Do Businesses Need a Way To Turn Non-Frequent Customers Into Regulars?

There is certainly is a mushy middle that is the sweet spot when you are talking about the first time returning customer.  However, the mushy middle does not need to be your only target consumer.  The 80/20 rule applies to most businesses, where 80% of your business comes from just 20% of your customers.  Therefore, a coffee shop that has a pool of customers who come in 3x/week would make a ton more off of getting each of those customers to come in 5x/week than it would increasing the “mushy middle” conversion for the first return.  Businesses should focus on driving extreme loyalty among their already loyal consumers.  This will lead to higher conversion ratios for the customers who already love them, and will lead to emphatic referrals to their friends.  For example, if you go to a coffee shop 3x/week, you are probably likely to eventually take a friend there.  However, if you find a coffee shop that you go to twice a day, you are extremely likely to invite friends there often.  Fostering extreme followers will generate the most sales long-term for a business.

What are some ways to do this?

We have all seen the loyalty programs where you buy 6 and get the 7th one free.  Do you know why almost all businesses participate in these?  Because they work!  These programs are specifically targeting the extreme follower (no one joins these programs and decides to buy more from that store unless they were already going there here and there previously).  Some other great ones, particularly if you are not selling services that are needed often, are business card drop giveaways.  For obvious reasons, this type of contest drives repeat customers in businesses like restaurants and coffee shops.  But, they also have a place in longer-term items like car dealerships or appliances.  If you were to allow customers to drop a business card into a bowl every time they came and took a car for a test drive, or they came and looked at a few appliances, you would start getting customers to come in and look around often as they made their purchasing decisions.  Regardless of whether or not they won the new car, or new appliance, once it came time to finally make a purchase, your store would be the only store where that client would have already established a personal relationship with the staff and the store.

The last way that I would focus on to increase the extreme followers is social media.  Using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and actively promoting these sites while people are inside the store, will allow you to engage customers outside of your store and in between purchases.  The key is to make your accounts interesting and helpful, so that your customers will tune in now and again to see what is going on.  Check out some of my social media posts for info on how to use these sites effectively for exactly what you are talking about, but this post would get too long if I went into it further.  I hope this all helps you out, Good Luck out there!

Todd Hagopian

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About Todd Hagopian (@ToddHagopian)

Todd Hagopian received his BA from Eastern Michigan University with a major in Political Science. After graduation, he worked as a Financial Advisor and a Bank Manager before returning to school. He attended Michigan State University, where he completed an MBA with a double-major in Finance and Marketing. Todd is now a Senior Product Development Manager for a Fortune 500 company. He frequently writes about business issues, social media strategy, and political issues that he finds important. Enjoy the blog!

Posted on September 23, 2011, in Business Strategy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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