In the past two weeks, I’ve shared quite a bit on keeping the conversation going even after the customer leaves your place of business based on the insights of a retail expert. The bottom line of these articles was on how to keep the customer engaged enough to be a return customer, or at the very least, a referring one.
However, this only works if they’re thinking of you regularly – and they will only think of you regularly if your messaging is consistent.
There is little point in your beginning these customer engagements, only to slowly taper it off over the week as you get busy on some other part of the business and so on.
Or to put it another way – loyalty is earned over time, so consistency is key when it comes to staying connected with your customers.
This is why a long-term action plan that allows you to easily extend incentives and show appreciation to your customers via email marketing, social media, and so on comes in handy. There are many ways of doing this, and here are the two that I’ve seen to be most effective:
- Sharing your wifi: there are providers out there who can provide you with a special device you can add on to your existing router which serves both to have a firewall between your wifi and the wifi you share, as well as to connect with your customers via their social media before they can use your wifi. Once they’ve liked your Facebook Page, you can continuously engage with them by offering exclusive promotions or special offers and so on.
- Giving them a discount card: make their interest in registering for a discount card urgent – offer a free gift for registration (which they can only get with an activated discount card), and after their registration ensure that their purchases are always discounted (member prices) and so on.
With the discount card option, you have an opportunity to make the engagement more personal; as they register, make sure they provide you with an email address. This email address will be valuable in your continuous engagement as you can use it in a mailing list where you can offer the following:
- Product/service review emails: shortly after your customer makes a purchase either in store or online, it should trigger an email requesting them to share their experience. Time it so that your customers have ample opportunity to test out the product, and make sure there’s something in it for them. It isn’t enough to ask your shoppers to review your product so that you “can constantly improve.” In exchange for their feedback, offer them an exclusive promotion, a discount on their next purchase, or even a complimentary gift.
- Replenishment reminders: if you sell a product that expires or wears down, sending a quick reminder can spur a new sale and bring a customer out of dormancy. So, if you sell 30-day supplies of cosmetics, deploy a replenishment reminder on day 28 after a customer’s initial purchase.
- Cross-sell/upsell emails: Set yourself up for success with prompts to make a second purchase. Create a campaign that offers product suggestions based on a customer’s last purchase (i.e. recommending the colourful car charger if a customer just bought a mobile phone). If an entirely separate sales email feels a little pushy, you can incorporate this into the footer of your replenishment email.
Over time, your business will be the one constant in the minds of your customers – especially when they’re talking to friends and family about where to get their next product or service.
As Nicole Leinbach Reyhle mentions in her article that I was referring to in the past two weeks, research states that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%. Add to the fact that customers you have sold to have already shopped with you and it’s a no-brainer that continued customer engagement is vital for your business’ success.