Everyone felt the love in February - and it wasn't just sweethearts celebrating Valentine's Day. Being a business owner means we need to value retaining our customers by expressing love and gratitude for their business, not only for one month, but also all year. Give yourself a report card of how you've done in this area so far, and utilize these ideas in your small business. Here are some tips on how to let your customers know you love them.
Spread Some Love
Extend the mood of Valentine's Day love by decorating your storefront. Hand out free spring-themed suckers or Thank You cards. Mail your best customers fruit, chocolates or candy. It seems silly, but when you take your focus away from selling and put it instead on giving (even if it's just giving customers something to look at), they'll want to come back. You can even create special seasonal offers and bundle commonly purchased items together for one great price. This applies to every type of retail, not just lingerie stores!
Send a Heartfelt Message
You'd be surprised what a little personal thanks can do to strengthen your relationship with your customers. Now, of course, if you have thousands of customers, this one-on-one interaction might not be possible, but it's ideal if you're a consultant or if you see your customers on a regular basis, such as in a retail store.
Your message shouldn't have any sales pitch behind it; you simply want to tell your customers how much you appreciate them. You can do that a few different ways:
- Include a handwritten note with each order
- Send a handwritten card to your clients
- Spend some time talking to each customer in your store
Offer Incentive to Come Back
One fantastic strategy for building customer loyalty as well as providing stellar customer service is to create irresistible offers to past clients. That could be anything from 25% off of their next order to a free croissant the next time they buy coffee from you.
If you want to take your loyalty efforts beyond just sending a blanket email to anyone who's bought from you with a coupon code, sign up with a customer loyalty software company like FlockTag, which can customize the offers you provide based on each customer's purchases.
Ask Them What They Want
One of the best gifts you can give your customers is your attention. How can you better deliver what they want from your brand? You've got to ask them to find out. Send your customers a brief survey (or give it to them in the store) to find out what products they like, what might be keeping them from buying them, what they think of your prices, and any suggestions they have for other items they'd like you to carry.
Once you've conducted your research, consider how you can show your customers that you're listening by implementing a few of the suggestions you received.
Love on them in person
Consultants - you probably have an ongoing relationship with your clientele, but do you remember the last time you spent time in person not speaking about business? Book a time to get together with them for a meal or coffee and in that time concentrate on just building your relationship with them rather than going in with an agenda to sell. It's interesting what you will learn about them when you are more intentional about building your relationships with them.
Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady is America's #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She writes a weekly column for the New York Times, publishes a resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com which is syndicated through The Huffington Post. She also hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for small business owners. As a brand, she reaches 1.5 million entrepreneurs a week on the internet. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to fulfill her mission to end small business failure. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson one of the #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News, and in Fortune, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Black Enterprise. She is the bestselling author of "Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works," and the ebook How to Become a Social Media Ninja; 101 Ways to Dominate Your Competition Online.