I would like to introduce to small businesses a new concept. For the record I did not invent this concept, I learned it from a dear friend of mine and it is so relevant to businesses I felt compelled to share it. (Thank you very much Matt for the lesson)
Every customer that walks into a store is looking to purchase something. In this process they all fall onto the A to Z scale. The larger the purchase the closer to A they fall on, the smaller the purchase the closer to Z they fall, where Z = the customer makes the purchase.
This is how customers move on this scale. The more the follow up, and the better the follow up, the closer the customer moves to Z. The less the follow up, or interaction from the sales people or business, then it is more likely that the sale will be lost as the customer will fall off the scale on the A side, and go somewhere else.
So lets go over some of the methods to bring your customers to the sale, instead of letting them just go away, or even worse to another store.
Print: The first method of following up which most retailers use is the weekly ad. This is a good way to keep in touch, and bring the crowds in if the sale is a good one, but when the sale is a bad one the crowds will not come in. Either way this can be an expensive way to keep in touch due to the costs of print. Of course, you can always seek out a competitively priced commercial printer such as XIC or EdinburghPrinting.com – these types of services will, at least help keep your budgets under control.
The second method is to do direct mail advertising. This can be arranged for about $1.00 a letter, and has been used by large and small businesses alike. This is a more personal way to send messages to your customers and it help to give them a more personal feel to the interaction.
The third method is e-mail. E-mail is, even these days, not very commonly used, and has huge potential. E-mail is also a very cost effective way to keep in touch without generating a lot of costs to your follow up marketing. This takes preparation for this type of marketing to be used effectively as you need to collect e-mail addresses of your customers.
The fourth method is SMS marketing. This is used in most mobile phones in the form of text messages. This is an effective method to get attention immediately, but it does take some preparation, as you have to collect cell phone numbers of your customers ahead of time for this to work.
The good old phone call. Nothing shows your interest like the old fashioned phone call. How many businesses these days call their customers up and just talk to them, get to know what they are doing, and their interests? If you called up your customers, and asked them about their day, and talked with them a little, would you stand out above and beyond your competition? How about if you did all these things? Your business would be where it was at, and you would be the one standing above the crowd, knowing your customers first hand wants, and needs.
Being able to have a personal 1 on 1 relationship with them. How many of your customers can you name, as they come into your store?
The A to Z scale, everyone is on it. Question is can you help your customers navigate it to Z? or are they part of the 90% that most small businesses ignore because they did not buy on the spot?