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As Valentine’s Day approaches, our thoughts turn to relationships and the ones we love. We should also think about those we should show more affection toward. There are people around us that are there for us on a regular basis and are a positive part of our lives.

This thought can and should be applied to business. Sometimes when businesses are trying to attract new customers, they have a tendency to forget about the customers that have supported them and those that continue to be an important profitable part of their business.

I am not suggesting that anyone would make a conscious decision to ignore their customers, but when trying to attract new customers this happens quite often. How many ads have you noticed that take the time to thank or offer a gift to existing customers? There are far fewer of those than ads that are attempting to bring new customers to the business with incentives and eye catching offers.

There are many reasons why this happens often, but regardless of the reasons, customers may feel differently about the business if they feel they are not offered the same benefit as other customers.

A good example of this could stem from an offer extended to a new customer. Something as simple as offering a free gift or deep discount to a new customer may leave the existing client unhappy and feeling unappreciated. It could feel, to an existing customer, that despite that fact that they have helped you build your business by being a loyal customer, they are not worthy to receive a similar offer, gift or discount.

It is a known fact that it costs a business more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer. It is also possible that an unhappy customer that feels ignored or slighted has the potential to convince other existing customers to feel differently about a business.

Add to the mix that our region has a large influx of seasonal residents and visitors. Beyond the existing versus new customers, now we must consider the year round local customers versus the seasonal visitor or second homeowner.

This complicates the matter. If you do serve these four markets, find a balanced approach to marketing to them as well as providing fair and appropriate incentives and thank you type gifts. This is a great way to make sure everyone feels loved and appreciated. Here are a few simple suggestions that may help you create and maintain a balanced approach to the existing and new customers as well as local and seasonal customers.

If you have regular year round and local loyal customers and you don’t have a system in place to track your existing customer spending, you may find it difficult to reward and thank clients for doing business with you. Find a system that can help you measure client spending and develop a system to thank them for their continued support.

Every time you come up with a promotion to attract new customers to your business, offer a different (but just as valuable) thank you gift or offer and extend it to your existing clients. They will appreciate it and many times this can lead to more business being done with your existing customers.

Create a couple of signature events that are designed for existing, frequent and local clients. Make sure you hold one during the busy season and one during the off season. You have the option to open up the in season event to seasonal visitors. Inviting new or seasonal customers to an event could prove valuable. Many times a new potential customers may have an opportunity to meet and speak with long time satisfied existing customers. This may result in those clients that know you best helping you to win over new clients by sharing positive stories about your business.

Regardless of how you show year round and customers the love, it is something that should be done. This Valentine’s day let cupid remind you that to hit your target you will have to grab a few arrows and take your shot at reaching and staying in touch with existing a new customers alike.

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