Simple, Effective Ways to Foster Customer Loyalty
Building a small business that can sustain itself in the long run is a major challenge. However, many first-time entrepreneurs forget to factor customer loyalty into their game plan. It’s easy to assume that customers will naturally attach themselves to your brand over time. Although this is possible, there’s a lot you can do to make that more likely. Stay Humble Hustle Hard has created this guide to help you get - and keep - customers’ attention. Let’s get started:
Make Time for Customer Outreach
As we said above, many entrepreneurs fail to work customer loyalty efforts into their business plan. As a result, there’s a good chance you don’t currently have spare room in your schedule to dedicate to customer outreach. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use to free up some time and make outreach possible.
For example, you can outsource tasks on your to-do list. If you’ve been working for some time trying to figure out how to form an LLC, consider hiring a formation service to do the work for you. Tasks like this one are perfect for outsourcing, because they’re tedious, but relatively foolproof. Look through your to-do list to identify those jobs you can outsource - or even simply delay - to make room for outreach efforts.
Connect With Your Audience
The first step toward building customer loyalty is connecting with your audience. Thanks to the internet and social media, this is easier today than ever before. Using a regular posting schedule and actively engaging with customers when they respond to your posts is a simple and effective way to make yourself part of your audience’s everyday lives.
If you don’t already have a presence on social media, now is the time to create one. These sites are absolutely invaluable for small businesses, since they give you a direct line to your customers. You can DIY your social media approach, or you can look into hiring an employee or contractor to create and implement your digital strategy. Either way, building your online voice will make a big difference for your brand.
Finally, look for ways you can encourage customers to use your business or service repeatedly or, if that’s not relevant to your business model, recommend you to others. Loyalty cards, which reward customers at either a set interval or when they’ve earned a certain number of points, is one of the most common ways to achieve this. However, these are most effective for retail and food-service businesses. If you work in a different industry, you may need to brainstorm ways to apply rewards to your business model.
For example, if you run an IT consultancy, you might decide to offer customers a free follow-up consultation for the work you’ve performed. This gives your clients a chance to adjust to the new protocols, identify any hiccups, and come to you with questions that arise along the way. It also puts you in a position where they get used to turning to you for advice for their IT needs, and gives you the opportunity to suggest and secure future work. Focus on finding ways to keep the conversation going with your customers in order to build the loyalty you’re looking for.
Remember, loyal customers are likely to keep coming back and to recommend you to others in their lives. This makes customer engagement well worth your time as a business owner. We hope this information gets you on the right track to have a happy, committed customer base!
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Vanessa Holwell and her husband, Rick, created HiringSquad.net after losing their jobs during the financial crisis in 2008. The site is designed to be a forum for people to share advice on how to get hired, provide job search resources, and give you the tools you need to get the job you want.