The other week I was reading a Seth Godin's Blog post, Treating Best Customers Better. The importance of taking care of our best customers really made me think about how as Pilates studio owners, we are generally giving our best prices to the newest customers.
As I have just opened another small studio, my mind has been whirling with marketing ideas. Within the pressure of getting new customers, I stopped for a moment and asked myself: Is the new customer I should be going after?
Maybe the answer to getting new clients is right under my nose - my own clients.
I looked at my clients records and started to appreciate how lucky I was to have such loyal, quality clients. What would the returns be if I gave my A-list clients a certificate for a free session to either keep or give to a friend? So, instead of of pouring my energy into making fliers, and paying for ad space to bring in new clients - I made these little certificates that read:
"Well I am loosing money because of this gift" - but that is simply not true. _The benefit of rewarding your long-time clients are many. You may not find the instant satisfaction of a few new calls from a newspaper ad, but the returns are longer lasting and built on respect and appreciation of the clients you already have. Hello? Find a advertiser that can offer that in their overpriced ad space.
The two outcomes of giving away a gift certificate are:
1) Staying Power: The client keeps it for themselves and feels great and appreciated. Feeling as though they have build credit at your studio -will make it less likely for them to shop around for a better deal.
2) Golden Referrals: The client gives it away to a friend - making them feel proud that the studio appreciates their continued support and of course, makes you a potential new client that has a lot more staying power than a quixotic magazine ad could bring.
Price to you:
The studio is spending money on labor - to teach new sessions, but weigh that with how much time and money is spent on putting together an ad - you may be surprised by the equation.
Q: Taking care of the people around you first is not a new idea, but how often do we really reward our regular, bread & butter clients?
Q: How does it make them feel when they see new client specials? 3 session intro packages to new clients who may or may not stay with it?
Put your Thank You's Through the Mail (for goodness sake)
Putting your thank you card through the mail takes longer - but no other medium, social or otherwise, can replace the feeling of receiving a hand-written thank you card stamped with a stamp, and delivered to your home.
Whether or not you give away free sessions now and then to your preferred clients; sending a thank you card is a great way to show appreciation to the client and respect how the client trusts your business to their friends & family.
Don't forget to say thanks in these moments:
- Chiropractor, doctor physical therapist refers a client
- Clients show up to your open house
- Clients rave about your studio on their Facebook / Twitter pages