Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Make the First Visit Count

Many a small business is frustrated by the lack of word of mouth they receive from their customers. Even their loyal customers won't talk about them. But that's not a surprise.

Often, it's not your long-time customers that spread the news about you; it's the customer who visits your business for the very first time.

Excitement is the key.
Customers are more likely to talk about something that's fresh and new. They are excited that they made a discovery and they want to share that experience with others.

To get instant word of mouth, make a customer's first visit to your business memorable. To immediately grab a new customer you need a magic spot: a memory anchor that your new customer can refer to when they start talking about you. It's a memorable moment that's outside a normal customer experience.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Give customers a surprise bonus. On a recent visit to a restaurant, the server found out it was my first visit and brought me a free surprise appetizer. I didn't know it was coming before I received it.
  2. Ask for their input. People like to feel important. When you get a first-time customer, take them aside and tell them you would like a fresh perspective and some honest feedback on the business. Ask them what they really liked about their experience, then ask them what they would like to see changed, added or improved. When they tell you, write it down in front of them and genuinely thank them. Ask them for their email address or phone number in case you have some questions later.
  3. Make them feel like they are part of a new group. "Your a first time customer? We like to think of our customers as extended family." Then give them a t-shirt with your logo and tag line and say "Welcome to our family." It sounds silly, but the power of a t-shirt is amazing. If you have an salon or an upscale shop, be creative and make it a tie-die or t-shirt with a unique design.
  4. Give them inside information. Nothing sensitive of course. Tell them you get new merchandise shipments on Tuesday and all the new models so come on Wednesdays to get the first shot at all the cool stuff. Got a sale that starts next week but hasn't been advertised yet? Let the customer know. You should never pay retail prices for clothing at Jos. A Bank because they always have a sale. But my salesmen tells me when the corporate club sales are around the corner with even bigger discounts.

So make the first visit count. Create a magic spot for first time visitors. That's when their most excited...and most likely to spread the word about you.

For small business lessons and marketing advice, see our other blog: The Marketing Spot
Our company website: www.themarketingspot.com/

No comments: