When trying to grow a business, it’s tempting to put most of your efforts into finding new customers. However, in many cases it can be more lucrative to encourage repeat business from existing customers. In fact, attracting new customers can cost you five times more than retaining existing clients, so it makes good financial sense to encourage repeat visitors.
Many business owners assume just because a customer used their service once and it wasn’t a bad experience, they will automatically use them again in the future. But customers like to shop around.
Plus, if you’re offering services they may only use once a year, you need to remind them of the good experience they had with your business and establish trust.
This is why keeping in contact with previous customers can encourage repeat business, resulting in a long-term sales pipeline. The best way to manage this process is by having a good customer database.
Here are some tips for how to use a customer database to secure more bookings from previous clients.
Collect the right kind of data
Collecting names and contact details is a good start, but it’s not enough. Be sure to keep a note of what customers have bought or any other identifying factors, including service they used from you or might want to use from you in the future. More broadly, think about what’s relevant to your customers, this could be what service they purchased, when they last engaged with you and what preferences they might have. At Oneflare we record over two million data events per week, allowing us to segment, analyse and uncover different and unique ways to add value to our customers.
Tools to manage the data
If you’re on a budget, there are many free tools you can use to arrange and manage your customer data, for example, Google Sheets. However, it could be worth investing in more advanced customer relationship management tools, such as Infusionsoft. More advanced tools will let you segment your customers and perform automated tasks.
Sending reminders can work particularly well for services that need to be done regularly, like pest spraying or spring cleaning. Reminders can be sent via email or SMS, depending on your customer communication preferences. This can be automated, using a number of plug ins or it can be manual.
For instance if you run a business that requires people to repurchase every three months, set up a rolling calendar reminder to email customers on their three month anniversary – this helps remind them that you exist.
Since bookings from existing clients require less effort than attracting brand new customers, it makes sense to develop a strategy for encouraging repeat bookings. If you haven’t got one already, using a customer database to manage customer data and also keep in contact with them can be a great start to increasing jobs and revenue.
Emailing regular communication and updates, like newsletters, is a great way to stay top of mind and generate trust with your customer base. Keep in mind that your emails should be offering valuable or helpful information as a newsletter that’s too promotional will likely not be read. User-friendly online tools such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor can help send mass emails out.
Also be mindful of privacy laws as you need permission to send emails to people. Check out the Australian Spam Act or speak with a marketing professional.
Michelle Tucker is the CMO at Oneflare. The online marketplace connects people to more than 90,000 businesses in over 150 categories to quote for jobs needed around the home, from cleaning to pest control, gardening, painting, building, interior design, pet care, beauty services, accounting and everything in between.