Getting Prospects - Keeping Customers
¿by: Julie Martin
Does it seem like your customer base is drying up into a trickle? It can be very difficult to attract new customers and keep them. We will explore several ways to go after new clientele and keep them coming back for more.
This is an option that can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned Internet businessperson. You need to find new customers, but it is worth the risk of getting a list that is possibly outdated, or worse, full of customers who consider you a ruthless spammer? If you decide to purchase leads, make sure that the company who is providing them is a reputable, solid company that utilizes double opt-in features for its lists.
Mailing lists are similar traps for Internet businesses. It is not worth the money spent on acquiring new leads if all the potential customers do is hit their delete button.
The climate for email advertising is not conducive to effective sales right now. You would be best served, again, by purchasing a list that is compiled through double opt-in and targeted to a specific customer base.
Pay Per Click Advertising
This is a method of advertising for text and graphic ads that ensures you will only have to pay for the customers who actually click to go to your site. This is a great method of cost effective prospect gathering, but you will need to research the companies carefully before starting your ad campaign. There are several shady companies out there who will overcharge and under distribute your ad.
Ezine and Mailing List Prospects
An easy way to find new customers is to join one of the millions of electronic magazines that cover almost as many subjects. You can find one that is suited to your products and join. Take part in the discussion and quietly advertise your products through informative articles, or tasteful subject lines. Remember, nothing turns off potential customers more quickly than a hard sell or a see through ad campaign. Most ezines will not tolerate this, so check with the list manager or guidelines before you start advertising this way.
Now that you¿ve collected a completely new batch of customers, how do plan to keep them? This can be the tricky part in running a successful business. A large percentage of your revenue can come from satisfied customers who not only keep coming back to you, but tell their friends about your store as well. Word of mouth advertising is priceless and it is important to make sure that it is positive word of mouth!
Maintaining customer relationships is one of the keys to repeat business. A casual follow-up email or an informative ezine that contains information on new products are great ways to stay in touch with your customers. You can also offer special discounts for returning clients and price breaks after they purchase a certain, set amount from you.
Providing what your clients need is another way to guarantee that they will come to you in the future. Try putting up a brief survey on your website to collect information on products they would like to see in your store, or areas that could use improvement.
A happy customer is one that will return. As they go through the process of purchasing an item from you, make sure that it is simple, and enjoyable for them. If you have to wade through ten pages to buy one simple item, chances are, you will go somewhere else in the future where the process is more streamlined.
Excellent customer service is the best way to keep customers happy. Try to answer all emails and inquiries promptly. Remember their names and what they like so that they feel that you actively care about them as a client. If there is a problem with an order, try to go above and beyond to make it right. The results will most likely be a customer who forgot all about the trouble they were caused and focused instead on your exemplary service and commitment.
About The Author
Julie Martin is the publisher of ¿The Iscaweb eZine¿ a weekly eZine dedicated to increasing your online profits, no matter what you are selling. Julie also uses the ¿Plug-In-Profit¿ system to GREAT effect!
To subscribe to the eZine, or to learn more about the Plug-In-Profit system visit: www.iscaweb.com