How does a small business compete with larger businesses that have more money and a greater ability to discount their prices….CUSTOMER SERVICE! The best marketing tip I can offer a small business is to create a strong and consistent customer loyalty program that stands out from the rest and gets a thumbs up. This doesn’t have to be complex, but it does need to be set-up in a way that you are always delivering the best in customer service and rewarding your staff for the extra efforts they take to make a client feel special.
So, what can you do today to create a system for maintaining your client’s loyalty? First, start with the basics of thanking them for being a client. Sending a hand written thank-you note, adding a message to the billing statements and verbally telling the client that you appreciate their business goes a long way. Next, be a person who likes to help your clients by sending them useful mailers with tips and information that will assist them in their life or business. One of my marketing coaching clients who is a local realtor in Beverly, Tina McManus, sends out a newsletter to all her past real estate clients with helpful tips for their home and gardens. The focus isn’t to sell them, but to help them enjoy the homes they have purchased and hopefully when they are in the market to buy or sell they will contact YourNorthShoreHome.com . The key to customer loyalty is to go beyond the ordinary and to think of your customers like a dear friend. When was the last time you sent your customer a birthday card or a postcard from your vacation trip? Do you ask how their family is doing and offer genuine concern when you hear someone is ill? Email newsletters are one way to stay connected with your clients, but many clients are too busy to read while at the office so invite them out for lunch or a cup of coffee or to your home after work. Find a way to clearly show them that they are more than just a client, but someone you care about.
Finally, the best way to show a client that you care about their business is to send them referrals or mention their business in your social media posts or at networking events. Take the focus off yourself and consider how you can HELP your clients or the businesses around you. Mark Beckley, owner of Small Business Computing in Reading, does this exceptionally well. He takes the time to connect his clients with other businesses and always looks for ways to be helpful to the business networking groups he attends. Last week he connected me with a company he had met at a business networking event that was looking to advertise on Cable TV and Mark quickly told the owner that he had to call Purple Diamond because we could save him money and aggravation….and we did! [Thanks Mark for your recommendation.]
Selling a new client is part of any business plan, but retaining that client with a well developed customer loyalty program that will keep that client for a lifetime is the key to marketing success!
All my best to your success! ~ Charlene