I have seen it so many times before how businesses work so hard with advertising and marketing campaigns to attract new customers. Of course without new customers the business would more than likely fail. However most businesses fall short of doing everything they can to retain the customers they already have.
Offer your existing customers a repeat buyer incentive. In our area we have a water ice store called Rita’s. They give you an incentive to buy often with a repeat customer card. Every time you buy a water ice they mark off your card. When you buy 5 you get your sixth for free. You can implement something similar. A friend of mine has a landscaping business and offers to existing customers free hedge trimming with every 5th cut. It might not seem like a lot, but for the customer it is enough to make you go elsewhere.
Are you maintaining a database of all of your existing customers? Do you know where they live, what their phone numbers are? Do you know what they have purchased from you? When I worked at Domino’s pizza in college we had a computer system that kept all of this information on all of our customers. I could tell you when a customer last ordered and what their favorite pizza topping was. With this information we would send out direct mailings to that customer if they hadn’t ordered in a while. For example, if we had a customer that had a history of ordering a large pizza with sausage, we would send them a coupon for “x” amount of dollars off a large pizza with sausage. You get the point.
Back in high school I worked in a fast food restaurant. My manager there would give special discounts to the police and firemen. It was usually a 35% to 50% discount depending on how often the person came in. This kept them coming back, word spread to others in their departments and of course it kept the business safe as well (not that we felt unsafe at anytime).
These are just three of the many ideas you can implement to keep your existing customers. Remember you spent all that money getting those customers in the first place, take the time to keep them so you do not have to spend all that money again to get them back.
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