This is the final installment in my short series on increasing sales for your business. The first strategy focused on listening (Part I), the second strategy was about sharing (Part II). And now this installment is about fun.
This strategy really is fun because who doesn’t like celebrations? And that’s what you’re going to do.
Celebrate your customer to increase sales
One of the easiest ways to do this is to remember your customer’s birthday. It may not seem to make an impact, but believe me, it does. When we were kids, birthdays meant everything but once we got older, things changed. At least looking forward to birthday cake and the latest toy may have changed — but one thing didn’t: being remembered.
How do you capture information about your customer?
If you’re running a subscription service, you could include this on your registration form (and don’t make the year required). If you have a “brick and mortar” store, you could entice your customer into giving you this information by having a large box stationed near the cash register and short forms nearby to be completed and inserted into the box.
The incentive to fill out the form would be prominently displayed on a sign: “Win A Free (fill in the blank) On Your Birthday!” You can test various phrases to see which one gets the best results. (i.e. “Receive a Birthday Gift From Us!” “A Birthday Surprise For YOU If You Enter Your Name!”, etc.) Of course you’ll have fields on the form that will include their real address and email.
And, when it comes to your customer’s birthday, you’ll send them a coupon for 25% off a service or product or something comparable. The main goal is to let your customers know you care about them and are remembering them on their special day.
In 2010, I bought a car. It was not only surprising, but delightful to receive a cute “Happy Birthday” clever email greeting from my salesperson on my special day. It’s little things like this that I notice when doing business with a company.
Anytime you can delight your customers and leave them with warm feelings about your organization, it’s a good thing.
However, as much as I love celebrating the customer, what I love even more is having his information so I can stay in touch with him!
Keep track of your clients and customers with a strong database system
THAT is the gold.
B2B companies have databases. It’s important to stay in touch with current clients, past clients, and prospects to let them know of new developments within the organization and also follow-up with any business that already has been completed.
There is the common business adage that says once you get a client, keep him by a repeatable contact system. This can be done through email and postal mail campaigns.
The point being — you want that information so you can continue to reach out to your customer.
B2B companies do this all the time. But rarely do I receive this contact from smaller organizations like a local business. Just yesterday I received an email from a chain of haircutting salons, letting me know of a sale. I’ve received emails from them before but this time, it’s a sale on something I want: a haircut! Now how would I have known of that sale if not for the email?
I don’t read a newspaper, so I would have missed the ad there. Radio spots are… well, spotty. And I don’t watch television. So receiving something directly in my email inbox is the most economical and most targeted approach a business can take in order to influence me. In order for sales to happen, you need a channel of contact.
Don’t worry about people who say “email is dead.” Far from it. People read emails that advertise their special offer in the header. And since so few businesses use the U.S. Postal Service for promotions, you can stand out even more when you send direct mail.
A few other ways to celebrate
Discovering your customer’s or client’s birthday is just one way you can reward them. There are plenty of other ideas. Once you get going with this, you may be surprised by the outcome. People are more discriminating than ever about where they shop and with whom they do business.
A big differentiator will be how a business makes them feel. If their experience is a positive one, they will be a loyal customer. Just look at Apple and Zappo’s as an example. Both make their customers feel smart, creative, respected and honored. Do the same and you’ll have loyalty plus some great word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are a few other ways you can celebrate your customer:
Ask customers to bring in an older, battered item and then give them a discount when they buy a new one from you. This also lends itself to some great discussions, further solidifying a relationship with your business.
Tie in current events with your own campaign to celebrate customers. “Gas Is $4 A Gallon But Our Golf Carts Are Cheaper! 20% Off Cart Fee Through Sunday” You just want to be careful with this type of promotion. Make it light-hearted and fun, and avoid using any natural disasters or cultural upheavals as a tie-in.
If you’re doing a Grand Opening, celebrate the first 100 people who show up by giving them a special deal. Grand Openings are also great ways to get people to fill out forms to win something.
Have a redemption card where a hole is punched for every purchase of an item and make the tenth purchase the pay-off. (“Buy nine burritos and the tenth is on us!”)
There are many ways to celebrate your customer. Solicit ideas from your service staff. They’re the ones who work most closely with your customers and may have some great ideas that would create relevant promotions.
Sit down and strategize ways you can reach out to your customer. Constant contact is a fabulous way to keep in touch with the customers you already have and introduce your business to new customers and clients by creating “bring a friend” campaigns.
Soon your customers will be telling others about your business. Few things cement the bond between business and customer as acts of customer appreciation. And the more often you do it, the better. Your sales will reflect it!