Loyal customers are the backbone of any successful business. We rely on our regular customers to keep the doors open and the bills paid, but even the most loyal customer will someday be gone – what happens then?
Maintaining customer relations is certainly an integral element to your business, but marketing to new customers is the true lifeblood of a thriving business. As consumers age and more competition crowds the marketplace, it is essential to acquire new customers regularly in order to strengthen your constantly-fluctuating consumer base. It is imperative that we as retailers do everything we can to make it easy for customers to shop with us. Quite simply, we need to give them a reason to return.
One key mistake many florists make is assuming that customers will be loyal. In a perfect world that might be true, but in reality you should never assume customer loyalty. You may have their current order, but the future is up to whoever earns their trust. With technology making it easier to create exceptional experiences for customers, we need to be sure we don’t take a single customer for granted, and we need to promote as much as possible to earn the next order.
Where to Start…
Finding new customers is a constant challenge with no universal “one-size-fits-all” solution. It’s an ongoing process that requires an aggressive approach and a mindset geared towards creative thinking.
- Assess your strengths – In the truest sense, marketing is simply getting people excited about your business. In order to do that, you have to give them a reason to choose your shop above everyone else. You have to sell them on your strengths, and let them know why they will benefit from shopping with you. Are you the most convenient? Do you have the lowest prices? Do you offer the highest quality and widest selection? Recognize what makes your flower shop stand out from the crowd and build your marketing strategy around that.
- Pound the pavement – It doesn’t take much thought to come up with the biggest fast food chains or largest cell phone providers – their names and logos are everywhere. How visible is your logo? The more visibility you create the better. Be an active member of your community and view every local event as an opportunity engage with potential new customers. Politicians spend countless hours shaking hands and kissing babies because they want to connect with people on a personal level in order to win their vote. Visibility is the key; customers won’t call if they don’t know you exist.
- Corporate accounts – Marketing focused on corporate accounts is also vital. Corporate accounts usually bring in big orders and big sales. Work hard at keeping current relationships active, and constantly search for new opportunities. Remember: businesses are constantly changing. Someone who told you “no” last year may be in a better situation this year. They could be waiting for your call right now.
Always keep in mind that you can never have “too many” customers – there simply is no such thing. You may have too many orders at a given time, but after that rush is over, can you be certain that all those customers will return next time? If not, who will replace them when they’re gone?