With the explosion of social networking, combined with the endless reach of the internet, advertising models have become more creative. Gone are the days when marketing could get by on a catchy tag line. Customers no longer pay attention to the self-promoting spiels put out by conglomerates in the retail world. Instead, the paying public turns to peers on the internet, placing trust in the opinions of others.
Businesses today must recognize this trend if they want to succeed. Faced with the knowledge that one disgruntled customer venting fervently online could greatly damage the reputation of your store, you will need to adopt some new marketing practices. With emphasis on rewarding loyal customers, you can attract more shoppers to your store. At the same time, you cultivate an army of avid supporters to do your bidding. Here are some simple ways to encourage your loyal shoppers to do the advertising for you.
These days, most companies have a website and use social media. Making your company easy to connect to is step one. Facebook options such as the ‘like’ and ‘share’ features enable satisfied customers to promote your business with a simple click of a key. But there’s a lot more to it than just making your company easy to interact with.
Use your website to gain insight on your customers as well. Allow your customers the opportunity to create an online profile. In most cases, you have already developed just such a service to encourage and reward loyal shoppers. Now consider taking it a step further. Customers who are rewarded for recommending your product or service will be your strongest and most valuable advertising source. It is time to think creatively about how to reward them for their efforts.
Reward Word of Mouth Marketing
Have employees collect added data at the point of a sale. Ask the customer if this was their first visit to the store. If the shopper indicates that it is, ask them if anyone recommended the store. If in fact, a customer did recommend the company, then have employees add this to the databank. This will point out the hard-working regular that has been busy spreading the word about your company. At the end of every month, customers who have recommended five or more new customers to the store could then receive a discount coupon for their efforts.
Another way to reward customers for promoting your business is to develop a VIP club. These particular shoppers may receive addition discounts during sales, early previews to upcoming specials and even VIP Shopper Only events at the store after hours. Have referral incentives that let customers gain access to these VIP benefits.
Use a Personal Touch to Encourage Customer Raves
Nothing beats good old-fashion customer service. Whether it is via the company website, social media or through Email and text messaging, following up customer comments, complaints and recommendations, is extremely valuable. Incorporate customer quotes and photographs in any of your company’s websites, blogs and mail outs as this shows that you fully appreciate their patronage. It also increases traffic to your online sites.
By rewarding your enthusiastic customers for promoting your business and creating you more customers, is good practice. So get creative and make your company stand out from the rest.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Jessica Bosari is a personal finance blogger who also writes about small business topics important to Snap’s invoice books printing customers.