Most businesses focus their entire marketing budget on trying to win new customers and they forget their most valuable asset…the customers they already have. What’s even worse is if they finally decide they want to change this, they don’t even have a way to contact the largest percentage of their customers.
The difference between a highly profitable small business and one that barely gets by could the result of one thing, whether or not you capture customer contact info…and then use that info wisely. By not attempting to capture contact information for every customer who comes through your door you are essentially throwing money away. To get it back, you need to develop a customer list and then send a minimum of 25 “messages” a year to your this list. A message could be an email, direct mail piece, fax, or phone call.
Before you have an anxiety attack over sending that many messages to your list, there are ways to automate the process so you can go about running your business or enjoying life. This automation gets your messages out regardless of how busy you get (the more messages that go out, the busier you’ll get).
Fortunately, there are automated tools called autoresponders that do this work for you. An autoresponder is a web-based software system that sends out emails when someone signs up to receive them. Then it sends out emails at intervals you set up. You can also set it up to send an email on a specific day, such as a holiday. You can use that feature to send out holiday reminder emails that are targeted to bring business into your store. You simply enter your email messages into the autoresponder one time, and these messages are sent automatically whenever anyone signs up on your customer list.
One of the best ways to capture customer information is to have customers enter a drawing for a valuable item right as they enter the store. The items you give away do not have to be expensive. They just need a high perceived value. An MP3 music player would be an example of something with a high perceived value. Using eBay you can even buy these items from Hong Kong at a huge discount.
Once you build your customer list and then start mining it for the solid gold it contains, you’ll start seeing your profits soar.