6 Ways to Develop Repeat Customers

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing’s own Kala Linck – Enjoy!

You may have heard us talk about the Marketing Hourglass. The Marketing Hourglass refers to the entire customer journey, from when they first hear about your brand, to when they decide to purchase from your brand, to when they become a loyal customer and refer your brand to other potential customers. This technique, we’ve found, is the best way to find and secure business.

The bottom of the hourglass (“Repeat” and “Refer”) can be neglected when so much energy is going into finding and converting new clients and customers. Now that you’ve secured the business or converted the lead, you’re celebrating! Plus, you’re exhausted from all of the work it takes to make a sale or gain a customer. Today, I’m going to help you make sure that your clients are repeating. It’s vital that your customers return to your business a second and third time. When they become repeat customers, you rely less on the energy for new customers because

a) you’ve got customers coming back, and

b) those customers can refer you to new customers.

Products and services are different, which is why I put together three tips for each on things you can do to ensure you keep those customers coming back for more.


Photo via PhotoPIn

Photo via PhotoPIn

Let’s start with services. There is a lot of pressure on the service industry to provide continuous support. Just one bad experience can turn a customer against you, and these things can help prevent that from happening and keep them coming back for more. The key is to be the most convenient offering of your particular service. You can do this by:

  1. Offer packages. If you offer packages, you’ll provide an immediate reason for a customer to keep coming back to you – at least until their package is over – giving you plenty of time to provide great customer service. By the end of their package, they won’t want to go anywhere else! A great example of this is something I recently experienced when I needed an eye exam. It’s necessary that each time I go in for an exam, I purchase contacts. So, by purchasing one eye exam and getting the next two free, my eye doctor is guaranteeing that I will make my next two contact purchases from them.
  2. Send reminders. One reason that I keep going back to my dentist is because every six months, they call to remind me that it’s time for a regular cleaning. When they call me, we schedule my appointment. Now, remembering to go to the dentist is one less thing that I need to do, and it’s that convenience that makes me a repeat customer.
  3. Offer an unexpected bonus. Many times, what we pay for is what we get. We can pay to get our yard mowed from seven different lawn companies, and when we get home we see that our lawn has, indeed, been mowed. Stand out from the other lawn companies by spending an additional half hour edging the sidewalk for a client. They will see the difference, and it will help them to remember to call you when they need lawn care again.


Photo via PhotoPin

Photo via PhotoPin

What about products? All products, but especially if you’ve got a lot of competitors, need to ensure customers get value out of your product so that they will continue to make purchases. With products, you’ve got a margin to contend to. What are some subtle differences that you can offer without diminishing that margin? Here are three ideas that can help you maintain your customer base:

  1. Provide fast shipping. I don’t think I’m the only one that gets thrilled when something I ordered gets to me at the low end of the projected shipping timeline. Three days is certainly better than five! There is minimal that you can do when the package leaves your warehouse to head to your customer, but what can you do on the front end to speed up your process? Knowing how long packages take to get to your customers is the first step. Make sure your projections are accurate, under promise and over deliver, and if necessary, make some changes in your process to get your customers what they purchased faster.
  2. Offer points. Credit card companies have been doing this for years, but now products are starting to see the benefits of offering a points system. Much like the rewards program at your favorite lunch spot that you keep going back to because you’re SO close to that free lunch, rewards programs are a great way to stay in touch with customers and build loyal fans.
  3. Use special packaging. When packaging is personal or nicer than your average crushed box, customers are more likely to buy again. Most everyone wants to feel special. Whether it’s putting your product in a decorative paper bag with crepe paper before they walk out the door or adding a special customer note in their package when you ship it, that little touch of something extra will help your customer remember you for their next purchase.

There are many ways that your can make your customers feel like they are spending their money in the right place, and these are just a few that I have found to keep me coming back for more. You’ve probably been thinking about your product or service throughout this post. Have you come up with any ideas to implement into your customer journey? Or is there something that you already do that is effective? If so, please share below!

IMG_2750Kala is the Community Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. She’s a specialist in digital marketing, who loves nothing more than picking up a newspaper and tuning into the local stations. She’s worked with clients spanning a variety of industries and knows that people are the heart of a successful business. She loves to travel and try new foods, and documents her travels in her blog. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.


Treat Your Customers Like the RASCLS They Are

 It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network Member Scott Stern. Enjoy!

ARC---HourglassIf you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably familiar with John’s Marketing Hourglass. You’re probably not familiar, however, with the CIA’s Agent Recruitment Cycle (ARC).

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking right now. “I thought this was a marketing blog. Why are we talking about how the CIA recruits spies?”

Well, as a former CIA officer-turned-marketer, I can tell you that the Hourglass and the ARC describe a similar process—with surprisingly similar goals—and are effective for similar reasons. The structural similarities between the two are interesting and you can read more about that here, but what’s more important is why they work and how you can use that understanding in your business.

The most relevant concept here is one called RASCLS. I first encountered the idea in a CIA training course and, briefly, it describes the six universal principles of influence and persuasion (according to Dr. Robert Cialdini). Each of these can be applied throughout the Marketing Hourglass to help guide your offerings and content.

The 6 Principles of RASCLS

  • Reciprocation – Simply, people feel an obligation to reciprocate in kind when someone gives them something. Case officers are trained to always provide amenities, like tea or food, to an agent since it unconsciously triggers in an agent the drive to supply something in return. This is also why the “try” phase of the Hourglass works and is so important. Your provision of something at little or no cost to your customer creates an immediate bond and engenders a sense that they need to provide something in return.
  • Authority – People naturally respond to authority figures.  Case officers are trained to be confident in their tradecraft and knowledge and to subtly emphasize their position of authority in comparison to the asset. You shouldn’t try to emphasize your authority over a customer, but do take the time to establish yourself as an authority in your industry or on whatever it is you’re selling.
  • Scarcity – Not even spies can escape the laws of supply and demand. Case officers emphasize use this to their advantage to both force their developmental assets to agree to recruitment (by implying it’s a limited time offer) or to get better and deeper information by implying some kind of “pressure from Washington.” Try to add a sense of immediacy to any call to action or sales message. This is as simple as changing a download button from reading “Download” to “Download Today.” Just don’t overdo it.
  • Commitment and Consistency – There’s the idea out there that CIA officers use and discard assets and show no regard to their safety. This actually isn’t the case at all. We’ve learned that by showing assets our deep commitment to them and their safety and then being consistent in our actions on that commitment, we earn their trust and loyalty and they are more driven to work for us. The same is true for your relationship with your customers. A consistent commitment to quality products and service will create better customers.
  • Liking – I was once in a training course on recruitment for non-case officers. We were taught to work hard to find something that we shared in common with the developmental, a shared like of a type of book, music, whatever. And if you couldn’t find something, you just made it up. You shouldn’t go that far with your customers, but you do want to try to get them to genuinely like you. People are far more likely to do things with and for people they like. Use that.
  • Social Proof – This is a tough one in intel, but an easy one in business. Case officers most traditionally use this by implying information from other sources as a way to get their asset to admit or divulge something they may be holding back. Alternatively, it’s something a case officer must keep in mind as something they have to overcome to successfully recruit the asset – no social system in the world looks kindly on those who commit espionage. In a business, your social proofs are your referrals, testimonials, or other public demonstration that others know, like, trust, and buy from you.

headshot-150Scott Stern founded Red Stripe Strategy, a small business marketing consulting agency in Chicago, after eight years as an analyst and targeter at the CIA. He applies the skills developed there to help companies develop and implement marketing strategies that speak directly to their ideal customers. Red Stripe Strategy is an inbound marketing certified HubSpot partner agency. Check out our website to schedule a free consultation and get your free Small Business Marketing Quick Start Kit. Or just come say hi on LinkedInTwitter, or Facebook.


The Power of Gratitude in Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing, and today’s guest post is from Nicole Kohler – Enjoy! As a business owner, you probably say the phrase “thank you” multiple times a day without thinking about it. You thank your employees…

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