7 Ways to Keep Your Customers Coming Back for More
Sometimes we can get so caught up in trying to gain new customers that we actually forget about our current customers. Having your customers coming back time and time again is a good way to run, and even grow, your custom apparel business. Gaining new customers is actually more expensive than keeping your current ones. Of course, we always need to continue to gain new customers, but it is important that when we do gain a new customer, we get them to stay a customer.
This practice of getting a customer to stay a customer is known as retention marketing. Retention marketing is simply marketing techniques to keep your current customers coming back for more, time and time again.
In a previous blog post, we mentioned 10 marketing ideas for your t-shirt business on a budget. We included a bonus tip at the end quoting Walt Disney:
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”
This is retention marketing in a quote. Walt Disney hit it dead on. When your customers love what you do, they will continue to buy from you, along with bringing others to you, too.If your customers love what you do, they will continue to buy from you, bringing others, too. Click To Tweet
As mentioned above, it is more expensive to gain a new customer than when a current customer buys again. You spend money on advertising and marketing to gain these new customers. How many times will they purchase? If it is only once or twice, then your marketing and advertising dollars are going to have a lower ROI. However, if a customer continues to buy from you order after order, then the value of this customer increases with a longer term profitability.
So how are some ways to retain your customers?
We’ll start out with the obvious – good customer service. This should be a no-brainer, but we’ll include it anyway because it is so important. Offering full support to customers in a friendly way will create a positive experience for them. If a customer feels they are treated well, then they will come back to support your business again.
Another way to keep your customers coming back is to start a loyalty program. A loyalty program rewards customers for their repeat business. This can take on several forms. Some businesses use a punch card. Every time a customer purchases, a card is punched. Once the customer reaches a certain amount of punches, they receive a reward of some sort. Other forms of a loyalty program come in receiving credits toward a future purchase after so much money is spent. Another option is a paid membership with “members only” benefits. All of these options encourage customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
You would be surprised how many people will refer their friends and family members if you just ask. If someone is satisfied with their purchase, they will recommend it to others, especially when asked about it. Use this to your advantage by combining this with a coupon. For example, if they refer a friend, they will receive 10% off their next order. Not only does this get you an additional customer, it gets your original customer to come back for another order!
People like to do business with people they know or have done business with before. While talking with your customers, many times side conversations can begin. After the customer leaves, jot down a few things you may have talked about that dealt with the order and also things that they may have brought up as a side conversation. Next time they come in and you pull up their account, you can see what you talked about. Not only do you have information about their order, you can casually bring up something that you had talked about previously, such as their son playing in an All-Star game. You can ask how the game went. They will be impressed that you remembered. This brings me to my next point – keep an account with records.
Keep Records of Orders
At the place I like to go get my haircut, they keep information stored in the computer on how I like it cut. When I arrive and they check me in, they know right away and repeat to me what I got last time. That way I don’t have to explain each time how I like my hair cut, even if it’s a different person cutting my hair each time.
Keeping order records is an extra level of customer service that goes above and beyond. This can apply to your custom apparel business, too. For example, when an organization comes in to order for their annual fundraiser, they may ask you, “How many of each size did we get last year?” You can have that information right there. If they ask you for a color recommendation, you can look at what they have done previously, whether they want something similar or something completely different than before. Having this information on hand makes repeat orders fast and easy, and keeps it convenient for customers.
Create a Brand
People like to buy from brands that they relate to and that stand for something they believe in. A brand is not just a logo, but a whole identity for a company. We wrote more about this topic in a previous post, A Quick Brand Guide for Lasting Results. Summed up, when people connect with brands that resonate with them, they will continue to buy from that business.
Stay in touch with your customers. This can be through an email newsletter or connecting on social media. You could even ‘wow’ them by sending them a hand written birthday card! As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”. By staying in communication with your customer list, you are letting them know that they matter to you and want them to come back. Loyal customers like to know what is new and if you have any deals or sales going on. Lure them back into your store for additional purchases with an incentive. Your communication doesn’t have to be extremely frequent, but enough that they will remember you when they have an order.
When trying to develop more business for your custom t-shirt business, don’t forget about the potential of your current customers. They have already bought from you, so a sales conversion will be much easier and cheaper than acquiring new customers. Keep them coming back to you by building relationships and through incentives like a customer loyalty program.