You work hard to attract qualified buyers. Marketing isn’t inexpensive and can be time-consuming. It’s very discouraging when you spend time and resources landing new clients only to have them stolen by your competitors. Fortunately, there are things you can to keep them from jumping ship in the first place. If they do cross over to another company, you can use to some methods to bring them back.
Only 50% of small businesses survive past the five-year mark in the United States. If you want to be one of the success stories, you must be creative and determined. Pay attention to companies in your industry finding success and repeat their efforts. When your nearest competitor offers a perk, offer something even better. Always go above and beyond for your customers, so you develop a reputation for excellence.
Here are six steps you can take today to keep your customers or bring them back under your business umbrella.
1. Provide Beneficial Resources
Have you ever joined an organization because of the many perks included in a membership? Your customers are no different. They’ll look at the pros and cons of doing business with you versus other brands. You know your customers better than anyone, so think about what pain points drive them to you. Solve their problems, and you’ll develop a loyal following.
One example might be an HVAC company with a lot of elderly customers. Perhaps they can’t service their units or even change air filters regularly. Offering a maintenance plan could be the key to gaining them as fans. You must think through the issues your clients face and the best ways to solve them.
2. Identify Your Top Competitors
It’s difficult to compete against other businesses if you don’t understand who they are and what their attraction is. Spend time researching their marketing methods, mapping areas they serve and figuring out why they’re drawing your customers.
At the same time, consider what areas they don’t serve. Are there any holes in their coverage where you could step in and gain a foothold in the neighborhood? Also, look at what they offer and any gaps that are present. Perhaps they provide fast service but aren’t known for being friendly. Grab the edge by excelling at fast and friendly service.
3. Brand Events
When people can gather in groups, consider hosting or sponsoring brand events. For example, you might have a grand reopening to showcase the new products you’ve received. You could plan a customer appreciation party or an employee recognition ceremony.
If you aren’t in a position to plan a full event, look for opportunities to tag onto what others are doing. Sponsor a local school event in exchange for displaying your banner or giving away promotional goodies. Attend a trade show or community fair and hand out brochures.
4. Ramp up Marketing
When people think about your product or service, you want your brand name to immediately come to mind. If you aren’t instantly recognizable, then you have some work to do on your brand recognition. You may want to try some unique methods, such as cause marketing. Team up with influencers to help get the word out.
Think outside the box and reach as many people in your target audience as possible. Some of the best promotions don’t cost much money but allow your customers to help get the word out.
5. Geotarget Leads
Standard advice to small businesses is to reach the people in your community and then branch out to other areas. E-commerce companies have busted through this model by selling to people around the globe. However, targeting local leads is still one of the best ways of building brand recognition and customer loyalty. People in your community work for you and tell others about what you do. They want to support you because your success means their family member or friend keeps an excellent job.
Perfect your customer service and business culture and then start targeting potential customers in your geographic area. You can do this through social media ads, narrowing the parameters to include specific counties. Further narrow by interest, age and other demographics. You can also advertise on Google and other platforms, seeking only those in a particular location. Once you’ve reached those within a mile radius, branch outward as your business grows.
6. Prepare for Disruptions
No matter what type of business you run, you may experience disruptions. A recent example of an unexpected shock to companies is the COVID-19 shutdowns. Many owners had to shutter their establishments for weeks on end and deal with decreased revenue. Other disruptions might include natural disasters, a competitor stealing most of your clients or a personal tragedy within the business.
Think through different things that might happen to your store and how you would handle such issues. How will you bring customers back after limitations lift? Plan for how you’ll communicate with clients during disruptions. The best approach is a multichannel one where you reach out via phone, SMS, email and social media. The more ways you reach out, the more likely consumers see your efforts to get through the trying period.
How Do You Attract Old Customers Back?
It’s a heart-dropping moment when you realize a competitor keeps raiding your client list. Take a deep breath and ask why the person went to another brand. Are there any complaints on file to give you a clue?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the customer and ask if you can do anything to win them back. You might not always talk each specific person into returning, but you’ll learn why they left in the first place and avoid the same situation with your remaining customers. Who knows — you might improve so much their customers start coming to you.