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Retail Marketing: Maximizing your customer list

Last Updated: March 8, 2014

Written by Seth Lui

In my previous article 5 tips to list building for retail, I showed you various tips to building a retail marketing mailing list which is very different from online list building. The understanding of human psychology is the same, but has to be applied to suit the brick and mortar situation.

In fact, retail list building might even be faster than online if your website does not have good traffic or an online presence. A customer list can be as detailed as having the address of your customer, mobile number, or just having an email. Depending on the value of your business, higher value service and products will require higher levels of connection e.g a written letter to home address. Conversely,  it is not efficient to send a $1 card with postage to a prospect to pitch a $2 product.

A company has to build and guard it’s customer list for 2 main reasons: driving sales any time you need it, and keeping customers connected to your brand. Start marketing even if you have 10 names in your list, and slowly build from there. You might think it’s not worth the effort, but it is a discipline that has to be started early.

Here are some ideas on what you can do with your list:

1. Send a weekly or monthly Newsletter

Good newsletters take quite a lot of effort to create, but can give a lot of detailed information about your company, product and how your readers can use it in their life. Let your customers become more familiar with the founders personally as well as keep in touch. Many customers are only aware of one aspect of your business and you might be losing business because they do not know you offer other services. This is one of the most commonly used tactics in direct marketing.

2. Thank your users

A simple thank you might be all it takes to make a client come back again. It’s so simple yet many  businesses do not show this gratitude that every customer deserves.

3. Ask for feedback

With a mailing list, it is so much easier to get surveys done and customer feedback. Feedback is critical to any business, but getting a good sample response size is the tough part if you do not have any personal contact with your customer. Just spamming it on Facebook or social media will get you a fraction of responses compared to an email request.

4. Send them offers and generate sales

The most practical reason for having a customer contact list is so that you can send them new offers, and instantly get sales revenue. You will turn a certain percentage of customers depending on how well structured your message and offer is, but it is undeniable that you will get results for close to no cost. My favourite methods are to use emails (free) or short-messaging-service ($0.o6/sms) via their mobile phones. Birthday offers or anniversary offers are something you should consider using very regularly.

5. Announce new products

Any new product that your company launches can easily reach your customers if you have a list. Awareness is key in promoting any new product and evaluating it’s success quickly, rather than waiting for the market to slowly hear about it. It could be a concept change, or even a new company/collaboration that you are trying to promote.

6. Drive them to your social media

Easily build your social media audience once you have a good sized mailing list by driving them to your social media pages. You want to appear on as many media platforms as possible to you customers, so that you are seen and heard often thus keeping you in their minds.

As you can see, there are many ways to make use of your customer list. Retail marketing in many cases grossly under use their list even though they have a huge one from all the transactions. A company is worth many times more if it has a customer list in hand. A competitor buying over any company looks at it’s customer list first and foremost. Some people might consider selling their list to list-brokers as well, but I think that’s a short-term cash solution and shouldn’t be used regularly. Your customers might not be too happy about it if they find out.

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