There are several ways to build your business, but you must know what’s strategic for your particular business, and you must execute this well.
Loyalty cards can be effective because they draw your customers into your business with discounts and/or rewards programs, and will keep them coming back. Many of the cards are able to do more than just earn loyalty through discounts. They can help businesses understand the buying habits of their customers and market to them more effectively.
Social media can also be a very beneficial tool, and allows you to engage your customers. In one innovative promotion we saw, a store invited customers to comment on the store’s Facebook page about their experiences with the store, and those who did were automatically entered into a sweepstakes competition. In another, a restaurant invited customers to post photos of their meals and comment on them for a chance to win a prize. There is almost no limit to what a business can do using social media. A clothing store could invite customers to post photos of themselves in their new outfits. It’s the sort of thing that can generate energy and buzz, and the best part is that the customers do most of the work for you!
Email is also very effective if you use it correctly. You don’t want to constantly invade your customers’ inboxes, but when you have something that is truly of value to them, email lets you get it to them directly. You can offer them coupons and promo codes for birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions – or even just for the season at hand.
Speaking of promo codes, there’s no reason not to add them onto the back of your business cards as well. You hand them out all the time, after all. Give recipients an easy way to try out the experience of doing business with you.
Of course, so much of modern communication is now happening in the mobile environment, it also makes sense to communicate with people on their mobile devices. Again, you have to be careful because they may not respond well if they’re constantly receiving promotional texts from you. But there’s a right way to do it, and Derek Johnson, CEO of SMS marketing software Tatango, explains it here.
It’s all about getting permission to capture customers’ information, and then making sure they understand how you’ll use it. And of course, quantity is not what gets results. Quality is – and that means useful, relevant messages that offer value to the customer, including worthwhile discounts, deals and other offers the customers have already told you they want.
Finally, customer referral programs offer a win-win, as you can reward customers with discounts when they refer a friend – and of course, you get a new customer in the process.
Customer referral programs can keep your customer focused on promoting your business. Referring a friend can not only benefit the customer but also the business as well. If they tell their friends and offer them an incentive, customers will be more engaged and more likely to keep spreading the word. The business will make more money as a result. It is a win-win for everyone.
Your customer database is a tremendously valuable asset! But like any asset, you have to use it wisely and effectively to get the value out of it.
Have a question about business planning, products, or services? Contact Business Development or leave a comment below.