101 ways to get your customers to love you

101 ways to get your customer to love you

by Lucy Thornton of Perfect Balance Marketing

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Here are 5 ways
To make customers love you….

Imagine you have a small florist business that’s gearing up for the biggest event of the year: Valentines Day (topical, huh?). You’re competing with other local florists in your area, as well as the supermarkets, gas stations and even websites on the other side of the world that sell flowers online.

Standing out is crucial in any industry, whether it’s flowers, personalized gifts, wedding stationery or jewellery. With Valentines’ Day just around the corner, I’m publishing a new package of business resources that includes 101 ways you can get your customers to love you.

Here are five to start you off:

1. Guarantee your product or service
Generally we’re not a very trusting bunch, particularly when buying from a company we’ve never used before. We have tons of questions that stop us from clicking ‘Buy now‘…..

What if their product is rubbish?
What if they take our money and run?
What if their product falls to pieces after a week?

There’s no way to get answers to these questions before buying. So how can we, as small businesses, turn browsers into buyers? One way to reduce the risks for new customers is by giving them a watertight guarantee. Not one with masses of small print. Just a simple: If you’re not 100% delighted with your purchase, you’ll get your money back. There are laws about buying online – there is a cooling off period, customers are entitled to a refund if the goods don’t arrive within 30 days. But you can do more than that – be up front and honest, be proud of your product and your customers will realize it’s as good as you say it is.

PS Your product is brilliant, right? If you’re worried, you need to review your product range.

101 ways to get your customer to love you

2. Communicate often
When you sell something to someone in a store, they can see the whites of your eyes as they hand you their money. They walk away with their purchase safely wrapped up in a pretty bag and tucked under their arm.

But when buying online, you pay, and then you wait. And wait. And hope. And wonder. Where could your purchase be? Is it lost in the post? Did they receive your payment?

A simple communications process can remove this uncertainty. Here’s mine:
Step 1: Auto-reply thanking customer for their purchase, promising to post within 5 days
Step 2: Email your customer, offering matching products to the one they’ve purchased
Step 3: Within 5 days of original purchase, email customer to confirm package is on its way
Step 4: Within 2 weeks of posting, email customer to ensure they have received their purchase and request feedback

101 ways to get your customer to love you

3. Use good product photos
When I go shopping, touch is one of the top senses I use. I can’t resist feeling the cotton of a summer dress, the softness of fresh bread, or the luxury fabric of a minky baby blanket.

Unfortunately we haven’t yet reached the dizzy heights of sensory online retailing, so, until that happens (brief pause to gaze into the distance and visualize flying cars and wearing space suits), the best way to communicate your product features is through great pictures. There are masses of tutorials on taking product photos that work (see one of Etsy’s many excellent articles or this post from the brilliant design*sponge). Take the time to read them, practice what they recommend, and ask others what they think of your results.

But in a nutshell (a very small one*): Use natural light, striking people using your products, get up close, take pictures from unusual angles, have simple backgrounds… and practice, practice, practice.

* Apologies to those who know about this stuff. Hands up who wants a guest post on OMHG from someone more knowledgeable than I on photography? Me, me, me!

101 ways to get your customer to love you

4. Make friends (with non-competing businesses & offer joint deals)
Your customers buy from other businesses, as well as yours. They cheat on you all the time with other companies but you needn’t be jealous. You simply can’t offer everything they want (unless you’re Mr Walmart), but you can hook up with companies who do.

How about an example? If you make and sell curtains, your customers will most likely have windows, right? This presents an opportunity. When I had new windows put into our house last year, they were shiny, bright and gorgeous. I immediately wanted to get new curtains to make them look even more fab. If the window company had offered to include newly-made curtains, in a fabric of my choice (and increased the price accordingly), I’d have ordered some at the time without a second thought. Then once they’d finished installing the windows, and cleaned up the dust (which took me about 3 months) they could have put up a spangly curtain rail and my stunning new curtains.

What else might your customers want when they purchase from you? I bet you can list at least 5 things if you tried now – go on, do it…..

101 ways to get your customer to love you

5. Update your website’s homepage (often)
Vanilla homepages are one of my pet hates. I see websites all the time with something like the following on the homepage:

“[Name of business] sells a wide range of [insert product range] from [insert individual product] to [insert other individual product]. Our products are made with the finest [insert material] in [insert place name]. Use the links on the left/right to find what you‘re looking for.”

This is all very interesting, but this should be on the ‘About’ page, not the homepage. Your homepage is often the first thing your potential customers see when they land on your site and they’re normally looking for something in particular.

This month, they’ll be looking for Valentines’ gifts. In a couple of months, it will be Mothers’ Day. Then there are the seasons to think about – the colours that will be in the high street (yellows, greens and blues in Spring), the fabrics (rich luxurious mixes in Winter). There are changing headlines in the news all the time – tie in with these.

Take a look at some of the major retailers’ websites and see how they change their homepage copy depending on the season; see how they refer to special celebrations or current affairs in the site’s content.

And remember: keep changing your homepage; keep it fresh.

So take action today
You don’t need a huge marketing budget to do any of these things. They are all good effective steps to remove barriers that get in the way of clicking the ‘buy button’ for your buyers, so do just one of them today and see what happens.

Choose one, and do it now.

Then get the full list by downloading my newest Little Black Business Notebook, which includes ’101 ways to get your customers to love you’ and start getting to know your potential secret admirers right now.

{image credit: more love print via katrinarodabaugh, hello polly print via linotte, let’s be friends print via flywithme, there are lots of nice people to meet print via laurageorge, art print via HappyTownUSA}

Lucy Thornton helps small craft businesses grow, using effective marketing techniques that build reputation.  Check out her free ebook ‘41 Fresh Marketing Ideas for Your Business’ or grab the RSS feed from her website.  From her home in Cornwall, England, Lucy helps business start-ups overcome tricky marketing challenges and build their sales through great content and social media strategies.

12 comments

  1. Love, love, LOVE this post, Lucy! So many great tips for handmade sellers!

    I particularly enjoyed the section about communicating with customers while they wait for their purchases. Customers are often unsure about buying online anyway, and if they never hear from the seller about their order, they get nervous . . . and who can blame them?

    Thanks for a great post!

  2. Thanks April – there are so many ways to make your customers happy – just think how you’d like to be treated and what would make your customer experience better when you’re shopping online, then see if you can do the same for your customers.

    Good luck! Lucy x

  3. Thanks Milene and Moxielisa,

    A blog is a really effective way of building up your online profile and establishing relationships with your target audience.

    It’s easy to get carried away with posts about anything and everything when you have a blog, but as long as you stay focused on your niche you can really make it work for you.

    Check out my last OMHG post on how to market with no budget – there is more info on blogging there:

    http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/2011/contributors/how-to-market-your-small-business-with-no-budget/

    Thanks again, Lucy

  4. LaRee says:

    Uhmm, Walmart doesn’t have everything…. just saying… My husband took me shopping today which is rather unusual, I made him stop everywhere and he kept trying to convince me that the closest walmart had everything I could possibly need. Most clerks that overheard him sympathized with me saying just “MEN!” lol

    Thanks for the advice, much needed right now

  5. Tabassum says:

    Hi Lucy, I’m a new follower to your site and I must say that I have been enjoying your posts. I tried to open the “101 ways to get your customers to love you” and the page doesn’t exist. Is there any way to access it? I’m really interested to see what you suggest. Right now, I’m having a hard time getting my customers to engage. I start conversations, I post new activity quite often, we’re on twitter too posting different pieces of info, blogging, but nothing. I get a lot of views but only a couple of responses. What do you suggest? Thank you!

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