What do you think costs you more: to find new customers or to retain existing ones? The answer is pretty obvious. Actually, to get new clients, it could be from 6 to 7 times more expensive than to retain customers. But, why is that? First of all, because of the amount of resources you use to attract a new customer from money to man power. Second, because there’s from 5-20% probability of selling to a new client, compared to the probability of 60-70% of selling to someone who is already your client.
This doesn’t mean that you should totally neglect getting more clients. However, it means that you should make sure you build a proper customer experience from the first time a prospect interacts with your business until they make a purchase, and until you create a loyal relationship with your customer. So let’s talk about 5 things your can do to find new customers, and 5 things you can do to retain customers.
How to find new customers
Know who is your target audience
There is no way you can know how to get new clients, if you don’t know who you are selling your products to. You created a business that solves a problem for a certain kind of person, who is that person? Define their gender, age, location, preferred activities, family role, daily life behaviors, etc. You have to build a buyer persona of your customers, not only for the early stage of your interactions with them. It will also help you understand how to make their customer journey worthwhile.
If you already have some customers, you can take a look at who they are and what they do. You can even talk to them, so you get more insights about how your customers behave and what is it that they like about your business.
Even though you might not have an online business, having a presence in the digital world can help you bring in more clients to your business. As we have discussed before, 81% of shoppers conduct an online research before deciding on making a big purchase, and 51% of the smartphone users claim to have discover a new company while searching through their phones. So, if you still don’t have a website set up, or a way for people to know about your business through digital platforms, you might be falling behind already.
Also, this can help you later on to improve the service you offer to your clients and retain customers very easily, as you will be reachable at anytime, anywhere.
Advertising is a wide topic, as there’s a lot of ways and channels to do it. Choose the ones that will be more relevant for your business and of course your potential customers, also taking into consideration your budget.
Craft a message that will not only attract customers but that will also present the value of your business. Advertising can go from a simple poster on the streets, to a whole local T.V. campaign, to running some Ads on Facebook.
With the information you gathered from the research you did to your potential clients, create your advertisement plan defining the message, channel, audience, budget and the materials you will need for the flyer, radio spot, or Facebook campaign you decide to run.
Sometimes being friends with someone who shares market with your business is not a bad idea. This doesn’t mean you have to go to your competitor and start a partnership. However, it means that you could find another business or organization that somehow complements the product or service you are offering and that most likely will have the same kind of customers you need.
Being able to create this kind of relationship can give you access to a whole lot of people you haven’t reach before and somehow also have the problem your business is solving.
Make a research around your area or the field of your business, and try to spot those other companies or organizations with whom you could build a partnership, it could be for sales or for advertisement, whatever you feel is suitable. Don’t be scare to negotiate and create a win-win deal with this business. In the long run, having partnerships can also help you build brand trust within your consumers.
Affiliates and referrals
What’s best than having your own customers referring their friends to your business? Creating an affiliate or referral program in your business can be a good idea to keep bringing new customers.
Give some incentive to your current customers for them to refer their friends or colleagues to your business. It could be a special discount, a give away, store credits, etc. Whatever you feel like will motivate them to do this. Besides, of course, a flawless customer service, because it doesn’t matter how much money or free things you give to your current customers, if they have a bad experience with you, they won’t be recommending you.
Which lead us to the second part of this article:
How to retain customers
Be one step ahead
This point can be split in three other ideas:
Set expectations: It is a recommended idea to under-promise but over-deliver. Inform your customers with honesty about what kind of service they can expect from you and always try to go the extra mile. “It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.” So for sure, you don’t want to under-deliver.
Provide useful information: beware of what kind of problems or what kind of questions your customers might have when interacting with your business. Create a help section or a frequent asked questions page in your website, so your potential customers can come and check at any time. That will also save you a lot of time replying to customer support queries.
Be detail oriented: Always thank your customers for purchasing or using your service. From time to time you can award them with a freebie or a discount code. You can also just call them or check up on them via e-mail. They will feel appreciated and feel that you really care about them.
Offer customer support
This is one of the most important points in this list. Offering customer support is key to retain customers, and it’s not only replying to their messages and kind of help them. It means being patient, respectful and actually solve their problems. Take the complaints seriously and act fast to fix the issues with your business, according to Esteban Kolsky, 1 out of 26 users having a bad experience will file a complaint about your service, the rest will just leave.
Customer support should be one of your strongest points, so set rules, KPIs and build your communication platforms as neat as possible for clients to communicate with you as soon as they have a problem.
Be their go-to resource for their needs
Be an expert in your field. If you’re running a craft supplies business, make sure your employees and you know everything there is to know about the crafting world. Most likely, customers or potential customers will come to you whenever they have a question regarding their crafts, and if you’re not able to answer, they might go to some other shop to get the help they need.
Position yourself not only as the number one supplier, but also as the number one source of information for your clients.
Use positive social proof
This can be related to the affiliate and referral point on the first section of this article. Use real life testimonies of people who already use your product or service, ask them for a review. As mentioned before, a lot of people research about a company before buying from them, and most of them take into consideration the review they see from your customers.
It’s always good to have a pool of clients who will always say good things about your business, you can use them to build trust within those people that are still not convinced.
Create a healthy employee environment
If you take care of your employees, your employees will take care of your customers. Create a healthy and friendly environment in your work place. The vibe in the people who work for your business, can be transmitted to your customers.
Make your employees feel valued and that their work is important. Build trust between them, and get them to connect as a team. This will not only help you to retain your employees, but it will also help you to retain customers, as it will be your employees who interact directly with them.