You have heard many times that keeping customers and web site visitors on your site and coming back for more should be one of the top priorities of every online solo business owner.
There are a number of reasons for doing this – one of the most important is that the cost of finding new customers is typically higher than the cost of retaining current customers.
There are other reasons as well. Today we’re going to look at just what the business owner can do to keep his paying customers coming back for more!
Regardless of the niche you are in, developing your web site and business philosophy so that you keep this simple principle at the forefront of your execution will pay you great dividends over the course of your business life.
Here are seven top ways to hold on to your customers:
1. Develop trust and a personal relationship with your customers. Let them know about you – where you live, what you like and dislike, what your family is like, and how you feel about things in your niche. You need to become a real person to your customers. Chances are, they will never actually see you (other than photos – which, by the way, is a good idea) and may never speak with you. The Internet is an anonymous gathering place and you should try to connect with your customers in any way you can.
2. Ask for your site visitor’s opinions. Let them know you want to hear from them – and take the next step – give them a reward for giving you feedback. Every time you engage your customers in talking about the niche, you will earn a little more trust and credibility which leads your fans to being more comfortable in making a purchase.
3. Offer your customers lots of unique content. Some of it should be customized to the unique individual. It’s easy to do so by offering “categories” or topics of information that are within the niche but maybe outside the general mainstream of what you give your audience as a whole. You can learn about these tangents by doing surveys and asking for opinions on the type of info the customer wants to hear about.
4. Learn as much as you can about your customers. Each one has a “lifetime value” – a dollar amount that you can expect to receive from that customer of his lifetime. When you know what each customer is worth, you will be more apt to treat that customer well so that you don’t lose him/her. Some businesses go so far as to have different levels of customer service depending upon how much a customer has bought from the company. If a dispute arises, you want to make sure you take care of your best customers royally.
5. Allow and enable your customers to share information among themselves. The easiest way to do this is with a forum on your web site. By allowing your customers to interact, you are opening the door with another reason why they would want to spend more time on your web site. Another reason to allow interaction is that they will tend to help one another. By having the capability, your customers will become a part of your customer service arm – they will give each other hints and pointers about your software, web site, information, services, etc. In a sense, some loyal customers were become “unpaid” customer support assistants.
6. Give incentives or rewards to your customers for continuing with your business. Sometimes these incentives are contained within a “loyalty program” or something similar. It will make your customers feel special and “wanted” if you treat them well. If your long-time customers find out that you’re giving discounts or mega-deals to new customers only, they will feel used and feel like all they are good for is their credit card.
7. Make it easy and worthwhile for your customers to continue on with you. Don’t make them continually have to “re-register” or renew their current status. Some business owners have said that when they switched to a new web site or hosting service, they lost 80% of their customers even though they warned them that they would need to sign up again. Think long-term about your business as a home or “hang-out” place for your customers and do everything within your power to provide a new and useful experience for them in your niche.
Part 2 of this article will include additional steps you can take as a business owner to retain your customers and make them want to hang-out at your web site!
To your online business success,