When it comes to marketing and generating more income, most business owners are focused outward.
They’ve carefully established and segmented their target market, and created specific offers and messages for each market segment. They spend thousands of dollars in advertising and direct mail campaigns in hot pursuit of more leads, more customers, and more foot traffic.
While this is an effective way to build a business, it is costly and time consuming. It requires constant and consistent effort, and while this approach does generate results, those results quickly disappear when the effort stops or becomes less intense.
Look Inward For More Business
Successful businesses that see sustained growth have a double-edged marketing strategy. They focus their efforts outward – marketing to new potential customers – as well as inward – on existing customers and referral business.
These successful businesses have leveraged their existing efforts to generate more revenue. Simply put, their customers buy from them over and over again.
For most businesses, this is the easiest way to increase their revenues. Simple customer loyalty strategies and outstanding customer service are often all you need dramatically increase your sales – from the customers you already have.
The Cost of Your Customers
Do you know how much it costs your business to buy new customers?
Each new customer that walks through your door – with the exception of referrals – has cost you money to acquire. You have spent money on advertising and promotions to generate leads and turn those leads into customers.
For example, if you have placed an ad in a trade journal for $1,000, and the ad brings in 10 customers, you have paid $100 to acquire each customer. You would need to ensure each of those customers spent at least $200 to cover your margin and break even.
Alternately, if you spent two hours of your time and $10 per month on an email marketing program to send a newsletter to your existing database of customers, and you bring in 10 repeat customers as a result – each customer has cost you $1 plus the value of your or your team’s time.
Generating more repeat business means focusing on the marketing strategies that aim to keep your existing customers instead of purchasing new ones – effectively reducing the cost of attracting new customers to your business.
These strategies are simple to implement, and don’t require much time investment. Just a solid understanding of how to make customers want to come back and spend more of their money with you.
Keeping Your Customers
Marketing strategies that focus on keeping your current customer base are easy and enjoyable to implement. They allow you to build real relationships with the people you do business with, instead of dealing with a revolving door of people on the other end of your sales process.
Repeat customers create a community of people around your business that presumably share the same needs, desires and frustrations. The information you gain from these customers (market research) can help you strengthen your understanding of your target audience, and more accurately segment it.
Remember – 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. Always focus on these customers. They are ideal customers that you want to recruit, and hold on to.
Customer Service: Make them love buying from you
Every business – even those with excellent service standards can improve the service they provide their customers. In today’s difficult business environment, customer service seems to be a dying concept. These days you can even go to the grocery store now and not speak to a single sales associate thanks to self-serve checkouts. Successful businesses go out of their way to delight their customers at every turn.
To improve your company’s customer service standards, take a survey of your customers and your employees to brainstorm ways you can improve the experience of buying from your business.
The 3 C’s of Customer Service
Successful customer service standards – those that make your customers buy – are:
Consistent. The standards are up kept by every person in your organization. Expectations are clear and followed through. Customers know what to expect, and choose your business because of those expectations.
Convenient. It is nearly effortless for the customer to spend money with your business. Convenience can take many forms – location, product selection, value-added services like delivery – and it is also consistent.
Customer-driven. The service the customer receives is exactly how they would like to be treated when buying your product or service. It is reflective of your target market, and appropriate to their lifestyle. Customers would probably not appreciate white linen tablecloths at a fast food restaurant, but they would appreciate a 2-minutes or less guarantee.
Over the years, by focusing on external lead generation and inward on existing customers, I have helped my clients achieve significant growth often doubling revenue and tripling profits in the first year.
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