April 23, 2019

I don’t know a small business owner who wouldn’t like to see their customers visit (and buy) more often.

In this post we are going to talk about Repeat Business.

There are all kinds of statistics to support the fact that marketing to your existing customers is both easier and more productive than finding a new customer. Most recently the numbers that I have seen quoted are 5x easier and 5x more effective.

If you were the only business that had thought to stay in touch with your customers and reward their loyalty, you would be a god or goddess.

But you are not, so you are going to have to do this “well and consistently “.

The exercise for creating this part of your plan, is the same as what you did for New Customers. Decide on 1-3 things, that you can do well and consistently and enter them into the Repeat Business section of your Marketing Action Plan.

But maybe the tone or context has changed…. for the better. Remember, way back, when we talked about the power of Dialogue vs Monologue? Well you’re there…. the conversation has started and has been consummated with a sale.

Your customers will be impressed if you can continue that dialogue…. and disappointed if you revert to a monologue.

Like so many of the things that we will talk about, there is really no right or wrong way to do this.
But for the purposes of getting your arms around this and deciding on your actions, I suggest you think about it in 3 different ways.

1. Start by reviewing the transactions you are already having with your customers.

  • Compare what actually happened during the sale to how you imagined it would go.
  • This is really an exercise in deciding if this customer is (or could be) one of your Best Customers.
  • Identify, the part of your Right Message was the motivation for them to buy from you.
  • So much of what we do as small businesses owners is education. So, what I am encouraging you to do here is review the education that has taken place so far, and decide what the next lesson will be.
  • If you notice that there is a particular part of your Right Message that never gets covered, during the typical transaction. A good “action” might be to write a script that puts that into the dialogue.
  • Or, you could, use this, missing element, as the core of your follow-up message and a bridge to your next dialogue and transaction.

2. Say thank you.

  • Everybody likes to know that they are appreciated. A sincere thank you is the simplest way to show your appreciation.
  • There are, any number of, ways to follow-up with a thank you – phone, mail, email. I would pick the one(s) that are most manageable for you and most noticed by your “best customer”
  • If you create a way to “personalize” your thank you (note in the margin, merge fields, or a portion of each message that you write for each customer etc.) you will make it all the more powerful…. and create a way to suggest the next topic in your dialogue.
  • One of the Franchisees, in our system, has had a “Thank You Note Program” in her business since day one.
  • Over the years that program has evolved from handwritten and mailed, email, a phone call and now Send Out Cards.
  • Today 65% of her business is repeat business and jumps in to the 80s when you include the business that her existing customers refer to her.
  • There just isn’t a week that goes by that they don’t make a sale that is directly linked to their Thank You program.

3. Encourage Loyalty

  • Your customers are special, that’s how you treat them, and it doesn’t hurt from time to time to remind them of that.
  • There are, any number of, ways to encourage loyalty. You see them in many places in our society…. reward points, gift cards, cash back, discounts.
  • Lots of businesses do what you do but no one does it the way you do.
  • Your willingness to build a relationship can set you apart.

If you are not typically the low cost provider, your customers can get wooed to the competitors based on price.

  • Sometimes that is the right decision for them and we should let them go.
  • The “value” we provide to our customers is based on a combination of things.
  • Order completed On-time…. or early.
  • Job done right.
  • Products available when the customer needs them.
  • Quality imprint/graphic
  • Timely response to customer’s questions/concerns.
  • Competitive price.

That’s a lot to insert into any one dialogue.

In fact, it’s only going to be heard if we talk about it when the customer is ready to hear it – at the front counter, in a weekly blog, through featured products or an occasional sale.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the actions in the Repeat Business section of our Customer Action Plan to address that.

Your mission now, is to create 1-3 actions that speak to your existing customers.

Those actions should – thank them for past business, suggest topics for future dialogues (which of course will lead to future sales) or just remind them that you are there when they need you.

Those actions could – happen during the transaction, at the end of the transaction or as a follow-up communication.

Again, if you need ideas, I would again suggest Jay Conrad Levinson’s 200 Guerrilla Marketing Weapons.


Gagan Bhathal, Area Developer for Instant Imprints