You’ve spent good money to draw consumers into your business. The designers and marketing professionals you may have worked with talked at length about branding, building and maintaining your company image. At last, droves of customers pile into your business. Now what? To not appear false, your business needs to match the image you worked so hard to create. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with customer retention.

Think of your business location as your own promotional medium. Your business is a promotional zone that is ready to serve your marketing needs. You have complete control of the marketing message that influences your customers while at your business.

Just imagine all of the areas of your business you could use to promote specific products: from the windows to the walls, entrance, front counter, lobby, bathrooms and the parking lot. By using this approach, a business owner can highlight their marketing message clearly and repeatedly for maximum impact. I’ve seen businesses that have advertising inside their business, usually in the bathroom, promoting other businesses (even competitors). Why not use this valuable real estate to promote your own business instead?

Display photos and testimonials of satisfied customers on your walls. Place posters promoting upcoming sales in your entryway. Create appealing displays for the products you want customers to buy. Make a display of products that might not typically be envisioned to go together. Use your products in new and creative ways around your business creating vision and inspiration. Even if the customer doesn’t choose to go with exactly what you have displayed together, it demonstrates product versatility and creates the idea that the possibilities with your products are endless. Even just by moving products that have not been selling well to a centralized location and making them the focus of a display or a certain area of the business, you are almost guaranteed better success with the product. And remember, there is power in repetition. Also, another valuable idea is to give your customers a ticket to a prize drawing that will be held at a normally slow time of business.

Have you ever driven by a restaurant, smelled the food and instantly became hungry or found yourself craving their food? A well-directed aroma of your food can be a powerful incentive to spend money. The same holds true for businesses other than restaurants. The power of scent can be used with body products, candles and other household items. Entice your customers by providing samples of these products which will make buying the product irresistible. I’ve seen several banks give away lollypops to kids or a treat to a customer with a dog at the drive-through window.

Is your company an environmentally friendly (green) company? If so, promote it. Many customers are very interested in doing business with green companies to protect the environment. Even General Motors, the makers of the gas-guzzling Hummer, is promoting their green efforts.

Tactics like these allow you to focus directly on the target customers that matter the most. If you don’t promote your services/products a customer may not be aware of their value or worse yet, may not be aware of something you have that they are interested in. Our business has flyers promoting our services posted on the window of our entryway. A visitor to our office complex saw the posters and hired us to develop a Web site for him which has since led to other services like Web site hosting, e-mail marketing and graphic design for his business. If we didn’t have a poster displayed we would have never had the chance to work with this customer.

Looking for prospective customers is time-consuming and expensive. It’s much easier to get your current customers to buy more often than it is to increase your customer base and it also comes at a fraction of the cost. Retention is important because these customers provide your base, helping you to plan for expansion and keeping your business afloat during periods when the market contracts. Focus on getting your customers to come back by making each experience they have with your business a great one. Your current, loyal customers can also help build a positive reputation for your business. These customers spread positive word of mouth advertising which helps you attract more new customers. Focus on quality instead of quantity.

Focus your efforts on your current customers first and once you have the marketing methods in place to make the most of your existing relationships then shift gears to recruit new customers to your business and work on growing that relationship. However, the most important message to remember out of all this is plain and simple. Your business will grow substantially if you can get your current customers to frequent your business more often.

Do you have any unique retention ideas to share? Please post your ideas on our blog at We’ll give two ticket vouchers for a Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks baseball game to the first five who post usable ideas.