For any business, customer acquisition is the main focus. There are books, articles, twitter chats, webinars, and blogs all discussing how to get more customers. The greater the market share, the better your business is doing. However, the best way to grow your business isn’t by getting new customers but’ it’s by rewarding your existing ones. Increasing the number of times your current and happy customers revisit and come back to your restaurant or bar lead to increased cash flow.
Loyal customers are only a small percentage of your business, but they are your most important. It is worthy to note that “80 percent of revenue will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers,” according to Gartner Group. By focusing on gaining new customers, your business is losing out on 80 percent of its possible revenue. The current loyal customer is a customer base you cannot afford to ignore.
So how do you focus on loyal customers? Digital loyalty is one great strategy. Ask customers for their cell numbers, birthday information, and email addresses is the way to go. Loyal customers already love your brand, restaurant and food, so don’t be shy about sending emails or text messages. Being the first to know about new promotions and products will keep them interested and connected with your brand. Find out their birthday and anniversary so you can send personalized messages. If you care about their special day, they’ll want to spend it with you and at your restaurant and bar. Encourage customers to “like” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, or tag you in their Instagram pictures. Their friends will see this engagement, which creates new customers, but also deepens their relationship with you. An Earthlink study found that, “28 percent of retailers that provided in-store features, such as WI-FI, had an increase of customer loyalty.”
Loyal customers should also be rewarded. Without them, your business wouldn’t survive. According to Bain and Co., “increasing loyalty by just 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.” Offer them rewards for dining with you after a certain number of times. Send them exclusive emails specials before anyone else. Periodically thank your customer for continually patronizing your restaurant and ask how you can improve their experience. It’s hard to please everyone, but this is the type of customer you must please the most.
Customer loyalty is a lot like dating. Going out on dates with a lot of people is fun and exciting, but in the end, you want to find “the one.” In business, “the one,” (your loyal customer) had already found you. They love your restaurant and visit with you frequently; this type of customer has already done all the work. Now it’s up to you to reward them and maintain the relationship. New customers are needed for a business, but loyal ones are necessary to keep it afloat.Tags: facebook apps, growing your restaurant, guest loyalty, loyalty, marketing strategies for restaurants, new customers, restaurant, restaurant marketing ideas, restaurant social media, rewards