Every business—no matter the size or industry—experiences periods that are busier than others. Whether you’ve just finished out end-of-year holiday sales, killed it during the leadup to Valentine’s Day, finished taxes for your clients or had an influx of back-to-school sales, now’s the time to turn those seasonal shoppers or clients into regulars.
Of course, cross-selling, sending out coupons and focusing on going above and beyond with service and support are effective and essential. But, if you really want to keep those newbies coming back, you have to make a concerted effort to stay on their minds to stay in their wallets.
Welcome them aboard with an email, then pull them in
You’re probably already using email marketing to keep in touch with your regulars. That same marketing method is perfect for developing a lasting relationship with new customers. The following series of emails will help do just that.
Craft a welcome email for new seasonal customers. Welcome emails average an open rate of 42%. If worded strategically, they plant the seeds in new customers that, when nurtured properly, can turn them into repeat shoppers. Instead of pushing for sales with coupons or promos, share your brand’s story and message first. Remember: Seasonal shoppers typically hit up a new store or service provider because they need something. Not because they’re really interested in the brand itself. Once you have that sale, it’s time to follow up and tell them exactly who you are and what you provide.
Invite them to join your loyalty program. This is the point where you want to offer an incentive for signing up (like a coupon code or free gift with purchase). If you have the data available, personalize the offer by relating it to what the customer purchased from you during the seasonal rush. Are you a business accountant who just helped clients finish up their year-end reports or yearly taxes? Offer a discount on your monthly services or help with fine-tuning their budgets.
Send out regular announcements regarding products and/or sales they might be interested in. This is where you need to watch yourself. If you constantly land in a new customer’s inbox with information that doesn’t pertain to them, you’ll have a slew of unsubscribes. When a female customer’s last purchase was a large order of toddler clothes, promoting teen styles probably isn’t relevant. Keep these sales-heavy emails as focused and tailored as possible.
Interested in more information on loyalty programs and email marketing? Check out these Biz.me posts:
- A beginner’s guide to MailChimp
- The art of subject lines: increase open rates, maximize email campaigns
- 11 winning automated email ideas
- Making a customer loyalty program work for your small business
Engage them on social media
Throughout your busy season, you probably paid close attention to your social media accounts to drum up sales and keep customers engaged and satisfied. Don’t go radio silent after the season is over.
Ask followers to leave reviews. You just had a ton of new people try out your brand, so ask for fresh feedback. Just make sure you respond to as many reviews as possible (the bad and the good). Talking through bad reviews alleviates dissatisfaction and shows you care, while responding to good reviews encourages other satisfied customers to leave feedback.
Keep scheduling those regular posts. Again, you can’t just take a break from social media because you’re taking a breather with business. Use all available tools, like social media schedulers and content curation products, to keep followers engaged.
Find your new customers on social media. You should have their names and general location, so track them down and follow them. This not only encourages them to follow you back, but lets them know that you’re involved and proactive.
Looking for more ways to leverage social media and keep followers engaged? Check out these Biz.me posts:
- Streamline your social media presence with these 5 tools
- Getting sassy on social media (without putting your foot in your mouth)
- Get them talking: engagement = brand awareness
- 9 inspired ways to boost your Instagram feed
- Dive into the conversation: a guide to marketing, networking and cultivating relationships on Twitter
- Marketing and selling on the world’s largest social media platform
Ramp up that content marketing
This tactic goes hand-in-hand with email and social media marketing. Prioritize creating a strong mix of original content and curated content, posting everything to your website. Then, use it as fodder for emails while promoting it on social media. Keep a close eye on what your customers want, be it helpful, entertaining or heart-felt; but, mix things up so they don’t get bored.
The helpful. Put together videos, blog posts and/or social media posts that help customers solve problems or get even more out of your products or services. You don’t have to write everything yourself. If you’re a jewelry retailer, find a well-crafted post from an expert on jewelry care and cleaning and include a link in your newsletter while promoting it on social media. Notice a fair number of customers have the same question about one of your products? Write up a blog post explaining the issue and its resolution.
The entertaining. No matter how serious your industry is, most people love a little entertainment. Do plenty of research into what your base and target demographic are interested in and include a bit of fun in your content marketing. This shows off your brand’s voice and helps to temper the more sales-focused posts and emails.
The heart-felt. Whether it’s a fun behind-the-scenes look at your brand or sharing customer stories, personalizing your brand and showing that you’re listening to who your customers are is an essential part of any content strategy.
Want even more information on content marketing? Check out these Biz.me posts:
- The basics: developing a content marketing strategy
- Not a writer or graphic artist? You can still make shareable content
- The ultimate guide to promoting your best content
- Recycle, repurpose, repromote: getting the most out of your existing content
- 9 tips to make every word count
- Video is taking marketing by storm—here’s how to get started
- Content curation 101: find, share and turbo-charge your content marketing
Offer a lending hand and reach out for check-ins
Being proactive with customer care and staying in tune with your base is the customer retention tactic that really wins today’s consumers over. Offer help before problems arise and regularly conduct research to keep improving products and coming up with new ones. Yes, you’ll probably use social media and email for this method as well. But, phone calls, talking to customers in store and even traditional mail provide alternative methods for being hands-on with customer care.
Offer help before a customer leaves a complaint. One of the primary things that make seasonal customers turn elsewhere is issues with a product or service. The problem is, many brands wait until they hear about a problem instead of reaching out first. To customers, this misstep translates to a disengaged company that isn’t worth repeat business. Instead, contact customers to see if they have any questions about a product, need instructions on assembly or want information on caring for a product or utilizing a service.
Make your contact information ultra-clear. Sometimes, you can’t anticipate exactly what a customer might need. For example: If you’re selling clothing, sending a customer garment care instructions doesn’t make sense. After all, that’s right on the tag. In this case, make sure that customers have plenty of ways to reach you should they have an issue. A thank you email or postcard that lists multiple ways to get in touch is perfect for getting ahead of any unknown issues.
Get ample feedback with surveys. Whether you call a client to see how satisfied they are or create a full-fledged survey campaign promoted via mail, email and social media, asking for specific feedback helps keep your brand in tip-top shape and plan for future growth ideas. Plus, it also shows you’re listening.
Need more ways and instructions on how to be proactive with customer care and feedback? Check out these Biz.me posts:
- 5 tried-and-true ways to improve customer satisfaction
- Elevate customer support with these tips
- Welcome to the future: automating customer service and engagement with Facebook chatbots
- Is customer relationship management software right for my company?
- Improve your products and grow with market research
- Customer testimonials: Going beyond positive reviews
- Using negative feedback to your advantage
When you combine these ideas with your standard targeted marketing campaigns, you have the best chance at dramatically increasing your roster of regulars. And if you’re interested in even more customer retention strategies, or a deeper dive on the value of prioritizing customer retention, read through these Biz.me posts next: