Competition is extremely heavy nowadays, and the Internet is no longer an untapped resource of revenue for small businesses, as it once was in the past. With so much competition online already and more coming daily, how do small businesses adapt?
No single correct answer to this question, but one strategy that I believe every small business should consider when dealing with increased competition is repeat business marketing – those strategies focused on generating revenue from current or past customers.
If you're looking for quick, simple and effective ways to generate repeat business in some industry, for example you are a home appliance distributor, the following strategies will serve you well.
1. Make use of the HELP Pages
Although those early days of being successful online simply because a company was one of a few in their niche industry with a website are long gone, 70% of website users now expect a company’s website to include a self-service application according to a survey.
Self-service expectations are high. By creating an effective FAQ, you are making it easy for your customers to buy and keep buying. But that’s not all. An effective FAQ can also help you increase sales, reduce incoming calls and help you build trust.
Keep it in mind that an effective FAQ should be written exactly as you would expect to hear questions and answers in real life between a prospect customer of your home appliance store and a member of your sales team.
Re-targeting is a form of advertising that enables sites to show targeted ads to users who have already visited their site. Past visitors will see these ads while they are browsing the web, watching YouTube videos or reading news sites, for example—keeping your brand top-of-mind and enticing visitors to come back for more.
Using display ad retargeting, you can re-capture attention by ”upselling or downselling” across the marketing funnel and re-engage your audience across the web. This helps you to generate attention and leads by addressing relevant challenges to each stage of the customer journey and helps to reinforce brand messaging.
Users are then served relevant ads as they browse across the web and on social media.
3. Build relationships with a loyalty program
Loyalty programs help keep your brand top of mind for consumers, which is one of the best ways you can reward your VIP customers and win them back.
To carry a loyalty program, to be frank, is to let customers earn cash back on purchases. For example, a customer gets 10 points for every $1 he spends, or once he’s accumulated 100 points, he can redeem them at checkout for $1 off his next order. If he or she buy an expensive product, like refrigerator by $500, then the redemption is attractive.
It may reduce your profit to carry a loyalty program. But compare with the money you’d have to spend to acquire just one new customer, offering customers a 10% discount toward future sales is profitable in the long run.
After a customer makes a purchase, you could send a follow-up email offering 10% of his next order, good for 30 days. Or offer $10 off a $40 purchase. Get creative. You could also include a discount code with each product that you ship.
4. Be diligent with your customer database
This is extremely important. In fact, the biggest asset for most companies long-term is their customer database. So plan for it, protect it, add to it and communicate with it at every opportunity.
Whether it's a letter, a brochure, a frequent buyer's card or an e-mail, make your communication to your database reflect the culture and personality of your business. Make everything represent the core principles of your company vision and mission.
5. Decide what you can promise your customers
Make sure it is something you can deliver consistently each and every time. The basic rule is to "under-promise and over-deliver."
To really stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to deliver on promises and delight customers in the process. The opportunities to inspire and surprise customers are endless! Accepting a return you might not normally take, shipping out a package earlier than expected, and providing information before it’s asked for are all great ways to over-deliver.
Over-delivering on expectations inspires delight and excitement in customers, upping the odds that they’ll come back for more.
Having all of these components driving your repeat business will allow you to develop a great competitive advantage for your company, and it's the foundation for referrals and word-of-mouth advertising, and that form of advertising continues to be the least expensive (and most effective) marketing