We all want our existing customers that already know and love us to come back quicker, spending more. But what really makes your customers come back again and again?
It’s worth paying attention to because if you understand why they return, you can influence them to return more often.
Loyal Customers Are Your Lifeblood
Repeat customers are the lifeblood of any business. Without it, you can’t maintain a consistent flow of income, and your business will eventually dry up and die. You need new customers too, but your existing customers already know you, like you, and they trust you.
It’s easier and cheaper to convince them to return again and influence their buying decisions. Repeat customers are 9 times more likely to convert than first-time buyers (Adobe Digital Index). Your business growth depends on a steady flow of regular, repeat, and frequent customers.
Relying on the assumption that they’ll return on their own isn’t smart. We’ve all purchased from a small business and then failed to return again. It’s human nature.
Life gets busy; it’s not on the route home, a friend recommends somewhere else – but what it really comes down to is that we simply forget. The business didn’t do anything wrong, they just didn’t do anything to encourage me or remind me to return, and they just fell off the radar screen.
This is why having customer retention strategies in place is essential. Otherwise, your customer pool diminishes over time, and it’s impossible to find enough new potential customers to make up for them.
So what creates repeat business? What makes them return again? Many factors contribute to customers returning time and again, but there are three primary drivers:
1. Quality of Product or Service
First and foremost, customers return because they’re happy with what they’ve received. This is what I call “the minimum to play.” Whether it’s a high-quality product that meets their expectations or excellent customer service that exceeds their expectations, customers will keep coming back if you can deliver on your promises. If you can’t, they won’t.
And the only thing great marketing will do for a poorly run business is put you out of business that much quicker.
As an independent business owner, the added benefit is that you are deeply rooted in your local community. You probably sponsor little league teams, participate in local charity events, be in the local parade, and support other small businesses. When customers feel like they’re part of the community, they’re more likely to stick with the companies that support them.
2. Connection to the Customer
Customers want to feel like they’re more than just a number or a paycheck to you. They want to feel like you actually care about them as people. That’s why building a connection with your customers is so important – it helps them feel appreciated and valued. Customers who feel like you care about them are more likely to return.
Small businesses are often run by people who know their customers by name. You offer a more personal experience, which can’t be found at large chain stores. Plus, small businesses are typically located in convenient areas where customers live or work. This makes it easy for them to do business with you without going out of their way.
3. Fun and Engaging Marketing
Finally, customers are more likely to return when your marketing is fun and engaging. Rather than being pushy or sales-y, you have the opportunity to focus on content that’s entertaining and interesting – and directed at their needs and interests, and experiences. This will help connect with them further and make them more likely to respond.
Design your marketing to encourage your existing customers, especially those who have JUST spent money with you, to take a specific action, like making a purchase again in a set period. This type of marketing is more affordable than traditional advertising methods because you control who it goes to and when it will bring on more sales.