Originally appeared on Xerox Small Business Solutions.
By Rieva Lesonsky
In their eagerness to attract new customers, small business owners often forget the value of existing customers. But focusing on current customers, and working to upsell and retain them, can boost your business as much as attracting new ones—at a much lower cost. Here are seven ideas to help you market to your existing customers and increase your sales.
1. Engage with customers on social media
A strong social media presence is essential for building and maintaining relationships with your current customers. Take advantage of the two-way nature of social media. Start by listening to what your customers are saying about your business, your products and services, your competitors and most of all, their needs and problems. Listening carefully will give you ideas for new ways to serve your customers and new purchases you can suggest. If customers reach out to you with questions or comments on social media, be sure to answer promptly.
2. Develop helpful information for your customers
Based on what you discover about your existing customers’ needs, create content to help them solve problems, answer questions or do something better. Share your content on your website, in email newsletters and on social media. Maximize its value to you and your customers by sharing content in print form such as white papers or flyers.
3. Offer special promotions to existing customers
New customers often get discounts and deals to lure them to buy. Give your existing customers the same types of benefits. For instance, offer a discount for customers who buy in bulk; who sign up for an “auto-ship” renewal subscription on products that typically need to be reordered, such as toner cartridges or pet food; or who use a credit card and auto-renew their memberships with your business each year. Send colorful direct mail pieces with discounts and other promotions to ensure your marketing stands apart from the mass of mail consumers get every day and successfully captures their attention.
4. Reward customer longevity
Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of your current customers’ data, such as important dates and anniversaries. For instance, on their birthdays or the anniversary of their first purchase with your company, send a thoughtful note or greeting card (ideally with some type of gift or discount to entice spending). These Xerox templates make it simple to create stunning greeting cards for a variety of occasions.
5. Take it offline
In today’s high-tech, no-touch world, personal interaction means a lot. Take time to get together with key clients in person—for a meal, for coffee or for a meeting to check in on how well your products and services are performing for them. Of course, you can call or email your clients to extend the invitation, but it will likely mean more to them (and create more customer loyalty) if you make it personal by sending a printed note. Xerox’s PrintShop Mail Suite helps you create personalized communications, both one-offs and multiples, tailored to the recipient’s needs.
6. Honor them
Celebrate your best customers—those who reach a certain level of spending—with an annual party, luncheon or award banquet for the “Customer of the Year.” Send out invitations to the event (try these Xerox invitation templates) and be sure to tell the local media about it, too. Customers feel special when you treat them like VIPs and will strive to maintain their “exalted” position every year.
7. Give them something to think about
When you meet with current clients, be sure to suggest new products and services that can enhance what they’re already buying from you. Don’t be disappointed if they don’t buy on the spot. If that’s the case, it’s smart to give them some marketing materials as reminders of your new offers. When you use Xerox® ConnectKey® devices, you’ll be able to print in gorgeous color for pieces that get noticed—and remembered. Did you forget to bring your printed marketing materials with you? No problem: Use Xerox® Mobile Print and you can print from anywhere so you can always hand the client a brochure, flyer or spec sheet. (This service also comes in handy when you’re exhibiting at trade shows and need a lot of copies. You’ll save on pricey shipping costs.)
With a strategy that embraces social media, content marketing, direct mail and personal interactions, you’ll find your relationships with customers growing stronger by the day—cementing their loyalty and creating long-term customer relationships.