this post is submitted by Anna Cruz of PrintPlace.com
Customers that you have served in the past or are serving now are an excellent resource for future sales. Some customers may just need to be reminded to make a purchase, and you will be rewarded with their repeated business. Others may not need your product or service, but they will know someone who will. Plus, encouraging your customers to market your business gives you one more low-cost way to promote your company.
Give your customers a reason for referrals
If you give your customers a reason to give a referral, they may be more likely to give it. Try an incentive program for referrals every year. You could offer a prize to the customer with the most referrals. Or you could give a small gift to everyone who gives 5 referrals. Try out a few different options to see which ones work the best.
Give your customers brochures and other marketing materials to pass out
You probably already hand out your business cards to each and every customer you have. In addition to business cards, you can also give your customers brochures and flyers. Have your customers use the brochures to share your information and gain referrals. If you have referral incentives in place, your customers will welcome tools like brochures to help them.
Offer excellent service that is worthy of referrals
If you do a great job, then your customers will automatically refer you. That is the way word of mouth advertising works. If you make your customers happy, then they will tell their friends to go to you when they need your service or product. Incentives help motivate, but they are no replacement for great customer service.
Create an online peer forum for customer support
One way to create an atmosphere of community among your customers is to start a peer forum. A forum is a great avenue for sharing information and answering questions about your product. Your customers can be your customer support for you. In this way, your customers can encourage others to join them in this user-friendly company that you have established.
Great customer service and a well-managed referral incentive program should be enough to bring in new customers plenty. If you are not already implementing these strategies, now is the time to start.
About the Author: Anna Cruz writes about marketing, advertising, branding, graphic design and desktop publishing. Anna works for PrintPlace.com, an online printing company that offers brochures, posters, postcards, business cards and more printed marketing media.