Ever watch those dog shows where they run the agility course?
One of them always comes out and runs like the wind, weaves through the poles so fast, it blows everyone away.
That’s you. The Border Collie.
As an Independent Business Owner, you are a speedy breed. The agility course maximizes your SUPERPOWER. It’s to your advantage that you make all the decisions. Chains and franchises can’t act as fast as you can because of their levels of management, the large geographic area they cover and decentralized decision making.
You can react faster. Change directions sooner. Overcome hurdles quicker.
Stop doing what does not work and increase what does. Pay attention to what your customers need and respond to so they feel heard. Decide your course of action FAST And Put IDEAS into ACTION quickly.
Now more than ever, your superpower as an Independent Operator is to build a strong, loyal and personal connection with your customers that they highly value so that they continue to support you with more frequent visits and higher spending.
A customer list’s value is in the ENGAGEMENT it can build between you and your customer, the connection you can forge. This is the superpower you have over the National Chains. They are too big to be able to do this.
Don’t Copy The Chains
If you are copying chain marketing, you are wasting your money. They have the power of many units behind them, and the money to back large national campaigns. Those campaigns will never be effective for you. They don’t target your market, they are not personalized, and they often compete on price, not on quality. They are trying to be all things to all people.
It’s a mistake to make your marketing look the same as the chain restaurants. You will never get anyone’s attention by being the same. People are overwhelmed with marketing messages today. You need to stand out to get noticed.
Use your superpower. Move fast. You can react to what’s happening in your local community, take an active role, and enter into the conversations your customers are already having. You can focus your firepower on building a personal connection with your customers in a way that the chains can’t. Your individuality is a powerful weapon.
Focus On Repeat Customers
The single biggest impediment to Business Owner’s success is making the mistake of viewing their business as individual transactions. Your success depends on your ability to turn a one-time transaction into a repeat visits and then into loyal, long term customers. They are the key to sales growth and profitability. You will never get rich if every customer only buys once.
This is the job of a Rewards or Loyalty Program, but you can’t just reply on points and rewards. It is imperative that you forge a strong relationship between you and your customers with frequent communication, creative offers, engaging content, and a genuine desire to provide a solution to their needs. Your best customers are the ones who return more often, and they also spend more each visit. When you can create marketing that encourages even more visits and more spending, you are cracking the code.
All of the money is made at the top of the pyramid, with the top 10% of your guests and their repeat business.
- 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers – Gartner Group
- Existing Customers Spend 67% More, Cost 10 Times Less – BIA/Kelsey
- A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent – Bain & Co
Your current customers are the easiest and most profitable group of customers to market to. They already know and like you, so to convince them to return again is easier and less expensive than trying to go out and find new customers. It is up to eight times more expensive to get a new customer than getting a repeat one to come back.
Communicate Directly with Your Customers
Unfortunately, customers have so many choices, they have busy lives and quite often, they forget about you. Not because of indifference or dislike, but they just do not spend their day thinking about you. No one wakes up thinking “I wonder what’s happening at the Auto Repair Shop today” or “I wonder how their doing at XYZ restaurant”.
You need to enter their mind intentionally. You need to make it happen. A general rule of thumb is that you want to connect at least weekly with your customers in some form or another. That means they need to have read an email, get something in the mail, make a purchase and earn points, get a text message from you, or read a social media post.
That way – when they have a problem that you can solve – that’s when they’ll think of you.
Every month that you do not contact your customers, you lose your relationship with 10% of them. There’s magic in increased frequency. Studies have shown that 60% of businesses have lost a customer because they feel the business is indifferent to them. (Customer Experience Insight). Your business should be communicating regularly to your best customers, those that come most often and spend the most money, using offers and building a relationship encouraging and enticing them to return again and again. It’s about building a reciprocal relationship, a mutually beneficial one, that becomes stronger over time. You provide them with an experience, a great product, familiarity, trustworthiness, a sense of community. They in return, visit more often, and spend more money.
There are endless reasons to communicate with your customers. Special events in their lives like birthdays and anniversaries, seasonal holidays, celebrations in the community you’re connected to, or any number of national days, new menu items, staff updates, funny stories, customer reviews, are all items that are shareable and worth communicating.
What matters is you take action and enter into the conversations they are having in their mind. Remember, you are building a relationship that builds genuine loyalty (it’s not just a points exchange), and in turn causes more repeat visits.
Be the Border Collie. Engage your superpower and avoid these final three marketing mistakes.
If you missed out two previous posts on the other marketing mistakes, we commonly see Independent Business Owners doing you can read them here:
3 Common Marketing Mistakes Independent Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them
Making Your Social Media and Review Sites Work For You
If you want some help focusing you superpower – book a free Marketing Strategy Session with one of our marketing experts who can help you decide what you can do right now to change your marketing and impact your sale and profits.