No matter how successful or how new a business may be, they will all face a universal problem: how do they attract and retain customers? Some large corporations struggle as much as the new businesses on the block, but there are some fairly simple tactics that can be applied both short and long-term in order to keep and retain customers. That means you need to attract them and entice them to use you and then do a good enough job to have them coming back. So how is this done?

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Attracting Customers

Building trust with customers is vitally important. Originally this was done with big name celebrities giving endorsements and then moved to an influencer and micro-influencer-based model. Though increasingly, simple word of mouth from trustworthy regular people is becoming more important. 86% of people read reviews before making a purchase, and 88% of people trust reviews written by other people, this figure increasing to 92% if a friend or family member makes the recommendation. Being transparent with potential customers is extremely lucrative, as has been proven by TOMs espadrilles, who donate a pair of shoes for every pair sold. By being socially responsible and open about this, customers are more likely to trust a business. Social media management tool Buffer prides itself on a transparent culture, which breeds trust. Another method of showing trust to potential customers, as shown by Buzz Bingo, is by offering familiar and secure payment methods, such as Visa, MasterCard and PayPal, which help to legitimise a business and act as a reassurance from these companies. These are clearly outlined, which adds trust to the transaction between customer and business. Partnerships between brands can combine their pulling power, such as the collaborations between camera provider GoPro and energy drink giant Redbull, which appeal to two different audiences and work together to boost each business to their respective audiences.

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Retaining Customers

Once you’ve had a customer and have the information in your database, it’s time to attempt to encourage them to make a repeat purchase. A customer has a 27% chance of returning to you, with that figure increasing to 45% after the second purchase and 54% after the third purchase. A clever trick to this is to use the information you do have (what they bought) to suggest other products in an email and even give an offer of discount. Huge marketing spends are given to basket abandonment projects which aim to find why some potential return customers abandon their baskets – and what could be done about it. Some online retailers – including Urban Outfitters and catalogue Very – offer discounts, specific tailored sales, or limited-edition events to encourage that purchase. The customer service received the first time round also needs to be top-notch so that you are even considered for a repeat purchase. Social media is increasingly becoming a way for brands that we have used before to keep in contact. By gaining a follow across platforms, businesses can then begin sending out information on new product lines, do social posts that reflect the personality in your brand, or even show the covetable lifestyle that initially attracted them to become customers in the first place.

The best way to attract and keep customers in any business is to do due diligence on how this can be done. Planning ahead as to how you might entice customers to use your business and then on how you can encourage them to return back to you is critical. Once you have a strategy in place, constant monitoring and evaluation can ensure it works.