Who are loyal customers?
A loyal customer is the backbone for any business. A business needs nothing but people who trust it and keep coming back to it with more buyers.Not only do they come back but loyal customers want your business to flourish and expand like you do.On average a repeat customer spends 67% more than a new customer.They have a belongingness to your products and services and they value your ideas. Chip R. Bell, has defined it beautifully as:
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with YOU.”
Whether you are running a service based business or you sell tangible products in a specific location, your success doesn’t depend upon how much money you invest. The old saying Money CAN’T buy Everything stays true to its core in terms of running a business. Relationships and loyal customers are a critical element for any brand to succeed. However, you can’t buy loyalty, you Earn it. You might be able to achieve a certain sales target with right placement and more resources but you cannot make sure those people actually love what they buy and feel valued.
A valued customer is not something you just get overnight. You need a strategy and plan to earn loyalty from the people who are passionate about what you do and believe in your solutions.
Why Loyal customers?
If you are reading this post, you might already know the importance of better customer relationships and how they drive your business. In case you don’t, here is an example.
There is a 20 feet rock (your brand) that you must push up a hill. You have never been to the top before so you have no idea, what possible hurdles may come in your way. You can push your heart out, drain yourself of all the energy (investment, money, time) and move only a few inches.
Now add an army of people (loyal customers) to help you push the rock alongside you. You can now easily take the rock up the hill with the help of your new army. The army however, should be really motivated to do so and you can motivate them only if you understand their preferences. Some of your group members may want durable products while others may need some monetary rewards and discounts. It is for you to decide which customers want what and how you can make them feel valued and earn their loyalty. These people not just like your product or services but they want everyone to use it. They feel pumped about what you do and they wish for you to be able to do for a huge audience. Such is the kind of audience that is the base of any successful brand and that no competitor can take away from it.
How do you get loyal customers?
Now that we are clear about who are loyal customers and why they are important, we will jump to how you can get them for your business and build better customer relationships. Know that you strong relationships don’t happen overnight or one-time networking. Distributing more visiting cards doesn’t mean getting more connections. To build a loyal customer base, you need a realistic and actionable plan. You need to find out your business objectives, core aims and brand identity. Even if you know all of this already, lay it out and see if your products and services reflect your brand values to your customers. To make it easier, we have compiled a list of things you should do to build better customer relationships. Read below to find out how you can empower your business with the right people.
Your community is everything for your business. It is not only limited to customers but also your professional acquaintances, suppliers, friends, family, contractors, colleagues, employees and anyone who shares business interests with you. These are all the contacts you have that could be your potential customers. Now how do you turn prospects in to buyers? And repeat buyers? You do it through networking. They won’t remember meeting you 3 months ago, at the church and discussing your services. You need to stay in touch and offer value so that it pays off in the long run. Send friendly reminders, offer discounts, arrange meet ups, have giveaways to attract your contacts and have them talking about you.
The success of any relation depends upon effective communication. If you talk to your customers more often, you get real life feedback about what you should be doing and how you should do it. Communicate earlier than you think is necessary. If you are planning to launch a product and hope to guide your buyers after the launch, then you are wrong. You need to talk to them prior to the launch and keep them posted. Create a hype and build curiosity through the messages you are sending them via various mediums. The biggest mistake people make is that they don’t follow up. If you meet someone at an event and he understands where your business is headed to and coming from, then consider it your duty to talk to him after you get home. Never underestimate the value of effective communication. Even a formal hello or some warm regards can work magic for you when it comes to earning valuable feedback and long term liability.
In a world jam-packed with products and services from various brands, it’s impossible for the buyers to remember you if you are not in touch with them. All your networking contacts have the potential to turn to serious buyers if you take them along well.
People may tell you that the days of email marketing over and it’s a new world altogether. However, that is not the case, an email list is your strongest business asset that you can cash forever. The importance of email marketing for any brand is undeniable. You can build your reputation as a market leader by giving free insights and updates of the latest trends. And it doesn’t cost you a dime!
Seriously, what does it take to just send a simple hello or a short newsletter about your recent posts? Don’t give them everything in the email, but give them enough to hook them. Talk about the benefits of buying from you, the new features and how they solve problems for your customers. Give advice, tips and suggestions for free so that your customers want to hear more often from you. You have the chance to reach your customer straight to his inbox, why waste it?
The best part is that if your email contains valuable insights, prospects will forward to their friends who share the same interests. This is a cost effective and easy way more like word of mouth marketing.
If you wish to build better customer relationships, remember the golden rule of business,
“Give to Get”
A study conducted by Bain and Co showed a 25-100% increase in profits only by increasing a 5% in retention. Whenever you reward your customers and give them some irresistible offer, the pay back is much higher than you spent. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your customers feel valued. If customers get a coupon, a special event invite or even good advice, from the brand they love, they definitely feel more affiliated and wanted. If you keep selling and never reward those who buy from you, your competitors will start rewarding them, and that is the last thing in the world you want.
A loyal customer is the best sales rep ever. Make the best use of your strong asset and experience significant boost in your sales. You can use modern tools that are cost effective and easy to operate to stay connected with your customers. You can find online tools for email marketing to send updates and insights to your network. You can promote affiliate programs and allow a commission so that customers are more likely to share them. Referral programs and discounts are another great way of increasing brand engagement and customer loyalty. If you stay in consistent touch with your buyers, they are more likely to recommend you to others.
If SEO is about building quality backlinks, then business is all about building better customer relationships. Work on increasing your loyal base and watch your sales go crazy.