedback.
Examples of secondary research, which can also help you analyze your competitors, include:
- Public sources (government websites like the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics)
- Research from other organizations or companies
- Specific keyword searches on Google for terms and competitors relevant to your market
By searching Google for keywords that you know your customers are already using to find businesses like yours on the web, you can see who your competitors are, understand how they are messaging to their customers, and gain ideas on how to refine this for your purposes.
Using your point-of-sale as a research tool
Your point-of-sale is a powerful research tool because it automatically tracks sales across every location (as well as online) and it ties those sales to customers so you can better understand their purchase behavior, it is a great source of data to easily identify opportunities for growth.
Your point-of-sale gives you access to internal data that you’ve accumulated from each customer interaction, such as:
- How much your customer spends and on what
- How frequently your customer returns
- Your total sales compared to last week, month or year
By analyzing that data, you can spot customer trends, as well as opportunities to grow your business. For example, if you notice that specific customers regularly spend more than others, you can make it a point to alert them each time you have a new promotion.
By learning your customers’ unique behaviors, you’ll be better able to market to them. – Read more