Stop Searching! Your Best Customer is the One in Front of You

Stop Searching! Your Best Customer is the One in Front of You | Kathy Ennis | LittlePiggy

Know and Nurture Your Customers

We live in a review-before-purchase culture (think about Tripadvisor, Amazon etc.) with customers who want to feel nurtured and part of a community. Word of Mouth is becoming Word of Mouse:

  • 80% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 74% of people rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions
  • 55% of people share purchases on social networks

[Source: Fedelta & BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2016]

Identifying, finding and keeping customers is the basis of marketing and the marketing theory you will find in many textbooks tells you that you need to “feed your funnel”; the process of constantly feeding lots of prospects and leads into the top of a very wide funnel in the hope that you will convert some of them into customers and, providing you deliver more than a half decent service, you will expect to keep a few of them as a source of regular, repeat business. So with this method you go from the many to the few.

This process does work, but for the smaller and micro business it’s incredibly time consuming and, without robust processes and systems it is really difficult to manage. However, the business world is changing in a great way for the smaller business.

Consider these questions…

Q: Who is closer to their customer base – the large organisation or the small or micro business?

A: The small or micro business

Q: Who will find it easier to engage with their customers on a one-to-one basis – the large organisation or the small or micro business?

A: The small or micro business

Q: Who should be taking that marketing funnel and turning it on its head; bringing in fewer, higher quality customers who feel nurtured and engaged – the large organisation or the small or micro business?

A: The small or micro business

In his book Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Find New One Joe Jaffe coined the phrase “retention is the new acquisition”; the need for small and micro businesses on engaging with their current customers as a very cost-effective way of encouraging repeat business and as a method of finding more customers.

Flip the Funnel | Engagement Marketing | Kathy Ennis | LittlePiggy

So, why is putting some love into nurturing your current customers so important? It’s not only because you like them, there are a number of very strong, ‘bottom-line’ reasons:

  1. It costs six or seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one
  2. The average spend on re-purchase by existing customers is 67% higher than the initial purchase
  3. After 10 purchases your customer has already referred you and your services to at least 7 other people

Close-proximity, customer engagement is essential for the small and micro business because putting some love into your customer relationships will definitely lead to more sales.

Amplify Your Message Via Engagement

Selling is the art of listening; listening to the expressed needs or problems expressed by your customers or prospective clients and offering them a solution.

Basically, a sale is the result of your great customer service. Therefore, your job as a small or micro business owner is to:

  • Ensure you are close to your customers
  • Know how to make your customers happy
  • Be as responsive to your customers as possible
  • Ensure your customers receive a very personalised experience

You want your customers to come back and buy from you again and again. Not only because it is more expensive to attract new clients than it is to encourage repeat custom, but also because repeat custom shows you are doing a good job, have created a relationship with those returning customers and that you are likely to be attracting new customers via previous clients referrals, recommendations and online reviews.

In order to make this happen you need to implement the ‘Engagement Cycle’

The Engagement Cycle

The Engagement Cycle | Kathy Ennis | LittlePiggy

Stage One is the WOW – the initial interaction or sale where you wow your customer with great service.

Stage Two is the follow-up. This should be a series of interactions that entice your customers to stay in touch. This can include:

  • Regular communications – e.g., thank-you cards, newsletters, emails, social media etc.
  • Staying front of mind of your customers – e.g., Facebook Groups, loyalty and referral schemes etc.
  • Providing them with information that they will find helpful, interesting and informative

Stage Three is to include a series of engagement activities:

  • Include them in offers, promotions and discounts
  • Get them involved in discussions
  • Ask them to take part in surveys and polls
  • Invite them to special events etc. etc.

 [“Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World” – Gail F Goodman, 2012]

One really important thing to bear in mind – make sure you measure what you are doing and do more of what worked 

The outcome of this cycle should be:

  • Your customers will come back for more
  • Your customers will write great review and testimonials
  • Your customers will share your social media output on their channels to their friends and contacts
  • Your customers will interact and engage with you
  • Your customers will refer you to their connections and their circles

You should be aiming for customers that are so blown away by your service that they become your advocates, champions and chief referral agents; which will create even more customers and a more profitable business.

I would love to know what methods you use to engage with your customers that keeps them coming back for more. Please share in the comments box below.