Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Newsletters and repeat business

Repeat business is so important, so precious, like a gift and a vote of confidence all rolled into one. Successful small businesses know this very well. It is their very lifeblood. If you own a business on the internet, it won’t take you long to come to realize that repeat customers and repeat visitors are like gold.

Repeat business is like an investment that deposits a dividend into your account each month. Far from being a sporadic thing, or a one-time deal, repeat business should become the very foundation of your business. It is the “base income” or “residual income” that you can depend on each month, to be supplemented by your new sales efforts. Only a fool, such as a car dealer in a large city, would depend upon one-time new business income alone, and forego almost entirely the gold mine of repeat business.

How do you get repeat visitors, repeat customers? You do it just like Mom and Pop at the neighborhood grocery store used to do. You treat people right. You get to know them as well as you can. You make them comfortable. You give them what they’re looking for. You make them part of the family. And most importantly, you treat them as respected people, even when they aren’t buying anything from you.

If you treat your visitors, customers, like a piece of meat--like car dealers do--you may end up making a one-time sale, but you’ll never see them again. When people think about their car-buying experiences, they cringe with disgust. Car dealers make you want to go home and take a shower. You feel dirty when you leave. Car dealers are the spammer equivilent of the retail world. But you knew that.

Yes, I haven’t forgotten--I’m still talking about newsletters. Honest I am.

2 comments:

Rebecca Smeyer said...

I know this is old, but nice post. I'll have to keep this in mind, because I plan on running my own business soon. I've normally thought about starting a business from scratch, but lately I've been thinking about buying one instead. I'm not sure what kind I would want to do. Does anyone have any suggestions? Advice? Thanks.

Alice Culligan said...

@Rebecca -- If you plan on buying a business, make sure to do your due diligence! Especially so in times like these. That being said, there are sites where you can gauge what's available in your area. There's one called BizTrader.com, which is this online global marketplace where you can buy or sell a business. You can also use it to find a lender, broker, or buy a franchise. I also suggest looking into your local small business groups. They should have a good idea on what's going on in your neighborhood.

Good luck!