Generating repeat customers and referrals is the most effective, affordable way to build your business. It costs very little to keep a customer and solicit referrals compared to other marketing techniques. Further, repeat and referral customers require less work to convert to a sale because they’re already conditioned to like you. That’s why all marketing plans should include strategies for encouraging repeat and referral business.
One strategy to generate repeat customers and referrals is through follow-up. Follow-up marketing tactics work by keeping your name in front of your customers, clients and prospects, so when they’re in need or know someone in need of your services, your name comes to mind. Here are some strategies for developing a follow-up marketing plan.
1. Have an email list or newsletter. Despite overfilled inboxes and spam, email is still an effective way to share information and special deals with your customers and prospects. Give an incentive for email list sign-ups, such as a report, video tutorial, consultation or other free, yet valuable, resource.
2. Create a mailing list for clients and customers. Email is fast, easy and affordable, but it doesn’t have the same punch as a personalized letter or card. This list isn’t about generic direct mail campaigns, but instead, about adding a personal touch to your contact with clients or customers who have bought products or services from you.
3. Ask for as much information as tolerable by your clients and customers. Many people don’t want to give you too much personal information; however, having a phone number or birthday can give you additional opportunities to stay in touch.
4. Track orders and dates. Thanking a customer on the anniversary of their first purchase or following up to see how the customer is doing with a new product is a powerful way to generate repeat business.
5. Strive to have a personal contact at least once every 30 days. A personal contact goes beyond an email newsletter or social media. It’s about reaching out, checking in, or following up. Personal contacts have the most positive effect if done in person, by phone or a snail mailed card. Examples of personal contacts include calling to see how the customer is doing with the new products, inviting a client out for coffee or sending thank you notes on your client/customers anniversary of their first purchase from you.
Email and social media go a long way to keep your clients and customers informed, but occasional personal contact makes clients and customers feel that you value them, and as a result they are more likely to buy again and refer others to you. A systematized follow-up plan keeps your business in their minds and builds good will that leads to repeat and referral business.
Leslie Truex is a contributor to the Personal Branding Blog. Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifesyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.