Attracting and Retaining Customers

Attracting & Retaining Customers Header

I worked for a large retail drug chain early in my career, and we once had a training class on “embracing your inner 4-year-old”. I thought it humorous at the time, but as the training went on, I understood it and it became a cornerstone of my thought process.

When a 4-year-old wants something, they are relentless in their quest to achieve it. They won’t quit until they have it, often pivoting, changing direction, and accessing a level of creativity that is unparalleled. What does this have to do with marketing? Everything.

Marketing for your business has to have 2 things.

  1. A goal
  2. A plan

Once you have a goal, meaning, once you know what you want, then you need to formulate a plan to achieve it. Your city won’t allow signs? no problem. Make windshield visors for your employees, have them put them in their car windows, and park facing the traffic. Problem solved. No money for advertising? No problem. Work on cross promotion ideas with compatible businesses.

Social media? Let your customers be actively involved with your business and engage with them regularly. Our customers vote on who they like doing business with every day, and they vote with their money and are often the best form of advertisement. The only bad marketing plan, is no marketing plan. Use what you have available to you. Be relentless in your goal of achieving it, be willing to pivot, move, and be creative, and most of all, make it fun!

Once your marketing efforts brings traffic into your shop, your image is everything. In our business, expectations are usually pretty low. Our customers don’t expect a clean store, and really, don’t require it. What we discovered is that giving our customers more than they expected included everything in our stores. From customer service, to loaning and buying fairly, to the way the store looked and even smelled.

Henry Ford once purchased a coal mining operation during the growth of Ford Motor Company, and he immediately painted all of the houses white, and required the employees to wear white uniforms. He believed that employees should be proud of where they worked, and the cleanliness of the workplace was as important as how they were treated. We found that our associates were proud to come to work at a place that valued them as well as the customers enough to make sure the work environment was neat and clean, and the pride became evident in their work ethic and engagement with the company.

Keep your stores clean, and show your associates and customers that you respect them enough to make it a priority. You and your business won’t regret it.