When a customer makes their first purchase with you, it can feel like a victory. But it’s only the beginning.  Real business leaders know that the key to long term success is to turn those all-important first sales into long-term relationships. It takes work, dedication and creating experiences that make customers feel special.

Loyal customers are far better marketing tools than any fancy advertising campaign could ever be. It’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve that will help you turn yours into your promoters, so let’s take a look at some tried and tested strategies.

Make good use of your social media

No big brand can make it in this modern world without a strong social media following, and the same goes for businesses of all sizes. Going online is about much more than simply finding another platform for selling your products; it’s about interaction. When you communicate with customers and show them how much you value their input and opinions, they’ll start to feel like they know you. People buy from people, so creating a really engaging social media experience where you answer questions, share ideas and show you listen pays dividends.

Meet face to face

Customer service bots can be a fantastic tool for facilitating simple transactions, but they have to be good. Savvy consumers can tell a bot a mile off, and they don’t always like them. Even in this digital age, nothing can ever replace good old-fashioned human contact, so make sure you give your customers the opportunity to talk to a living, breathing person.

Holding events is another great way to connect with customers and create a real buzz about your business. Think about your target audience and plan an event they’ll love, using social media to advertise, build excitement and share videos and pictures.

Make customer service your priority

Unfortunately, people are much more likely to go online to talk about negative customer experiences than great ones. You might have had a brilliant week with hundreds of happy customers, but one slightly disgruntled one will be the person everyone else gets to hear about.

Complaints happen in all businesses, it’s how you handle them that counts. Even if you disagree with the customer’s comments, it’s imperative that you respond in a polite, respectful manner and show them you’re taking them seriously. Personalized responses help to ease the situation, and you’ll need to clearly explain what steps you’re going to take to ensure a satisfactory conclusion.

Always go above and beyond for your customers, and see complaints as an opportunity to learn and grow instead of a negative waste of energy.

Be generous

One of the best ways to show someone you care is to present them with a gift. It doesn’t have to be big (it’s the thought that counts, after all) but everyone loves a freebie. A simple thank you card, a bunch of flowers or money off voucher can all keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds.

Customer loyalty programs are a great way to build brand loyalty and boost sales, while referral programs can help you reach out to a wider audience. Any gesture that goes beyond a simple sales transaction and shows your customers you care about them is a great way to set yourself apart from the competition.

Always remember, without customers you have nothing. Treat yours well and they’ll be your ultimate marketing team.

To find out more about building brand loyalty, contact Ethos today.

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