You just sold an item. Perhaps a service. It doesn’t matter. A sale just happened. It’s a success. All done. Time to move on to the next customer? Not quite. Your customer’s revenue potential is far from over. It doesn’t end at the point of sale. In fact, there are many ways to turn this single sale into a regular occurrence.
Developing a relationship with your customers or clients is an art and, like any other art, it’s not exactly prone to obeying rules. Still, there are a few tricks you can keep up your sleeve that can turn existing customers into the most loyal of shoppers.
Why do it?
The most obvious answer is profit but let’s not be so simplistic. There are three main reasons why you should consider this:
- Time. Leveraging the clients you already have will save a lot of it. Nurturing a relationship with a customer who already trusts your service is actually much faster than going through the ordeal of acquiring a new audience.
- Money. Okay, yes, this is definitely a thing. Keeping your faithful clients around is, in essence, a low-cost marketing tool. A consistent word-of-mouth campaign by your ‘evangelists’ will cost you next to nothing. You can even turn reviews and customer-generated content into promotional tools.
- Effort. The more significant the influx of people is, the more customer service you need to provide. If this overwhelms your capacities and you have no means of scaling up, the quality may go down. A small but loyal user base is best — for a start.
The ways to do it
Now that we know the “why”, it’s time to figure out the “how”. There’s actually a surprising number of ways of going about it. We’ve cut it down to the most effective. If you’re looking to reignite engagement and generate more revenue from existing customers, this is the way to go. Strategic steps or smart hacks? You decide.
1. Never skip market research
Just because you’re addressing your existing audience doesn’t mean you should stop trying to understand it. People aren’t a static, monolithic mass. Their focus fluctuates. Their needs and priorities change, and so do the circumstances. Maybe society is experiencing an economic boom or going through a recession. The core rule remains — know thy customer.
Look at your current sales and analytics. This will help you get leads within your customer base. Try email outreach, focus groups, or surveys. Oh, and, as much as we all dread it, let’s not forget the comment section.
It’s important to consider demographics, average order value, and buying habits. However, you should also test your customer’s journey and detect any obstacles. If others in your line of business are performing better and you’re losing clients, conduct a competitor analysis.
2. Identify unmet needs
During analysis, you’ll likely run into some unmet needs. Maybe a large chunk of your customer base will have a common problem. There’s your chance. Tap into it. It’s all about detecting opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to start conversations. For example, inquire if there are any points in the buying process that are confusing or difficult to navigate. Of course, it’s not just about your online store. Your actual products or services should come under the magnifying glass. Are they meeting all the expectations or is there room for improvement? Answering such questions can help with customer retention.
3. Keep in touch
You’d think that this piece of advice would come last. Quite the opposite. It’s good to consider it early on. Out of sight, out of mind, especially in the world of social media where everyone’s bombarded with content 24/7.
Consider multiple ways of maintaining contact. Try the follow-up where you’ll inquire about their experience with your product or even request a review. If you decide to rely heavily on online interaction, make sure you create exclusive offers for those who engage the most.
4. Provide consistent value in customer service
Repeat purchases won’t happen if you’re offering sub-par service. If your customers are to keep returning, they’ll have to keep getting top-notch stuff each and every time.
Providing consistent value is particularly important in the area of customer service or after-sales service. Here you’ll have plenty of room to build a brand. Train your representatives to respond quickly, be personable, and deliver on promises. The key is to listen and solve customer issues creatively. Everyone will appreciate that.
5. Cross-sell and upsell
Of course, there are other ways to build rapport and continue to attract existing customers. Traditional options include offering bundles, discounts, loyalty cards, free shipping, gift vouchers, or even a satisfaction guarantee. Don’t let this be the end of the list. Consider two more options.
The first is cross-selling. Offer your audience a chance to purchase something in conjunction with the primary product. Let’s say you’re selling software. There’s the app they’re buying and then there are separate products that can complement the initial purchase. A great way to generate extra revenue, isn’t it?
Upselling is a different sort of scenario. We can again use the software analogy. The buyer is intent on purchasing an app. So why not offer add-ons that will improve functionality? You can provide this enhancement at point-of-purchase or a few months down the line.
6. Re-allocate your marketing budget
When it comes to forecasting and planning, there are few things more important than your marketing budget. Review it often and compare performance and engagement analytics. Only the most relentless result-oriented scrutiny will do.
Remember that good old rule of marketing? See what works and then double down on it. Allocate the most significant chunk to the best-performing campaigns that prioritize customer retention.
7. Tell your story your way
A bit more about marketing. In today’s world, your goal is to capture and retain the attention of your existing customers on social media. Your brand’s story matters just as much as the way you tell it.
Replace generic stuff with a unique take on the topic. Share quality content that is relevant to your audience, either through social media posts, visual aids, infographics, blogs, or newsletters. Offering insider tips on how to make the most out of your product will help you build and maintain trust.
Of course, actionable messages are a safe bet. Still, try not to be too assertive. Aim to educate, rather than to convince. After all, your product or service can solve their problem. Your goal is to explain how.
8. Always focus on quality
If your sales become stagnant, you’ll need to consider something beyond marketing. Is your product or service outdated? Maybe the level of quality requires a bit of a boost. Conducting a survey will help you determine which parts of your range you should update, revamp, or even eliminate. If something’s not selling, you might as well get rid of it altogether.
Make sure you always have something new and exciting up your sleeve to keep your audience on their toes.
Existing customers could be your most valuable asset yet
As you can see, it’s not all about chasing after new customers. You can also give your loyal fans a chance. They offer untapped potential that few businesses are willing to explore. As the old school marketing pros used to say, you’re building the customer and not the sale.
There are many ways to do this. Cross-selling? Upselling? Both are well worth a try. However, taking the time to get to know your customers and identify their unmet needs tops the list. You’ll also need to provide constant value, keep your offer fresh, and tell your story your own way.
It’s a journey of constant learning and innovation. Your team will need to commit to continuous training and an improvement mentality. That’s the only way to reach the next level.