How to nurture your relationship with your existing customers

If you’re a small business, you put a lot of time and energy (and possibly money) towards gaining new customers. You build your social media profiles, educate people on why your product or service is the perfect solution to their problem and try to get your brand out there.

But what about your existing customers? What about the people that have already purchased from you? How much time do you spend thinking about how to nurture your relationship with them? 

If you’re wondering why you should spend time nurturing the relationship with your existing customers here are some helpful stats:

  • Increasing your customer retention by 5% can increase profits by anything from 25% to 95% (link)

  • 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers (link)

  • Repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers (link)

Insider knowledge alert: Customer retention is the corporate name for the actions companies take to prevent customers leaving their business.

Outside of the pure profit reasons to nurture your relationship with existing customers, it’s also a great way of helping turn your customers into fans that spread the word about how fantastic your company is. Also - like with most customer service strategies - it also is a nice thing to do as a human being.

So - how do you nurture your relationship with your existing customers? I have four different suggestions below:

A loyalty program

I tend to think that the traditional loyalty program (where you earn points to go towards a free product or to reduce your price at checkout) works best with a business that sells a larger volume of products (such as a natural beauty company like Nourished Life). 

If you have a higher price point business or a seasonal product business instead of a “loyalty” program, you could offer early bird prices to existing customers via your mailing list. Before your next line launches send an email to all your existing clients offering them a chance to get access to the line early and either a discounted price or free shipping. 

Thank your customers when they don’t expect it

The first time I donated to Oz Harvest they called me to say thank you. It completely blew me away that they would take the time to give me a CALL to say thanks for donating $20. Additionally, they weren’t trying to “upsell” to me or encourage me to sign up for regular donations. Their only goal was to call me to say thanks for donating to their cause.

To this day I appreciate how classy this move was, and I have since donated very regularly to them and now even volunteer for them. It’s a cause I feel very strongly about anyway, but I can say that getting that phone call cemented them in my mind as a charity worth supporting.

So, when can you thank your customers unexpectedly? Can you send personal thank you emails on your business anniversary? Send them a birthday message? The point is not to try and encourage a sale - the aim is JUST to say thank you.

Extra points: There is a considerable amount of research on the value of gratitude - so saying thank you is beneficial for you too!

Ask for feedback (and act on it)

Encouraging feedback is one of my favourite ways to nurture your existing customers, but it is important that you take action, so it’s not just an empty gesture. When you do act on feedback from your customers, make sure to let them know. 

In addition - you can involve your customers in the actual production of your products. Get them to vote on a colour choice for your next release of products, or ask them to choose a new product to add to your range from a list of options. Involving them in the process gives them more agency.

Educate your customers

Someone purchasing from you (whether it’s a product or a service) is just the start. That purchase is the perfect excuse to then stay present in your customer's inbox or social media feed by educating them on how to get the most out of their purchase. Here are some suggestions:

  • Styling tips for your jewellery, sunglasses or clothing

  • Tutorials for your makeup or hair products (Luxy Hair is a great example)

  • How to use your product (Oui Fresh has been doing this with their essential oils both through their blog and Instagram stories + Get to Work Book uses Instagram to show how people use the different sections of the planner)

  • What’s next? If you’ve designed a new website, can you send some helpful links for writing an about page, structuring their sales pages or starting a blog?

  • A podcast expanding on a particular topic (Femtreprenuer has a podcast about creating courses (which is the goal of their products) which help people work through some of the issues, problems and concerns that might come up in designing their course)

Insider knowledge alert: Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves creating valuable and relevant content to attract and educate your ideal customer. All of the above is content marketing, and it is my FAVOURITE marketing technique - because it’s indistinguishable from customer service.