The best small business marketing ideas
As we saw in our post about why your customers are leaving you, acquiring new customers is expensive. While an oft-quoted figure pins the cost at five times that of retaining customers, this can be as high as 25 times more expensive depending on industry. The value of customer retention is further demonstrated by its boost to profit, found to increase from 25 to 95% with just a 5% increase in retention.
It’s not just customers sticking around that will benefit your bottom line either. Happy customers are more likely to recommend you, with trusted word-of-mouth referrals among the most effective forms of endorsement.
So how can you cultivate and harness these feelings of goodwill? We’ve pulled together some marketing ideas for your small business that celebrate your customers and reward their loyalty.
Offer discounts to subscribers
This is one of the most common strategies for one good reason - it works! While there are plenty of ways to offer discounts, two similar methods that reward your existing customers are offering special deals to specific groups, like your mailing list, and to proven spenders through loyalty cards.
When offering a deal to your mailing list, be sure to convey a sense of exclusivity and reward, as you want your customers to feel special. It’s even better if you can offer them something free or extra, instead of simply a price reduction. People naturally prefer receiving 50% extra for free than a 33% discount, even though the price per quantity works out the same.
Reward loyalty with freebies
While we’ve covered giving away freebies before, it’s worth considering how this can be done in a wider sense. Not every business has little products they can give away for free as you might offer a service instead. Even so, look for opportunities to give something back.
Cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, and stores commonly use loyalty schemes, from simple stamp cards to cashback, but these needn’t be limited to those industries. Who’s to say gyms can’t offer a free class to regular visitors, or cinemas a free film?
Run contests for credit
This is a great way to generate a buzz around your communications as well as grow your following. Advertise contests in advance or make the, a regular feature so that people always have an incentive to join your list.
Invite entries however you choose. It can be a simple random draw or require some participation. The latter is a surefire way to increase engagement and get to know your customers.
When it come to the prize, there are two reasons you can afford to give away more than you think. The first is that once someone is through the door with their credit, they may well spend more money anyway. The second is that the hype of your contest can result in serious growth for your list: one store saw an 87% increase in signups after changing their subscribe CTA (call to action) from a discount to a regular credit contest.
Turn the spotlight on your customers
Do you know what your customers are passionate about? You may have their age range, income, and spending habits mapped out, but do you know what they’d say if they had a platform to say it? Consider what publicity you could give them. Whether it’s a write-up on your blog or newsletter, a poster in the window, or a stand in your store, how could you give them their five minutes of fame?
It may not be obvious to you why they’d want to be featured. There’s only one way to find out! They might see it as marketing for their own business, a chance to spread the word on a hobby or club of theirs, or just an opportunity to connect to like-minded people. Whatever their motivation, if they have a reason, they’ll appreciate it, so reach out and see who might be interested. You’re sure to have interesting and valuable conversations along the way.
Reward customer referrals
The benefits of being referred are obvious: customers referred by friends are four times more likely to buy; and customer referral programs work on the same principle. What’s key if you want to make existing customers happy however is to create an incentive for them. Referral bonuses, in cash or credit, are simple ways to do this and people will go to significant effort if they’re getting something free out of it.
Social media can be an important aspect of this. It drives over a quarter of internet traffic, and so the ability to easily share and refer your service using Facebook, Twitter, and more is essential. This is just part of a wider lesson about referrals: you need to make them easy. Do that, and your happy customers will love being rewarded for spreading the word about your great service. It’s a win-win!