Posted by – June 30, 2011
If you run a small business you should consider implementing a customer loyalty program. Doing so will encourage loyal customers to keep coming to your store over and over again. Why are returning customers so important to a small business? Because it takes more money to market your products or services to a new client than it does to keep an existing client.
Are you a small business owner looking to improve your sales and market reach? If so, contact the Winflow Financial Group today! Our consultants offer personalized strategy counselling for your small business so it can grow.
There are many types of customer loyalty programs you can try including:
- A rewards program. Rewards programs give customers gifts based on how often they shop. A good example of a rewards program is the Shopper’s Optimum card. The more you buy at Shopper’s DrugMart, the more points you acquire. Acquiring enough points will earn you a percentage off of your next purchase.
- Free gift program. This type of customer loyalty program rewards customers with a free product or service after they have already purchased the product or service several times. For example, if you operate an ice-cream shop you could come up with a program that gives customers one free ice-cream after they have purchased seven.
- A membership program. Membership programs offer money-saving incentives if your customer joins the program. Think of any gym membership or bulk store membership you have had.
The best part about customer loyalty programs? You learn the most from your loyal customers and you can use the information they provide you with to better market your small business.
Posted by – June 14, 2011
There are many different ways to market your small business but very few that involve giving back to your community or charitable organizations. This is where cause marketing comes into play. Cause marketing is when a business partners with a not-for-profit organization to boost publicity and give back to the community. Some tips for integrating cause marketing into your business include:
- Partner with a cause that makes sense to your business and you are genuinely concerned about.
- Spread the word about your involvement. Though anonymous charity is nice, you won’t be able to build a business reputation unless you get the word out there.
- How does cause marketing fit with your business strategy? Besides building a positive business reputation, consider how incorporating a not-for-profit organization will affect your business.
- If your cause marketing is compelling enough, the advertising will essentially pay for itself.
- Use business marketing efforts. Just because you’re working with a not-for-profit, doesn’t mean the rules change. If you already have successful advertising initiatives in place, continue to use them.
Benefits of Cause Marketing
Benefits of cause marketing include:
- Positive publicity for your company.
- The nice feeling you get knowing your helping a worthy organization.
- Improved visibility and sales are a potential effect of cause marketing.
- Cause marketing also can improve your customer loyalty and enhance your company’s reputation.
If you need advice about cause marketing and your small business, contact the Winflow Financial Group.
Posted by – June 14, 2011
Face-to-face sales are made through good customer service. Customer loyalty is also maintained through customer service. Creating a customer service plan for employees to follow can greatly improve sales and keep your salespeople on task. When creating a customer service plan, consider the following:
- Instill the importance of answering phones and returning messages. With unlimited choices available, if your business is slow on returning calls or hard to contact, customers are likely to move onto another retailer.
- Underline the importance of reliability. Encourage your employees not to make promises they can’t keep. If they are too busy to complete a task for a customer they should delegate the responsibility to another employee.
- Set concrete rules for your employees. Don’t allow things like eating or drinking while on the phone and make sure your employees aren’t having conversations that are best saved for their personal time.
- Train your staff to be courteous. Politeness is underdeveloped trait these days, especially in large cities so never under-value the importance of politeness.
- Provide incentives for customers to return. Whether it’s an official coupon or an impromptu free service, consumers like deals and will keep coming back for them.
For your small business needs, contact the Winflow Financial Group at 1.800.956.6897.
Developing a loyal customer base for your small business is the first step toward increasing sales and building your company’s reputation. To develop a customer loyalty strategy consider the following:
- Research that involves the customer will give you the best idea of what your consumers are looking for.
- Build upon your existing brand. The strategy for attracting returning customers shouldn’t conflict with your business vision but should work to develop an existing reputation.
- Instil the value of customer loyalty in all of your employees so everyone is working on the same page.
There are some challenges to developing customer loyalty including:
- What the competition is like. Businesses that have been around longer are likely to attract more returning customers. Try and offer something your competition doesn’t to attract returning customers.
- The state of the economy. During tough economic times shoppers are less willing to part with their money which makes attracting returning customers difficult.
Maintaining a relationship with your customers is the most important aspect of customer loyalty. Be sure your business is practicing good customer service skills and offer rewards to customers who shop frequently.
To learn more about developing customer loyalty read this Q&A by top marketers.
For personalized advice regarding customer loyalty and your small business contact the Winflow Financial Group today.
The Contents of a Business Plan
In order to receive funding from investors and banks, it is necessary to have a business plan to show you understand every element of your business. Though business plans vary, there are a few common elements that should occur in any good one. These elements include:
- An executive summary. This element of a business plan outlines your key ideas and is typically placed at the beginning of a plan.
- Your marketing and sales strategies. Outline how you’re going to promote your product, who your intended consumer audience is and who your competition is. From there you can get into details on pricing strategies, maintaining customer loyalty and so on.
- Identify your business opportunity. Describe who you are, what you do, what your product is and what market you want to address.
- Have financial forecasts ready. This element of the plan has to do with the numbers behind your business. Be sure to record your sales forecast, profit and loss forecast and cash flow statements.
- Talk about your team. Outline the skills you and and your staff share to convince investors your are the right person to make this idea succeed.
For a list of example business templates, provided by the government of Canada, visit this page. If you are having difficulty writing a business plan on your own, contact Winflow Financial Group to assist you in your small business needs.