GROW YOUR BUSINESS: stay in touch with your customers

by Dan Beaulieu
business consultant

Of course, you see your customers all the time. You see them when you do their landscaping or when they come to your restaurant for a meal, or when they come in for their monthly spa treatment, or when they call you to set up the annual snow removal arrangements. I know you see that at those times, but what about the rest of the time?

It is always important to keep in touch with your customers even when you are not actually providing services or products to them.

Whether you own a hardware store, a dry cleaning business, or a restaurant, it’s important to stay in front of your customers, even when you’re not in front of them.

Now I’m not suggesting anything as obnoxious as calling them once in a while, no one wants to make that call or more importantly, receive that call.

But there are plenty of other ways to stay in touch with your customers. What we call “soft touches”

First of all, there are always advertisements in local papers like this. The rates are very economical; and the readership is local enough that if you’re a local small business, you advertise to your customer base. Local advertising is a great way to stay in front of your customers.

The monthly newsletter is one of the best ways to keep in touch with your current customers, but even better, it’s a way to reach new potential customers. By using inexpensive software like Constant Contact, you can easily compile a list of your customers, as well as some target customers.

Create an attractive template and send one once a month. It shouldn’t take long. In fact, it shouldn’t take too long. The newsletter can consist of a message from you, the owner, some advice on your product or service.

If you’re a landscaper, you can provide some seasonal advice on what needs to be done for your lawn at this time of year. If you’re a restaurant owner, you can give away some recipes, or better yet, highlight some mouth-watering new dishes you’re offering this month.

The newsletter can also provide special discount coupons to entice your customers to use your services during that month. You can also bring a little humor: a tasteful anecdote or joke and maybe even a quiz or a trivial question. The key is to make the newsletter nice and engaging enough that people can’t wait to receive it and open it when it hits their inbox.

One of the keys to a successful newsletter is having an ever-growing list of current and potential customers. Ask your current customers to sign up for your newsletters. Offer them incentives like “valuable special discounts” just for signing up. Don’t force it, be subtle and friendly, make it fun and engaging. Put a registration email address in your advertisement if you advertise, put it on your flyers and invoices.

The more people who regularly open and read your newsletter, the more potential customers you will have. And it’s a perfect way to stay in touch and, yes, grow your business.

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