If you own a business then customers are the life blood of your business. The biggest mistake you can make in business is to assume people will be buy from again if they have bought from you previously, without inviting them to.
If you sell something people only buy once or once every 10 years or so, you are assuming they don’t know anyone who might buy from you. Again this is a big mistake!
Market research has proven a few points relative to both of these areas.
First of all, 67% of people who buy from a business wont do so again because of one reason, perceived in difference. This means they got satisfactory service, not fantastic, or great or incredible. They got what they expected or less than they expected.
To make your business “memorable" so customers want to come back because you stimulated their emotions you need to over deliver on their expectations. If you’re not exceeding customers’ expectations your service is probably considered either poor or satisfactory.
The second relevant fact from market research is birds of a feather flock together. That means your customers will spend time with people who think just like they do. What your customers buy, friends of your customers will also buy.
I remember when ii first bought a good quality car. It was a beautiful black with gold pin striping BMW 528i. When I did 2 of my friends bought a more upmarket car within 2 months. If the car yard had looked after me I would have gladly told them to go to the same car yard, but I got very bad service so I told them never to buy a car from that car yard.
A couple of years later I bought my first home and within 3 months 2 of my friends did as well. However the real estate agent didn’t ever both to talk to me after I had bought the house, they assumed I would come back to them in future, but I never did as they weren’t “memorable" to me.
Both of these reasons above are why I recommend businesses of all kinds have a database of customers. This means a computer program that allows you to store all information about your customers who have spent money with you and in some businesses, even the ones who don’t as they may buy from you one day.
When you have collected the name, address, phone number and type of product/service bought by your customer, mail something to them within 3 months. Again market research says this is the longest you can leave it before you contact a previous customer before you are virtually completely forgotten.
A database can allow you to store thousands of names, even tens of thousands. You can store anything about your customers in them as well. Database programs cost just a few hundred dollars, but they are very powerful tools when you learn how to use them.
I recommend you mail letters to your customers offering them something to make them come back. It could be a $20 gift voucher to use when they spend $100 or more. The real cost to you might then only be $10 (if your gross margin is 50% or more).
Understanding what your customers’ interests are then asking them to buy it is what true marketing is all about. If someone has already bought from you there is a very good chance they will again, but only if you invite them to or offer very “memorable" service in the first place.
Two good programs to look at for a database are Goldmine and ACT! Both of these have a calendar so you can program in appointments or follow up with customers as well as email so can track all email communication with customers. You can filter out some customers and only mail some. There is no limit to the uses of a database.
Top internet marketers know a name on a database is worth more than a visitor to their website! Email marketing is the way of the future so get with the times if you haven’t already and start building your database, it could be the best marketing investment you ever make!
Remember to investigate the privacy laws in your country as they vary greatly. Find out what is legal to keep on file about your customers and what isn’t to avoid a clash with government law enforcers.
Tim Stokes is a professional business builder and small business marketer. He teaches business owners to have more out of life from running and owning a small business. Check out his many other articles at http://www.ezinearticles.com or go to his website at http://www.bbms.com.au where you can geta brilliant book on advertising. . . for free!