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Who are your top 10 clients?

Kelly Coffey
Vail, CO, Colorado

At a conference in Denver I heard a bookstore owner talk about a successful promotion he ran, sending $25 gift certificates to his 100 best customers.

These gift certificates had no strings attached ” they were just a way to say thank you for being such great customers. Most of the recipients came back to the store to buy books with their $25 certificates. No surprise there. But here’s the kicker: the average sale was $75.

Not all customers are created equal. Your 10 best customers are more valuable than those in the top 100, who in turn are more valuable than your “average” customer. You shouldn’t spend the same efforts on your average customers that you do on your best.

The bookstore owner rightfully targeted his customers who were doing the most to keep his business successful. His small marketing campaign worked so well because the recipients felt acknowledged. The immediate sales were an unexpected bonus. The true value of the campaign was making his most loyal customers even more loyal.

Often marketing budgets are focused solely on gaining new customers. Those slightly enlightened businesses recognize that repeat customers are easier and less costly to attract. But do you target your very best customers? Or are you taking them for granted?

Don’t let those assets fade away. Like the bookstore owner, if you acknowledge your best customers they will in turn reward you with even greater loyalty.

How, then, do you market to your best customers?

The first step is to figure out who those best are. You may already know, or that might

require digging through old sales records. Rank them accordingly: top 10, top 25, top 100… whatever fits for your type of business. Either way, the time you invest in identifying your best customers (and getting their contact information), will pay off well.

Next, you’ll need to create ways to reward your customers. Ideas include hosting an invitation-only party, a private sale, or some other exclusive offer. Anything personalized will work: a personal call from the owner, a handwritten thank-you note, even making sure your staff greets them by name.

Whatever you decide to do, spend more money and time on it than you would for the same number of “average” customers. These people are your biggest fans, so everything should be first class. Spend more to create very nice invitations. Cater the party with great food and wine. Close your store early so your guests can shop the exclusive sale with your staff at their beck and call.

Your best customers have done a lot for you. What have you done for them lately?

Kelly Coffey is the founder of Harebrained Marketing, a firm that specializes in connecting local businesses with local customers. Reach him at Kelly@harebrainedmarketing.com or (970) 926-0888. For more marketing tips, resources, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit http://www.harebrainedmarketing.com.


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