If you’re like me, gaining new clients is one of your biggest challenges. I don’t have a sales team to go out and find new business, so the burden falls to me. And I’m often mired in my own work and don’t have time to focus on getting new business.
So rather than taking more time to constantly look for new customers, I put more energy into keeping existing, great customers happy.
1. Exceed Expectations
We’ve all been on the receiving end of underdelivered expectations. Maybe your roofer said he’d be done in a week and it took three. But what happens when you as a business owner do the opposite and overdeliver? For me, as a writer, that might mean turning in an assignment a day or two before the client expects it.
If you know what your business is capable of, add a little wiggle room in terms of expectations in case problems arise, and then try to beat deadlines or deliver more than you promised. You’ll surprise and delight your customers, I guarantee.
2. Make Sure Your Website Is Uber User-Friendly
Just because you’ve secured a great customer once doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it easy for them to return to your site for future orders, if you sell products online. Make sure you give your customers the ability to register for an account, where they can view all their information. They shouldn’t have to enter credit card information each time they make a purchase.
Keep your navigation simple, and don’t include anything that isn’t necessary. Your web copy should be simple enough to tell even a 7-year-old what you sell, and shouldn’t use highfalutin’ language.
3. Use CRM Smartly
If you have one or two clients, it’s easy enough to remember everything you need to about them. But as you start growing, that becomes a challenge, especially for solopreneurs.
Staying organized behind the scenes might not seem to tie directly to repeat sales, but it does. Using powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you track important client data, keep notes on client conversations, and set tasks and reminders to follow up on leads.
4. Stay in Touch on Social Media
Don’t lose contact with your customer after the sale. If your customers are social savvy, you’ve got a great opportunity to connect with them through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. Focus on providing value to your audience through relevant and useful content. And make sure you have a social media strategy, otherwise your efforts are useless.
Set up a stream in Hootsuite or whatever social media platform you use specifically for your clients’ updates. Retweet their content and talk to them one-on-one to build out relationships.
5. Spread Your Brand Around
The more places your brand is found online, the more people will recognize it. You can guest post on well-known industry blogs, advertise, put out press releases, and share social content. Be consistent with your logo or avatar so people will recognize you.
We’ve all heard the mantra about how it’s cheaper to keep your existing clients rather than get more. As you can see here, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep great customers coming back.
Editor’s note: This was originally written by Susan Payton for AllBusiness.