We all claim to want more customers, more often, but are we doing what it takes to get that done? I asked Sarah Reilly Engel, VP of Merchant Success at Belly, a loyalty rewards company for retailers, to share advice with us.
It is widely known, through research and studies, that businesses derive 80 percent of their revenue from 20 percent of their customers. As a small business owner, it becomes overwhelming to develop customer acquisition and retention strategies effectively without using tools to automate the process. Luckily, some of the best customer-driven marketing tactics and tools are at every business owners’ fingertips.
Here are 7 ways you can to turn your casual customers into your brand advocates:
1) Get Mobile. Leverage technology partners who have scale, reach, responsive design and local search benefits to get your business found. Find a digital platform like Belly that allows small businesses to get discovered through an intelligent map that denotes all participating merchants nearby! Furthermore, optimize your website for mobile so that all customers can find you regardless of what device they’re using.
2) Get Social. Showcase your personality and utilize social profiles including Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. Define your unique voice and tactics for each channel and post real-time behind-the-scenes photos to engage with your audience. You can also use these channels to inform customers of upcoming promotions. Post actively to these channels at least once a day to show your customers that you are engaged. Your social media channels will help increase brand awareness for your business and create affinity with followers.
3) Boost Social. Spending small budgets to increase local reach on Twitter and Facebook can help you expand your customer network and lead to new paying visitors. I recommend testing different budgets and creative, in addition to defining your target audience by selecting the location and age group that your business desires to reach.
4) Focus on Loyalty. Your behind-the-counter charisma and service is a great start, but with many competing businesses it’s hard to stay top of mind with casual customers. Focusing on loyalty can help you increase profits up to 6-7x. Implement a loyalty program that rewards frequent visitors and encourages them to stay true. Customers are likely to spend more with each visit and each positive experience may spread the word about your business.
5) Cross-Promote. Draft a list of local businesses who may have complimentary products or services. Network with the desired partners and kick off a promotion that offers customers rewards, and discounts for visiting each location or choose a loyalty program that lets you interact with customers and rewards them for repeat visits. This is a great way to get new referrals and new loyal customers.
6) Activate & Manage Reviews. It’s critical to have a presence on review sites, like Yelp! Go the extra mile by providing photos, descriptions, menus, hours and your businesses’ direct contact information online. Adding signs on your window and at your counter are also a great way to remind visiting customers to share their positive feedback about your great service. Since 90% of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews – keep up with active reviews and comment politely to customers who have had a negative experience. Lastly, host a Yelp event at your establishment and position yourself as an active community member.
7) Create Your Email Marketing Plan. Email marketing is one of the most powerful methods for growing sales and maintaining relationships with customers. Ditch old methods of capturing email addresses offline (think: business cards in fishbowls) and encourage users to sign up for the loyalty program you work with so you can close the loop and drive conversions both on and offline with communication tools at your fingertips. With customer-driven insights and email automation, messaging customers is easy and trackable so you can measure results on retention.
Following these quick and simple tips is a great way to kick-start your marketing programs and strengthen your customer relationships. Try them out and see the difference it makes