Repeat customers ensure your handmade business will grow and be successful. While it’s important to create an impressive display and market to new customers, don’t neglect reaching out to established buyers and even the “just looking” crowd.
Here are some techniques you can use right now to keep your buyers coming back for more – and to prompt those tire kickers to proceed with a purchase.
Develop a Mailing List
This isn’t as hard as it sounds so don’t be intimidated if you aren’t tech savvy. Take a clipboard with a sign-up sheet to your shows and let people know that if they sign up for your newsletter (make it monthly or biannual or whatever) they’ll be entered to win a prize. You can display the prize basket with your clipboard for even better results.
When you send your email newsletter, keep it brief and to the point. Mention the giveaway and your other scheduled shows and wish all your customers well.
Also, make it easy for people to unsubscribe if they want to. MailChimp is a good product for managing an email list. Never use your regular email client, it’s insecure and looks very unprofessional. Use a software designed to help you manage a mailing list.
Do a Facebook Giveaway
Provide your visitors with a free handout or card that has your company Facebook page listed on it. Let people know that if they follow and like your page they’ll be eligible for special discounts and even giveaways that are only for your Facebook followers. This is a great way to get people tuned in and to keep them updated. You can use posts to highlight upcoming events, current sales, etc.
Give Them a Free Item with a Larger Purchase
When guests to my booth make a larger purchase, I give them a little bonus gift. For example, a woman buys six of my lotion bars and so as a thank you I tell her “I’m also going to give you a complimentary bar of my oatmeal soap to try. It’s a customer favorite and a little thank you for your business”.
Customers respond very well to this. In fact, over time you’ll start to remember faces of repeat customers. When you see them, give them a little something. It makes a personal connection because generosity is felt and appreciated.
Imagine how you feel when a business recognizes you and does something to thank you for your patronage. Feels good right?
It doesn’t have to be grandiose. Keep a little discount coupon or small sample of a product with you and give them away judiciously.
Be Patient and Persistent
A lot of new vendors give up easily when they don’t do as well as they expected the first year or two. Keep in mind, many people go to the same shows every year and they are more likely to purchase from people they recognize or had a prior good experience with.
If you are a new vendor, make yourself stand out so you are remembered the following year. You may be surprised at how well you perform at subsequent shows if you are eye-catching but not obnoxious and if you do things to engage those who visit your booth.