Part 3 of the “Marketing Hourglass” covered the purchase stage of the customer lifecycle, make sure you read it here. Part 4 is focused on making the most of each and every new client. One of the most universal truths in business is that it is cheaper to keep a customer than to create a new one. The past 3 articles have focused on the top of the Marketing Hourglass. You start by spreading awareness of your business to as many people as possible. Next you work on nurturing potential clients through the consideration stage. Finally, you put on your salesman hat and close the deal. All told, you worked really hard and forked over hard earned dollars to book new business. If you had to earn every new client from scratch you would be in the sales and marketing business not the fishing and hunting business. Also, the lifetime value of your new customer would be low, basically the value of one trip. Use these tips to maximize customer loyalty, drive repeat bookings from your existing clientele, and fill up your calendar as quickly and efficiently as possible. When you create loyal customers you also improve their lifetime value by many thousands of dollars. Now the return on your investment (ROI) to acquire a customer becomes vastly more favorable.
Awareness – People realize they have a need (Ex. to go fishing or hunting) and become aware that your company offers that service.
Consideration – During this phase of the buying process you want your brand to be top-of-mind as the buyer begins to actively evaluate their options.
Purchase – The age old tradition of closing the deal.
Loyalty – As the saying goes “it is much cheaper to keep a customer than to create a new one.”
Advocacy – A loyal customer has an unmatched influence on a potential customer, so turn your loyal customers into advocates and grow your business in the most efficient way possible.
1. Give them a Great Experience
The first step to building customer loyalty is making sure that everyone who hires you has a great experience. It is important to understand that the experience starts before they even become a client. Make sure to streamline the booking process, communicate clearly, and follow through on expectations. The next part of providing a great experience is during the adventure itself. Clients will notice that you are prepared, your equipment is in clean and working condition, and that you have a great attitude. Sometimes the fish aren’t biting, the weather isn’t cooperating, or the game is scarce. (Most) Hunters and fishermen understand that, as a guide, you have limited control over certain factors. Even when the hunting and fishing is tough you will build a lot of credit with a client by maintaining a positive attitude and never giving up on the day. Lastly, thanking your client with a thoughtful follow up is a great personal touch that will build on your relationship after the adventure is over. If you aren’t getting as much repeat business as you want, start by asking your past clients about their experience. You can even include a customer experience survey as part of the thank you / follow up communication for every client. The bottom line is, obviously, if someone has a great experience they will be easily convinced to hire you again.
2. Communicate Frequently
Fortunately, if you follow the steps laid out in the Consideration Stage article you have a significant portion of this communication in place already. You want to stay in front of and top of mind for your existing book of business, or past clients. You will have several ways to stay in front of past clients including email, social media, and even direct mail. Trip reports, photos, tips and tricks, and seasonal information will keep sportsmen entertained while also keeping your brand in the forefront of their minds. You should have an email address for all of your past clients but you should also encourage them to follow you on social media. Facebook, Twitter, even Snapchat and other social media channels are used heavily by sportsmen. Social media is a multipurpose multimedia marketing tool. You can communicate to a large audience by using a combination of written text, photos, and videos. The same piece of content can help you grow your audience, close new deals, and build customer loyalty. Don’t underestimate the impact that regular posts on social media can deliver if done correctly. While many sportsmen use social media to indulge our passion for hunting and fishing you shouldn’t limit communication to social media. Put together a newsletter to your book of business every month or every season that includes a recap of what has been going on as well as a forecast for what is coming up. You can also promote specific deals, promotions, or perks. Lastly, direct mail is not dead! You might want to test out a holiday card thanking your past clients or a flyer on a discount or promotion.
3. Create Perks for Repeat Clients
In retail, the go-to method to build customer loyalty is to offer perks. Think of it like the chicken and the egg. Are customers loyal because of the perks, or do you reward loyal customers with perks? At the end of the day it probably doesn’t really matter. You can use your email newsletters, direct mail, and potentially social media to advertise perks to your past clients. Also, remember that repeat customers are already providing a great ROI to your business if that helps justify the perks. Here are a few ideas of perks that you can offer existing clients to incentivize them to book again:
- Offer existing clients first-come-first-served booking for the upcoming season
- Send out last minute deals on un-booked dates for loyal customers
- Offer frequent purchaser incentives, like a discount every third trip
- Include extra services for repeat customers
- Reduce the deposit you require from loyal sportsmen when they book a trip
Read our article to learn more about using discounts, promotions, and giveaways effectively.
If you have any great incentives you use to generate repeat business please share them with us!
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