Ever since the economy’s downturn, small businesses have been struggling with attracting more customers, whether by visiting a store location or obtaining more website visitors and conversions. For small businesses, it’s all about building relationships with customers, developing loyalty, and creating new small business opportunities.
Some small businesses offer classes; others hold events-anything that creates an opportunity for the customer and the small business to meet face-to-face. It’s all about being creative and personal. Small businesses need to truly understand their customers, (all variances of them), that’s where the foundation of customer relationships and loyalty is founded. Figuring out what customers need and want, (making it simple), and then brainstorming a creative, hands-on way to give customers the opportunity to become life long customers. This method works for both service and product-focused businesses.
The recession has been somewhat of a blessing in disguise for the optimistic small business owner, because it has forced them to think unconventionally, and produce innovative and creative ways to reach customers and create strong loyalty. Remember that emotion plays a large role in branding, especially in today’s market. It’s all about the customer experience, their emotional attachment to the brand. For small businesses with a product, classes are a major no-brainer to develop better customer experience. Allowing the customer to feel a part of the brand will produce a sense of pride and loyalty, as well as positive referrals, and suddenly your customer base expands.
For small businesses that are service-based, informative classes or training can be a great way to create loyalty. Support groups, fundraisers for causes that you know are close to your customers’ hearts, are all ways to create a memorable customer experience and a solid, loyal relationship.
Small businesses often have an edge over larger businesses. It’s easier for them to really listen to their customers and to acknowledge exactly what their needs are. The first step is finding your customers; the second is listening to them and not just once or every so often, but all the time. Never stop listening. Of course, going out and finding more new customers doesn’t mean you forget or ignore the current or old ones. They are why your small business is still standing. If anything, you should thank them for their loyalty. Interestingly enough, customers who feel appreciated for their loyalty have a high chance of continuing to use your brand diligently.
As small business owners, as the economy slowly recovers, take the opportunity to be creative, positive and really dig deep. Find your target markets, determine their needs and wants, create a personalized, hands-on customer experience. Be sure to show gratitude to your current and old customers, always listen to your customers and be sure to make them feel important, acknowledged and heard. Your goal is to exceed their expectations. In a tight economy, outstanding service often wins out! . As a small business, personalization, intricate details, and special services should be crucial elements in your strategy. When it comes to loyalty, the Golden Rule always applies: “Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated.”