If you think marketing is an activity that's only for sleazy companies that want to pull a fast one on prospects and clients, then read no further. However, if you want to improve your business dramatically, then focusing on retention is for you.
Do you want to know the big secret to successfully bringing your clients back? It's by romancing your clients to death. Here's the thing: Don't sell—add value instead.
As you know, there are only three ways to grow your business:
- Increase the # of customers.
- Increase the average dollars per sale.
- Increase the Repurchase Frequency.
Let's concentrate on #1, which is increasing your client retention by making the most of your client list. Communicate with them frequently to "nurture" them.
Existing clients are the least resistant "prospects" you have. They've already had an experience with you. They've already bought from you. They're already part of your base.
Here's how to target you customer base: remember the first step is always to shift your point of view. In this case, you'll want to look at your existing clients as your most important target market. They're your highest priority.
What you need to do is to learn more about them, create programs that will serve their particular needs (and yours of course), communicate with them, then measure and monitor the results so you can do an even better job in the future.
Designate customers (existing clients) as a target market. If your salon/day spa has different segments (i.e., women and men), you may want to establish more than one segment—they require different communications.
Gather information about them. One of the biggest mistakes owners/managers make is to assume they know all about their customers. There are two ways to gather customer information—market research and internal market gathering.
Research may be available from your manufacturers. Just ask, it should be a service they provide to their clients.
Internal information gathering is quick and easy. It can be as simple as asking your customers to fill out a form. One note of caution, respect the customers' confidentiality and do not be intrusive.
Once you gather the information, it must be organized, stored, evaluated, and used to communicate with your customers. This is the purpose of a customer database. It is one of the great features of your salon/day spa software program.
Create value-added programs. It's the law of reciprocity. If you want people to do something for you, then you must first do something of equal or greater value for them. This is the purpose of special memberships (including frequent visitor programs), recognition, birthday cards, etc.
Establish client communications. The place to start is on the day of the visit, when you're making the original sales transaction. You have a great opportunity to ask them some questions, offer them "membership" in your club, and give them special offers "for customers only." The objective is to get them back. Two things to bear in mind:
Maintain your credibility. Always keep your clients best interests in mind.
Be non-intrusive. Don't call at dinner time or send them a bunch of hype or junk mail. Respect for your client goes a long way.
Measure and monitor your clients. Here's where your database and customer tracking systems come in. Set up your key indicators and monitor them. Just as a pilot watches her instrument panel, it'll tell her when to make course corrections.
You'll be amazed to see that acting in your clients' best interests, rather than being self-serving and acting in your interest alone, is the best way to build and retain business. Ultimately, your clients' best interests are your best interests.