Customers who frequent Peninsula TIM-BR Mart in Miller Lake, Ontario often come away with more than tools, nails and lumber. They come away with the knowledge to do something with their purchases — plus ideas and tips that will keep them coming back. Clinics on framing and drywalling and product demonstrations by suppliers fire up do-it-yourselfers to launch new projects, and very likely, buy more.
Educating your customers may be one of the best ways to establish your expertise and build a strong relationship with them, while encouraging them to spend more with you.
Here are some ways you can teach your customers to buy.
These might be simple “teasers”, such as a financial planner’s short seminar on tax-saving tips. It gives just enough information to entice customers to engage the planner for their tax planning. Or, like the building clinics, they might offer more detail — everything you need to know to complete a project.
Use your imagination. A flower shop might teach customers how to brighten their decor and arrange flowers, a clothing retailer might teach customers how to save money by artfully mixing a few sets of clothes and accessories. A butcher might offer barbecuing clinics and recipes.
This time-honored marketing tool can be a great relationship builder and educator, but only if you use it properly. Too often, a customer newsletter becomes just another flyer, a quarterly ad for the business. Remember your audience, and give them information they need. Don’t talk about how great you are; tell them how they can use your product or service to improve their lot. A landscaper might offer ideas on how to build privacy into backyards or what plants thrive best in the area. A garage might give tips on when to rotate tires and simple do-it-yourself maintenance — implying that the customer come down to the garage for the bigger jobs.
Newspaper advertorials which offer how-to tips give customers and prospects a reason to read them. By publishing new tips all the time, you encourage them to look for your latest offering.
All these undertakings involve a fair bit of work and commitment, and a regular newsletter or ad will lock you into a schedule. But they’re worth the effort as long as they: give customers ideas and confidence, inspire them and excite them, and make their buying decisions simpler.