No, customers aren’t bloodsuckers (well, maybe a few are!) and they don’t come out only at night. According to legend, vampires don’t come in until they are invited. And that’s true of customers, too.
You may think you’ve invited your customers. After all, you put up signs identifying your store, got a web site, placed ads, sent press releases, networked, put out fliers, etc.
Those things can let your customers know you exist, but to be effective they should include invitations to customers. That doesn’t mean sending actual invitations, it means creating a reason for them to come, and communicating that reason to them. I’m talking about giving customers a call to action.
First, make sure you know what you want them to do. Do you want them to contact you for more information, pay a visit, make a first purchase, make larger or more frequent purchases? Once you know what results you want, you can tailor a call to action which inspires that reaction.
Are you trying to build traffic at your physical or online location? Your communication might focus more on reasons for people to visit, and less on buying.
Have traffic that you’re trying to convert to sales? Encourage them to make a purchase by offering a limited-time discount, or something free with a purchase. Offer a guarantee.
Want business from customers you haven’t seen in a while? Entice them. Let them know what’s new. A hair salon changed ownership, and there were problems. Most of the stylists left, service was spotty, and lots of customers quit using them, including me. I got a postcard inviting me to come back and see the changes they made. While not saying, ‘Yeah, we stunk, but now we’re better,’ they told about their new amenities and offered me a special price on my next visit. I went, and was impressed. I’ll go back. They recovered a lost customer by inviting me to come back.
Here are a few more examples of calls to action:
Hold an event, such as an open house, seminar or product demonstration, to encourage people to come at a specific time.
Send out coupons with an expiration date to create a sense of urgency.
Give something away to people who visit or contact you.
Institute a frequent buyer club. For example, after I get my dog groomed six times, the seventh groom is free. It keeps me coming back to the same place.
Encourage customers to invite their friends to do business with you. After all, an invitation from a trusted friend is great incentive. Reward both the customer and the friend–give them each a small gift, or have special ‘two-fer’ pricing giving a discount.
Don’t leave your customers wandering around aimlessly–invite them in!