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How to Attract and Retain Customers

The title of today’s post mirrors the topic of discussion I am leading during today’s New York Times Small Business Summit for AMEX OPEN.

It’s certainly a big topic, but I love that attract and retain are used in the same setting because they are certainly linked arm in arm in a business that wants to build any kind of marketing momentum. In fact, you could argue, and I do, they are one in the same.

Far too often marketers spend all of their attention on the chase and the sale and not enough on the retain and remarkable experience. The funny thing is if you get great at the later, the former will take care of itself.

Actually, I’m not a fan of the word retain, it seems a bit like satisfy. The real magic is referral and that comes from something a little more over the top.

Here’s the system I plan to share today.

You attract by building know, like and trust:

  • You must know whom you are ideally suited to attract
  • You must be able to communicate a difference that makes you stand out
  • You must create content that addresses a need of a narrowly defined customer
  • You must advertise and generate word of mouth buzz surrounding your content
  • You must be in so many places and linked to so many sources that you are easily found
  • You must build a team of strategic partners, sponsors and customer champions willing to help prospects find you

You retain customers by focusing on repeat and referral

  • You must study every potential customer contact point and turn it into a remarkable experience
  • You must develop a customer orientation process as part of your lead conversion process
  • You must communicate fully, often and truthfully during transactions and service
  • You must build follow-up routines that include opportunities to share additional education, training and content
  • You must create a process that allows you to measure and communicate the value you product or service has delivered to a customer
  • You must stop what you are doing often and show appreciation fully
  • You must find ways to bring your customers together and facilitate building community for them
  • You must expect to receive a referral from 100% of your customers and help them bring value to others they would like to help

Accomplishing everything on the both lists above is the secret to success for any business, regardless of industry or geography – there’s actually nothing very hard about it, the key is intention.

If you intend to thrill every customer, you will attract and retain.

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