10 tips for turning first-time and infrequent customers into repeat ones

Customer retention is critical for businesses of any size. According to statistics used in a Small Business Week webinar on growing customer loyalty (cosponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE, and Manta), retention can save money and potentially increase revenue by at least 25 percent.

Here are the tips from “Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World: 10 Tips to Create a Killer Customer Loyalty Program.”

Start with the end in mind.

Have a goal, and make it specific. For example, a goal could be increasing retained customers at your restaurant by 15 percent month-over-month.

Determine your audience.

This helps make your goal that much more tangible. For example, a demographic you might want to target is women, and a sub-demographic is women between the ages of 25 and 32.

Create an ROI-positive program.

Genuinely reward the demographic and sub-demographic with a series of programs so they feel appreciated and want to come back. For example, give diners within the demographic and sub-demographic a free dessert if they come back to your restaurant within a period of time.

Encourage customer opt-in.

Ask first-time and infrequent customers if they would like to be included on email and other types of social communications. If they are interested and if your messages are tailored to these individuals instead of being generic communication blasts, there’s an opportunity that these customers could return to your business. Make sure to track the data generated by those joining these communication lists and the rate in which they return to your business.

Automate, automate, automate.

Automation is a great way to track and sort data so it becomes more than just a pile of useless numbers in a spreadsheet.

Stay in touch via email.

Now that you have customers interested in receiving communication, meet that expectation!

Go social.

Email isn’t the only way people are communicating electronically anymore. Social is a great way to engage in a true two-way dialogue with your customers, including getting insights on what they might want before they even realize they want it.

Get integrated.

Create and use apps that inform and engage customers. Then, just like with your communications, make sure your business is tracking the generated data.

Get mobile.

Mobile isn’t just for apps. Make sure your website and social pages are mobile friendly.

Be consistently engaging.

If you’re not staying front of mind with your customers, someone else is!

Have you had success turning first-time and infrequent customers into repeat ones? Have any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section, below!Have you had success turning first-time and infrequent customers into repeat ones? Have any tips you’d like to share? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.