I recently did a post for another blog, Power of Business. In it I discussed the fact that marketing is much more than making a sale.
Marketing should happen early, be often and continuous. You must understand who your potential customer is, what motivates them, and be prepared to use all of the marketing tools available. In addition, you must recognize what makes them to be aware of your marketing efforts and, then, what motivates them to purchase.
What was not discussed was how marketing should continue after the sale.
The first reason to market after the sale is just practical. You want to encourage return purchases.
Another after-the-sale marketing tools is to help the customer understand and use the product or service to its full potential. How often have you come home only to be frustrated at maybe reading and understanding the directions? Imagine how helpful a short video might be. That’s marketing
And then there is the effort of supporting exchanges and returns, just another tool in your marketing basket. There are a variety of reasons why customers wish to return an item. What they want, when doing so, is a quick, painless experience. Your online presence can help create that which, in turn, makes the customer more likely to return.
In addition, don’t forget to ask for customer feedback. Ensure they are happy with what they bought. Ask them if they want to be notified when similar items come in. Remind them of complimentary products. Ask for comments or to post a review.
Looking at a longer time frame, perhaps you want to form user groups who can share information. As one of the participants, you can be there to answer questions, pass along information, nurture the conversation, and, most important, learn from the dialogue. Once these sites are running smoothly, your role and participation can get smaller and smaller.
And finally, one of the biggest market efforts is the encouragement for them to be an advocate. Ask them to post pictures. Encourage them to share with friends and others. In today’s world, consumers are found to strongly trust the information posted by others. Make sure you get their permission to share comments, photos, etc. It’s worth your time. What can be more powerful than having someone else tell your story.
Marketing after the sale builds your reputation and brand. More importantly, it builds your business.
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Glenn Muske is an independent expert on rural small business, working as GM Consulting – Your partner in achieving small business success. He provides consulting, and writes articles for county extension agents and newspapers across North Dakota. Previously, he was the Rural and Agribusiness Enterprise Development Specialist at the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Center for Community Vitality.