Most businesses invest a lot of resources into acquiring new customers. While avenues like search engine marketing can be cost effective ways to bring in new customers, many customer acquisition methods are quite expensive. Because of their focus on this task, a lot of businesses forget that they already have a great source of customers.
This source is the clients or customers they’ve already served in the past. One of the hardest parts of getting prospects to actually pull out their wallet and do business with you is reassuring them that they’re going to get great value for the money the spend. But with past customers, they already know that they can count on you to do a good job. Since this hurdle is eliminated, all you have to do is give them a compelling reason to place another order from you.
If you like the idea of focusing more on your past customers but don’t know how to pique their interest, there are a couple of methods that are quite effective:
Offer a Discount
Although it’s a simple strategy, offering a discount can work very well. Given the recent bad press that daily deal sites like Groupon have received, some business owners are hesitant to offer any discounts. However, it’s important to remember that this strategy doesn’t involve offering discounts to bring in new customers. Instead, you’re offering a discount as a loyalty reward. Since huge companies like Starbucks are known for their great loyalty discounts, there’s no question that this strategy can yield favorable results.
Customize a Pitch
This works really well if your clients are other businesses. For example, if you provide conversion rate optimization, take time to look through their site. If you see a page that you know you can improve, take a few notes and then send them a pitch. Or if there’s something you know they’d benefit from adding to their site, shoot them an email with that information. In many cases, the only reason business owners aren’t sending you ongoing orders is because they’re simply too busy to figure out what they need done next. By taking care of that work for them, you can do them a big favor and receive an order from them in return for it.
Provide a Referral Bonus
Making the most of your past clients or customers doesn’t even have to directly involve securing another order from them. Instead, one way to benefit from your existing relationship is to have them bring new prospects to you.
What’s great about this arrangement is the prospects a past client delivers will already have a personal recommendation about your business. As a result, you will find that it’s much easier to close an order with them than it is with a prospect that you bring in on your own.
Since this is a valuable service that past customers can provide, it’s worth motivating them by providing some type of bonus. Whether it’s a monetary or discount bonus, as long as you make it appealing, you’ll find that your happy past customers are more than willing to send prospects your way.
Did you focus on your past clients or customers very much during 2011?
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.
Posted on Mon, January 16, 2012
by Brian Waraksa filed under