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From Idea to First Customer: Creating Happy Customers

Written by Dan Magill on October 1, 2020 Blog, Sell Online.

Now that you have a plan for shipping your products, it’s time to focus on making buyers happy so that you can grow from your first customer to your first hundred.

Navigate the Journey

Part One: Choosing an Audience
Part Two: Finding a Problem to Solve
Part Three: Selling It Before You Make It
Part Four: Creating the Product
Part Five: Choosing an Operating System
Part Six: Getting Your Product to Your Customer
Part Seven: Creating Happy Customers

Customer loyalty is the key to a profitable business. Forbes reports that it can cost five times more to attract a new customer than to sell to an existing one, and other research has found that if you can increase your customer retention rate by just 5%, your profits will soar by 25% to 95%. 

Why is this true?

Because not only is it easier to sell to a customer a second time, they tend to make bigger purchases, refer you to their friends, write five-star reviews, and engage with you on social media or email. 

The takeaway is simple: Do everything possible to keep your customers happy. Happy customers are loyal customers. They keep coming back, spend more, and become your ambassadors and your biggest fans.

Seven ways to make your customers happy

1. Communicate with shoppers

In part six of this series, you learned how to create a positive shipping experience that keeps your costs down. If you follow those guidelines, the great majority of products you ship should arrive on time and undamaged. 

But if something does go wrong and your customer contacts you, go out of your way to make the situation right. Respond quickly. Be thorough. Offer solutions or alternatives. If there’s no good fix, offer refunds or discounts on their next purchase. 

Shoppers are often understanding when things go wrong that are outside of your control. The most important thing to them is how you respond. Being polite, friendly, and apologetic will minimize their frustration.

2. Make delivery a delight

There’s always a bit of a rush when you receive a package. It’s sort of like getting a birthday present. You don’t always remember what you ordered, so you get a little excited about what’s inside. 

Capitalize on that feeling by spoiling, surprising, delighting, and appreciating your customer. 

Include a thank you note at the bare minimum. Handwritten is better than printed. Use a nice card or an envelope with quality paper. If humor is appropriate for your product, use it. 

package from l'affinage with a thank you note inside
Image ©

In addition, you could surprise them with a free gift or a limited-time coupon for their next purchase. Include a fun element in your packaging. Here are more ways to delight with your product packaging

3. Follow up immediately after purchase

Before they’ve even received their shipment, send them an automated email that includes things like new customer coupons, free gift offers with a second purchase, or suggested products that might appeal to them. 

And thank them for their purchase. 

By showing them appreciation for spending money on your products or services, you give them a reason to remember you. WooCommerce offers a variety of ways for you to send automated emails so you never forget this critical customer moment.

4. Keep following up

Different businesses have different product life cycles. Some products, like supplements or pet food, are purchased repeatedly and in fairly predictable patterns. Other products, like clothes, can vary quite a lot. Some customers won’t be interested in buying anything for several months. 

The key is to stay on their mind. Don’t be afraid of people unsubscribing from your email list — being remembered by the majority of your customers is more important. Keep emailing them. Keep posting on social media. Send them an occasional postcard. 

When they are ready to buy again, you want them to think of you, not return to the internet and start from scratch. For help sending special deals and coupons, use the Smart Coupons extension

5. Deliver more than just sales offers

The secret to follow-up marketing is to vary your approach. Don’t just keep sending offer after offer. After a while, if someone hears about it three times every week, 20% off loses its appeal. You need to do more than that. 

Send tips and tricks related to your industry that are helpful to customers. Answer frequently asked questions about shipping, how to use your product, or alternative ways to solve a problem. 

Give free resources like how-to guides, new videos explaining something, eBooks, checklists, and fun stuff. Yes, it’s okay to be fun. Injecting humor and personality into marketing endears customers to you. 

Marketing coach and humorist Karyn Buxman is an expert at helping customers inject humor into their marketing. She says humor builds trust because it increases positive brain activity – the kind of stuff you want to happen when people think about your business. 

As Karyn said once at a conference, there are two kinds of people in the world: “Those who bring joy in the room, and those who bring joy when they leave.”

Be a business that brings joy to your customers.

6. Use a loyalty program

One of the best ways to inspire customer loyalty is to start a rewards program. Give customers points for making purchases and for taking actions like signing up for your newsletter, following and engaging with your social media accounts, sending referrals, and writing reviews. 

Here’s a WooCommerce extension that helps set up a points and rewards system.

To make it more memorable, don’t just call them “points.” Come up with a more creative name. This is a great opportunity to inject humor into your marketing. 

7. Be authentic

More than ever before, customers like to do business with real people. Don’t put on a front. Be real. Be willing to reveal details about your life. These could be fun observations, discoveries, experiences you learned from, or many other things. Don’t be afraid to open up your life a bit. Customers respect and respond to this.

Build relationships with your customers

Continually seek to build relationships and deepen the bonds between you and your customers. That means setting time aside to focus on them. Customer loyalty won’t happen if you treat it as an afterthought, something you do after the “real” work of your business is done.

This is the real work. This is how you build a profitable and sustainable business. Put these tips and principles into practice, along with the rest of what you’ve learned in this series, and you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding experience.

Have you been following the steps in this series? We’d love to hear your “first customer” success story! Share your journey in our Facebook group, on Twitter, and/or at your local meetup.

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