Why should you bother with repeat customers?

You don’t need complex CRM’s or sophisticated email marketing systems to get repeat customers. There are plenty of simple ways to get started.

Don’t tell all the other  agencies who love flashy adverts and clever lead generation techniques, but in most business, Repeat Customers are actually much more important than new ones.

Despite the advice given by many industry experts, getting repeat customers is not all about complex CRMs or sophisticated email marketing systems – there are plenty of simple ways you can get started today.

Below, we’ve outlined XX reasons why you should talk to your repeat customers. All these will bring you extra money, at cheaper.

But first, lets work out if its worth your time:

Why Bother?

Great question.

And when we get asked this, we very often answer with, “Perhaps you shouldn’t.” 

Because if you sell cars, or wills, or annual tax returns, then designing and implementing a Repeat Customer Procedure (RCP) would probably not be as profitable as concentrating on referrals.

However, if you are in a retail-based, service-led or web-centric business, then having an effective Repeat Customer Procedure will very quickly produce results.

Here are some other reasons why targeting repeat customers is a very good idea:

1. You’ve already spent the money in finding them. 

Although this seems obvious, when you calculate how much you spent on marketing in the last 12 months, and divide this by the number of new customers who bought, you will likely find that buying a new customer who only buys once, is actually a pretty bad use of your money. A good Repeat Customer Procedure (RCP) will end up saving you cash, but also making a much better return on your marketing investment.

2. It costs less to get them to buy again. 

Not dissimilar to the above point, but if they have bought from you before, its highly likely you have at least one way of getting in touch with them again. Even if it’s by surface mail, then its less than £1 to print & post a letter, and you’re many times more likely to get a customer to buy again using this method than you are by targeting cold processes in a direct mail campaign – yet, as a nation, we spend millions on Direct mail every year. (We have products that will automatically send out templates of letters at pre-pre-programmed intervals for as little as 60p per letter)

3. They complain less and send fewer returns.

First time buyers are the main source of resource-drain in a business both winning the custom and then servicing them. The beauty of repeat customers is that they already know how you operate, and have already agreed and abided by your payment processes, so fewer trust issues stand between them and a sale. Of course, when you get customers who do kick up a fuss, then you can exclude them from receiving further communication  meaning they stay one-time customers, and you quietly develop a source of reliable, easy to manage, repeat customers 

4. They are more likely to refer. 

Even if there wasn’t any research based evidence to back this up, you’d know instinctively, that if you buy again and again from somewhere, you build up trust. Once you build up trust, you are much more likely to refer. Can you rememeber a time when you referred a company having only used them once? 

5. They are more likely to buy more from you. 

This is the other beauty of dealing with people from whom trust has been won. As you probably know, when you are going through the buying process there are usually very definite reasons against buying, and very definite reason FOR buying. However, the balance can be dramatically tipped by adding trust – if you’ve had a good buying experience from this company before, then the trust is already there. When coupled with a cast-iron returns policy, like Amazon & Ikea (did you know you can take any piece of furniture back, no matter how old, and if its defective or breaks they’ll give you refund?), then repeat buying becomes easy for the consumer, and fanatically profitable for you.

So, hopefully you can see now why repeat customer should be part of your overall sales strategy. If you agree with the above, then I think we know what your next questions will be…

How do you get repeat customers?

(are we wrong? Maybe you want to know what tools are essential for this, maybe you want to know the 7 ways to out care your competitors or maybe you want to get started straight away or learn from others?)

How do you get repeat customers?

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In this short article we look at the ways in whcih you can get repeat customers…….

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Repeat Csutomer systems vary wildly in size and sophistication, however they all have 3 basic tools at their very core.

The basic tools you need are:

  • A way to store infomration on your customer. This does not need to be anythng fancy – Excel is fine for the moment. However I would su8ggest you use something computerised as it will make moving to other systems easier in the future). If you already have a CRM then learn how to use it.
  • A way to track a pruchase. I a perfect world this owuld be a feed from an ecommrce system or an EPoS syestems, but if you don;t haver that, don;t worry. Just make a note of who has bought – you can work out whats easierst for your business, but sometimes, crqating a folder or labelling emails can be suedufl mas as you can upload those in bulk once a week.
  • A method of talking to your customers. Most transactions now involve collection of email, but if not, coulkd you implement a system that takes mobile number, or address or twitter name? Don;t expect this info to be mpletely free though – but a voucher that can be redeemed at the next purchase is a great bargaining tool to collect something from them. (Don;t go overboard though – ask for a small amount of data at each step.)

And that’s it. Even the most sphisticated Repeat Customer Systems use these 3 peices as the basis of their systems.  

 

Essential Tools

Sotring information:

  • Excel -its the old favourite, and is so easy to use, that a lot of businesses have built their customer programmes aroujd it. It does lack flecibility, and can become very coplex vbery quickly
  • With Google Docs being completely free (and also allowing multiple people to collaborate) it would be the system of choice for the 

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XX weays to get repeat customers:

    1. A simple thank you. Unberlivably, this alone can prompt a massive response. And we;re not talking about auto-generated emails from ecommerce systems here. We’re talking about a human souonding, non-salesy thank you. If you’re product is high enough value, then why not send a thank you card after each sale? You could write them all in advance and just write int he name fo the customer (same colour and pen, obvisouly!). The trick here is to keep it simple; “Thansk for trusuitng us wiht your business”, not using the card to sell anything else, and to hand-address the envelope. (This is also brilliant at gettign trhough to MDs as it looks very personal).
    2. Automated reminder for repat pucharse. If you product has a life-cycle, where the user will buy it again at some point, then set up an automated reminder to them to buy again. We sell cool little systems that can send out emails, tweets, texts and even letters, automcally and at pre-programmed schedules, but if you jst want to get started, why not use the amazing (and free) nudgemail.com which will send you an email at a certain date (Tip: Simply by ‘cc’ ing nudgemail in on your autopmated ecommerce ‘Thank you’ emails, you’ll get that email sent back to you in a desired timefrane. E.g. if you think your customer could buy every 3 months, just cc ‘3mo@nudgemail.com’ into your ‘thank you’ emaisl and you’ll be reminded in 3 months, along with the customer’s name & email.)
    3. Loyalty Scheme. This doesn;t have ot be as complex as Tesco’s shceme – just a simple card that gets stamped on each purchase is fine. Just make sure you take some kind of contact detail when you give them out so you can market to them later on. We offer very simple loyalty schemes that work on    
    4. Trade-in for an upgrade. If you sell products that go out of date or are depednand ton new technoliogy (like techonologY, then why not offer to buy back the older model or use it as trade in gainst a newer model. Just work out what you could sell it for on the 2nd hand market, and add on your normal CPA
    5. Offer vouchers for customers who don’t return

 

(Images Courtesy of Colin_K)

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