Existing Customer | 3 mins read

Keeping Your Existing Customers to Keep Your Business Going

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James O'Donnell

By James O'Donnell

Why are Existing Customers So Important to Your Business?

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While finding new customers is always important for a business, so is retaining the customer base you've already built. You may not know it, but your restaurant's biggest potential for profit growth comes from your existing customer base. Focusing your efforts on retaining your restaurant's existing customers is easier and less expensive than finding new customers.

Building long-term relationships with your existing customers is an investment every business should make. Why is it so vital to keep your existing customers? Well, here are some things you might want to consider-

  • Most of your current sales probably come from existing customers.
  • Statistically, you have a better probability of selling to an existing customer.
  • Existing customers trust your brand and are more likely to buy your new product.
  • Existing customers are more likely to recommend your products to others.
  • A majority of your future profits will come from customers you already have.
  • Repeat customers spend more than first-time customers.

The last thing any business should do is to take their existing customer base for granted. Of course, growing sales through acquiring new customers is necessary for any business to survive. However, don't overlook the opportunities to grow sales through your existing customers.

Why You Should Market to Existing Customers

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You put a lot of time and effort into selecting the ideal target market for your restaurant. You not only got them to come in the door, but you also got them to come back for more. Now what?

Most restaurant managers appreciate the value of their existing customer base. However, they often focus their marketing efforts on appealing to new customers. They don't realize the value of marketing to their existing customers.

Your marketing strategies should focus on attracting new customers as well as selling to your existing customers. New customers are needed to expand your customer base. However, marketing to your regulars could pay off more.

A recent report released by Adobe shed some light on the importance of marketing to existing customers. Entitled, "The ROI from Marketing to Existing Online Customers" it looked at the value of marketing to different types of customers. The study classified customers into three categories- new purchasers, returning purchasers, and repeat purchasers.

The findings have confirmed the value of marketing to repeat purchasers. The study found that 40% of a company's revenue comes from existing customers. In addition, companies have to bring in 5-7 new customers to equal the revenue of a single repeat customer.

Some Ways to Market to Existing Customers

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Marketing to your existing customer base is different than trying to appeal to new customers. You don't have to convince them to try your restaurant out, you want them to keep coming back. Here are some ways you can engage with your repeat customers to grow sales-

  • Gather data on your existing customer base. What do they want? The more data you have the more you'll be able to personalize your message.

  • Keep your customers' attention. Regularly communicate with your loyal customers to remind them how much you appreciate their business. Social media postings, e-newsletters, etc. are great ways to stay in touch.

  • Make your repeat customers feel special. Maybe offer them something not available to new customers. This can include special discounts, exclusive deals, previews of new items.

  • Create new products and services. Use the data you've collected to create new products and services aimed at your existing customers. For a restaurant, this could consist of a new dish, or a new service, such as valet parking.

  • Follow up. After an appropriate period of time, reach out to your customer. Ask them how well they enjoyed their last visit, answer any questions they may have, and invite them back.

Keeping Your Existing Customers- Some Takeaways

  • Gather specific data on your existing customers to better serve their needs.
  • Stay on your customers' radar with social media postings, blogs, e-newsletters, etc.
  • Offer special deals, exclusive items, discounts, etc, to let your customers know that you appreciate their business.
  • Create new products or services aimed at the needs of your existing customers.