Dave Tellier: My Customers Are My Marketing Team
Any business owner that is serious about attracting new customers has tried many different marketing strategies. Most of us have at least been down the road of Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, and flyers. You've probably done in-store promotions, events, and sales too.
The problem is, as you have have probably noticed, the competition for eyeballs is constantly growing, and so is the cost to attract them.
At Wizard's Tower, we draw new customers using the very best resource we have: our existing customers.
The idea is simple.
Do what you do best: make your existing customers happy.
Then, set up a referral program to incentivize those people to attract new business for you.
A referral program should revolve around some sort of coupon that binds together three parties—your store, the existing customer, and the new customer—with each party receiving a benefit from the referral.
There are many ways to structure it.
At Wizard's Tower, we give a discount to the new customer and a percentage of the new sale to the existing customer.
The new customer has no relationship with you, so they are unlikely to value store credit. They need an incentive up front. The existing customer likes your store and trusts your service, so store credit is perfect. And going by percentages rewards them according to the results.
The last party is, of course, your store. The benefit to you is obvious.
But what are the downsides?
Hardly any. You don’t pay unless you get new business. There are expenses, but using percentages protects the margins you need to cover them.
Here are a few finer points to consider.
First, think about how many times everyone is rewarded. We apply the coupon only to the first transaction. The new customer gets the discount only once, then they can make referrals of their own. Existing customers get the reward each time they make a referral.
And you, well, you only get rewarded with that new customer once, so be sure to make their first experience flawless.
Second, consider whether you want to limit the discount. For us, sealed product is ineligible—booster packs, booster boxes, etc. Customers can be very sensitive when it comes to these, and we want to make sure everyone gets the same deal.
Third, if you don’t have one already, you may want to to set up an email marketing system.* Why emails? Because your email list is just that: yours. Social media suffers from the too much competition for the same eyeballs. A good email marketing service will come with distribution lists to segment your customers, split testing to measure what works best, and a host of other great tools.
If you don’t already have a Refer-a-Friend program, look into it. It might be just what you need to help your store and community grow.
Store Stats: Wizard's Tower
- Location: Nepean, Ontario, Canada (Population: 156,000)
- WPN Level: Advanced Plus
- Age: 19 years
- Size:2100 sq. ft.
- Website: http://www.wizardtower.com/