How To Keep Customers Happy and Get Referrals


Shania Twain’s nineties country hit, “Dance with the One Who Brought You,” echoes a principle entrepreneurs need to follow as their businesses grow. While it’s a great idea to target new customer bases with marketing efforts, businesses need to not only keep current customers happy, but also to turn them into brand evangelists. Here’s how:


Offer Them Perks


Many businesses hand out swag at trade shows and community activities to potential customers, just praying for one of them to notice. That’s all well and good, but the highest quality perks should go to loyal customers.


What if a business created a loyalty club whose members received a certain percentage off of your goods and services? What if that business gave out promotional wear that identifies the wearer as the member of that club? Happy customers who refer the business to their friends and colleagues—that’s what. And free advertising to boot.


Double Down on Communication


Communication isn’t just self-promoting posts on Facebook every five seconds. In fact, that’s likely to turn off new and old customers alike. What a business needs to do to win even more loyalty—and referrals—from its customers is to listen, learn, and respond.


As with all relationships, the customer-provider relationship requires two-way communication. When reading comments, look beyond the quick glance to what lies behind the customer’s concern. Address their concerns directly, specifically. No one-size-fits-all brushoffs. Businesses who respond with specific solutions earn referrals.


Identify the Customer Base


The world of inbound marketing has transformed how companies attract new customers. Its main thrust is to identify the demographics of its customer base so it can tailor its market efforts to like-minded people. What it also does is to help companies forge a better relationship with its current customers through offering content that helps customers solve problems.


When a company knows who’s buying its products and why they’re buying, it can research typical problems that demographic faces. Do teens buy the products? Clearing up pimples, finding effective study strategies, and discovering how to attract more friends are all typical problems teens face. If a company creates content that helps teens solve one of those problems—or others—it will have an inroad to loyalty on the part of its youthful customer base. They’ll broadcast the product far and wide to their friends—and to their virtual friends half a world away.


Tailor Email Marketing to Specific Market Segments


Once a company has identified its customer base, it can dig down even deeper into the demographic to create segments. Let’s return to our example above—the teen market. Divide it into girls and boys. Create emails that target specific pain points that only girls experience as well as ones that target boys’ pain points. Send those groups separate emails with valuable information that helps each segment solve a common problem within that demographic.


Divide the demographic even further by age. For example, older teens, for the most part, have their eyes set on preparing for what comes after high school. If a company sent emails that helped them prepare for life after high school—such as choosing the right dorm furniture, how to write checks without Mom or Dad standing over one’s shoulder, or how to choose the right college—how well that segment would appreciate that email! And, of course, they would forward such emails to their friends, becoming the company’s brand evangelists in the process.


When a company targets its marketing efforts primarily to its current customer base, it will not only create more loyalty, it will create brand evangelists. Brand evangelists, then, will bring in new customers. Properly nurtured, those new customers will themselves become loyal customers. Dance with the ones that brought you—and watch the dance hall floor fill up with people who want to join the fun.