Imagine relying on a steady flow of business from a core group of loyal customers. These patrons don’t just like your business, they love it – and come back again and again. To help boost your repeat business, Buzztime partnered up with GoDaddy Social and Kangaroo Loyalty for a webinar in May 2019. Together, we shared the following 6 ways to turn customers into regulars. Ready? Let’s get loyal…
Strategy #1) Enhance Interaction with Customers on Social Media and Review Sites
In your quest to cultivate repeat business, social media is a powerful tool for building relationships with your customers. Use these tactics to create lasting connections…
Put Your Team in the Social Spotlight
People want to connect with other people – not just products and services. You can generate repeat business by creating connections between your staff and customers, starting on social media. Share photos of your team on Facebook – and especially Instagram. According to a Georgia Tech study, photos with faces are 38% more likely to get “likes” on Instagram, and 32% more likely to attract comments.
Create Cross-Promotional Posts
Why not help another company earn repeat business, while boosting yours in the process? Contact local businesses and see if they’d share your posts – if you share theirs.
Take Customers Behind the Scenes
Give all customers exclusive access to your business with photos and videos that take them “backstage.” If you run a restaurant, use Instagram or Facebook Live to take viewers on a kitchen tour. After all, 87% of customers want to watch live streaming video that shows “behind the scenes” footage.
Regular customers and VIPs have an “in” with the owner, who often asks for their opinions on new products and services. Take the same approach on social media by asking all customers for input, and you’ll start to see more repeat business when customers feel that their voice is heard. A spa owner might use Facebook Poll to asks which new salon service customers would like to see.
Use Online Reviews to Cultivate Repeat Business
When a customer has a great experience with you, always ask them if they’ll leave a review on Yelp, Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor or any other review platform. According to Bright Local, 70% of customers are willing to post a review if they’re asked!
Increasing repeat business often means regaining trust with customers who had a negative experience. Yes, you can bring them back for a second chance, and that often starts by responding to their negative review. Make it a point to comment on all reviews – the good, the bad, and even the ugly.
Be personal, sincere, and make customers feel that you value their input, and you may start to see an uptick in repeat business even from previously unhappy patrons. Many experts believe that negative reviews stem from a single “pain point” and then spiral from there. Try to identify the pain point, address it, and explain what you’ll do to fix the situation.
Strategy #2) Incorporate Hashtags and User-Generated Content Into Your Social Strategy
User-Generated Content (or USG for short) is any content featuring a brand – that wasn’t created by the brand. It could be a photo shared by a customer, or a testimonial from another company. USG is a key strategy to deploy on social media if your goal is driving repeat business. After all, most customers trust other’s opinions more than ads. So how do you find USG on social media? Use hashtags…
Start on Instagram, and search for hashtags that include your business name. If you see a photo you like, always contact the person and ask if you can “re-gram” their pic (never take without asking!). Expect to see more repeat business from that customer, who feels flattered that their photo is featured!
Strategy #3) Create an Entertaining, Personalized In-Store Experience
By now you’ve probably realized that repeat business doesn’t just happen. In most cases, you’ve gotta work for that second visit. That means creating an awesome first visit! And the customer experience during that first visit is hands down the most important factor in a guest deciding if they’ll be back. Want proof? By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand value that customers seek, according to this Walker Study.
On the other hand, if a customer has a bad experience? Don’t count on repeat business. After asking 15,000 people what they’d do after a poor experience, Pricewaterhouse Coopers found that 32% won’t return! Here’s what goes into engineering a customer experience that turns first timers into regulars….
Get the “Big 3” Right
- #1 Efficiency/ Convenience: People don’t want to wait…we’re an “on-demand” society!
- #2 Friendly: Ensure your team has a positive attitude if you want more repeat business! The #1 way to ruin the customer experience according to Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s research? Bad employee attitudes and unfriendly service.
- #3 Knowledgeable: Train your team to know the ins and outs of every product or service.
Make it Fun!
Facebook asked 14,000 customers to describe what earns their loyalty and repeat business. The most often-used word was “quality,” followed by “fun.” Look for ways to integrate fun into every visit:
- Turn wait time into play time: Offer access to a national trivia network that customers can access through their own smartphone!
- Encourage social sharing with a fun “photo booth.”
- Cater to kids and you’ll earn more repeat business from grateful parents.
Surprise and Delight
This is something a guest didn’t know they wanted, but are delighted to receive. Based on the “Kano Model of Customer Needs,” surprise and delight can definitely boost your repeat business.
- Complimentary goodies: chocolate bar after salon treatment
- “Just because” $5 gift card
- Add something extra to a service/product for free
Building repeat business often boils down to the little things: like knowing a guest’s name and using it. This is one of the most powerful tactics identified in a study by SevenRooms.
Strategy #4) Give Customers Rewarding Experiences with Special Events
Events give customers a reason to come back for a second visit, giving you that repeat business you want! When planning events, look for ways to add a social element that makes people feel like they’re part of a community. Use these ideas to get started driving repeat business…by hosting repeat events! For more inspiration, check out this list of 15 more entertainment and event ideas.
- Live Trivia: A weekly live trivia event is one of the best ways to boost midweek foot traffic and score more repeat business!
- Pop-Up Shops: Partner with another business who sets up at your location…or you set up at their business. For example, a massage team does “pop up” event offering chair massages at a local bar during happy hour.
- DIY Workshops: From fitness centers to restaurants, many run “paint n’ sip” events or other crafty workshops on a regular basis to foster repeat business.
- Competitive Events: Costume contests, backyard game contests (indoor cornhole), board game night
- Charity Events: Each month, team up with a different local charity. Donate 10% of your sales that day to the charity.
- _____’s Night Out: It could be Dads, Moms, teachers…you pick the target group, then invite them to a special event at your business.
- VIP Events: Here’s a secret…you can invite new customers to these events, but simply calling it a VIP event makes them feel like one! EXAMPLE: Preview nights at stores/restaurants….invite guests to be “first” to experience a new menu or shop new products. Exclusivity can go a long way in earning repeat business.
Strategy #5) Attract, Engage, and Retain Customers with a Loyalty Program that Cultivates Repeat Business
“Advertising brings in a sale, loyalty creates a customer.”
Let this be your new mantra in the quest to increase repeat business. A high-quality customer loyalty marketing program can turn first-time buyers into “regulars.” So what goes into the perfect loyalty program?
- Research by Kangaroo found that 44% of shoppers would become repeat business buyers and 40% report having spent more money on a purchase than planned because of a personalized shopping experience.1
- Send personalized product recommendations to customers based on their favorite brands, purchase history, purchase frequency and more!
- Communicate with your customers via their preferred channel (email, text, print, etc…)
- Show customers you care – and want to earn their repeat business – by sending them relevant promotional offers that are relevant.
Is repeat business just one big game? Sort of, at least when it comes to loyalty programs. Make it fun, a little challenging, and very rewarding for customers to participate in your program. Dole out rewards for participation and other actions such as updating their contact information, writing a review, taking a survey, or making a referral.
Repeat business is all about making customers feel like they’re a VIP. Use tiered rewards to grant special privileges and experiences to your best customers: from product launch parties to extra-special services.
Focus on reestablishing relationships with customers who are not actively participating in your rewards program. A Marketing Metrics study revealed that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60–70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is only 5–20%. Strive for repeat business from those who have already visited – but haven’t been back in a while. Send personalized emails and texts with strong offers.
Strategy #6) Build a Rewarding Customer Experience – No Discounts Needed!
Think the only way to bring customers back is with a dollar-off discount? Don’t sell yourself short. One of the best ways to build repeat business is to create truly rewarding experiences – with a charitable twist. An Edelman Good Purpose study found that 72% of people recommend businesses that show support for causes they care about.
These altruistic experiences should reflect the values that your company embraces through tangible actions. Here are a few examples:
Embrace the Green Movement with Environmentally Friendly Actions
- Do you run a coffee shop? Double customers’ reward points if they bring in their own travel mug.
- Donate to an environmental organization if the customer re-uses a plastic bag, or comes in with a canvas bag. (As an added bonus, in most cases, donations made by your business can be tax deductible.)
- Generate repeat business by helping customers create charitable habits. Incentivize customers to bring in their gently-used clothing to be donated to local shelters.
- Reward customers for participating in an outdoor clean-up by hosting an exclusive thank-you party at your location.
Support Local Sports Teams
- Let customers redeem their rewards by donating them to the local sports team.
- Highlight local teams that your brand is supporting by featuring them periodically in newsletters and social media.
- If you run a restaurant or bar, you can drive repeat business by inviting the team you sponsor to come in before or after their games.
- You can positively influence customer preferences by offering more reward points when they purchase local products.
- Show customers you care by making social action part of unlocking the next tier in a rewards program.
Another way to cultivate customer experiences that earn repeat business? Value-added services and experiences. Using loyalty programs, you can create personalized value-added experiences. This is a “gift with purchase” concept. As the customer spends more with you, they can unlock special benefits such as:
- Retail: Free seamstress service
- Gym: Free 15 minute session with a trainer
- Salon: Free Blow-out with any haircut
- E-Commerce: Free shipping to members
Ultimately, the rewarding experiences you come up with should always reflect your brand – and what your business values. The result will be an authentic experience that earns repeat business.