In the world of small business, some might say that the hardest part is getting consumers to try you out for the first time. But once you’ve accomplished that hurdle, then what? You need to make sure that they have a reason to come back! Here are a few things you can do to sweeten the deal.

Give Them an Incentive

There are lots of little fun ways to incentivize those who would be interested in your product or service. One idea, commonly found in bakeries, comic book stores, and more, is that of a punch card – a little token that you can mark every time a customer makes a purchase. When a certain number (usually 8-10) of marks is reached, then the customer gets a free item. Simple, but effective; people love free stuff. There are many ways to adapt this to your company and business model but offering small deals to those who come back to utilize your services is always a good idea.

Create an Experience

While this concept is a little more abstract, it’s also more likely to yield results if done well. People want to feel like they’ve really seen something special that cannot be found anywhere else. This might mean creating an aesthetic or an atmosphere that people want  to be surrounded by. It might mean radically transforming how the customer interfaces with your business. For example, gamification provides customers with a unique experience that sets you apart from others. Making the transaction into a game – or something else fun – shows an extra level of effort that your average local business wouldn’t have.

Let Your Product Shine

As much as marketing gimmicks can genuinely help boost your rate of returning customers, there’s nothing that can help you stand out quite like the simple fact that your product or service is superior to the competition. If you have delicious and unique food, if you know your way around somebody’s plumbing like it’s your second nature, if you have the perfect eye for painting homes – whatever your business is, work hard to continually evolve your services. At the end of the day, having a product unlike any other in the local market is what will make a customer come back more than anything else.

This is the continual cycle of small business, after the initial obstacles that one must overcome in order to begin. And the best part is, you can always do better! By constantly looking to provide incentives, create an experience, and improve your product, you will grow your company with a loyal consumer base.

Check out this article on what every entrepreneur struggles with in their first years!

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