ASK SCORE by Dean Swanson
With the start of the new year, how can a CEO grow the business in 2022? First, focus on retaining existing customers and then consider loyalty strategies a small business can use to attract and retain new customers.
Brett Farmiloe, a SCORE Resource Partner, is the founder and CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company that connects small businesses with customers through organic search. He enjoys turning insights from small business owners into quality articles for brands. I will share what I found out when he asked successful small businesses about their experience.
To help small businesses retain existing customers and attract and retain new ones, we asked marketing professionals and business leaders to provide their insights. Here are some suggestions.
Prioritize excellent customer service. Providing excellent customer service is a brand loyalty strategy that you should implement if you haven’t already. Especially with regard to dentures, if there is a problem or concern, it must be addressed quickly. As it is about quality of life, our patients deserve more. We earn our patients’ trust through timely responses and actions to ensure their satisfaction and comfort, and this leads them to recommend us to others. – Henri Babichenko, European Center for Dentures
Create valuable online resources. When you know your audience and the people you serve well, you understand their needs in a way that encourages long-term customer relationships and loyalty. As a parenting agency, we provide comprehensive online resources for pregnant women considering adoption as well as families hoping to adopt. In our case, we provide detailed information about the adoption process and support for each individual due to their different needs. By focusing on providing valuable resources that truly help your customers or the people you serve, you can nurture strong, loyal relationships. – Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Create an unforgettable first experience. To earn brand loyalty, it is important to give your customers a first and memorable experience with your brand. We all know a happy customer is the best customer; So be sure to provide hands-on customer support to make their experience with your brand a positive one. Send personalized thank you letters that show your appreciation for their business, then follow up with them to make sure they’re satisfied with your service or product. Even if they aren’t, by providing them with exceptional customer support and listening to their feedback, they may want to come back in the future to give you a second chance. – Greg Gilman, MuteSix
Upholding the commitment to good corporate citizenship. Today’s consumers are smarter and more discerning than ever before in history. Businesses are expected to make and stick to commitments as good citizens. The loyalty strategy that has the longest validity and the most impact is through social impact programming and responsible business leadership. By focusing efforts on altruistic actions, collaborative approaches and on the general improvement of society, companies can gain a brand loyalty that can last a lifetime. Companies that continue these efforts as a central tenant of their culture reap the greatest benefits versus those that attempt to leverage corporate responsibility as a strategy for short-term gains. – Tyler Butler, 11Eleven Consulting
Promote user generated content. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide a great way to encourage customer interaction through User Generated Content (UGC). When you receive a new customer review, create an engaging post or story on your social media that highlights your new customer to make them feel part of your business and put them in the spotlight! – Amit Raj, the links man
Use referral programs. Small businesses can use referral programs to increase customer loyalty by providing a small incentive for referrals. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool, and a referral program helps you expand its reach. – Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel LLC
Partnership with micro-influencer. Partnering with micro influencers and using them as a brand ambassador is the best way to attract and retain new customers. Influencers can reach a larger target audience than a brand can usually, even when they promote posts and focus on a specific type of consumer. Influencers can sell your product in a unique and innovative way that grabs the attention of others, and shows potential customers their passion for the brand. When working with an influencer, offer a loyalty discount to attract new customers as well, specifically for this demographic. This shows followers that their business is appreciated and can lead to returning customers in the future. – Lance Herrington, UNICO Nutrition
Include the freebie. While it may seem counterintuitive to give something away for free, countless studies have shown that the ROI is there. Giving the consumer something risk-free, never out of pocket is a surefire way to get them in the door knowing what they’re all about. It is a relatively small customer acquisition cost to increase traffic and in return, you can earn brand loyalty for years to come. – Alexa Renoso, North American Mosaic
Dean Swanson is a Certified Volunteer SCORE Guide and former SCORE Chapter President, District Manager, and Regional Vice President for the Northwest Region.