I was out walking the dogs the other day, when I spotted the sun shimmering on some early spring blossom. I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo on my phone…and that’s when it struck me. How often do we miss the small details of everyday life because we’re too busy looking at the bigger picture? And why is it the small details, like the first signs of spring, which bring us the most pleasure?
Small and micro businesses often grumble that they can’t compete with big businesses with multi-million pound marketing budgets and big brand names. But one advantage small businesses do have over the big brands, is the ability to reach out directly to their customers. Most small and micro businesses will have direct contact with both existing and potential customers, whether that’s face-to-face, through social media, over the phone or via email.
But are you making the most of this direct access? Can you reach out to every one of your customers to improve your relationship with them without spending a fortune on marketing?
Five tips to help you R.E.A.C.H them better that won’t break the marketing budget:
Research. In a small business you probably know your customers personally, so you are in an excellent position to really get to know them. Take some time to observe and learn about their purchasing habits. Find out what they do, what they’re interested in, which demographic they fit in, why they chose to buy from you, what they buy, when they buy. Is there a pattern to their purchases? Are there similarities between customers? Can you use their behaviour to predict times when they might want to purchase? Or find other customers with similar characteristics?
Engage. Draw them into conversation, connect with them on Social Media or add them to your email database. Establish a rapport. Find a common interest. Share your business expertise. Give them some advice. Help them choose the best product/service to meet their needs.
Attend. Add some depth and detail to the information you’ve already collected. Find out and remember their name, their interests, what they’re looking for, the names of partners, children, pets…whatever is relevant to your business. Don’t just rely on your memory. Build a database, set up a Customer Relationship Management System or just keep a notebook and log the details.
Charm. Make them feel special. Offer them something extra…a discount, a special deal, or an extra service. Keep a record of what works best with each customer, or type of customer.
Hook. Once they’ve made a purchase, give them a reason to come back and make another. Tell them about a new product, service or promotion that is coming soon. Offer an incentive. Invite them to join a loyalty scheme. Make sure they know about other products or services they might be interested in. Let them know they’re important and just how much you appreciate their business.
And finally…remember it’s the small details that can turn a casual purchaser into a loyal customer.