Would you be surprised to learn that you already have your most qualified list of leads in your possession? While most marketing campaigns concentrate on bringing in new blood, the real money is in another cohort: those people who have already purchased from you. While it's still important to bring in new leads, money spent continuing to court the people who have already purchased from you is money well spent.

Why Repeat Business Matters

Once a person has purchased from a business once, they are far more likely to purchase again than they are to take a chance with a new vendor. Their purchases grow over time; in a study conducted by Bain & Co., they learned that a given shopper's fifth purchase with a company was 40% larger in value than the first one. And, they are half as price sensitive as new customers, meaning that you can safely increase costs when needed. Marketing to current customers is highly economical; many experts estimate that it costs 7 times as much to win a new client as it does to sell again to an established one.

Using Inbound to Keep Customers Coming Back

The same inbound tools -- blogs, ebooks, newsletters -- that you use to bring in a new prospect can be utilized to charm a first time customer into returning again and again. But, the content inside those pieces written for current customers will be just a bit different from that geared toward new prospects. Instead of focusing on content that is directed at brand new, top-of-the-funnel prospects, create more in-depth pieces that are useful to established customers. For instance, if a business that offers customer relationship management software were courting a new client, they'd write about how CRM can benefit your business. But, for their established clients, they could create a blog post on how to get more out of a CRM system.

Use Content to Monitor Sentiment

Social Media Content

Your social media channels aren't just a place to send content out to customers. They're also a great place to listen. Use your Facebook page to ask questions. You can quiz customers on their favorite products, or ask which features are on the top of their wish lists. Gathering this information shows your current customers that you care about their happiness; this builds trust and increases their chances of buying with you again. The information you gain is valuable, as well, as it can be used to create new products and improve old ones, increasing customer satisfaction.

Make It Easy for Customers to Become Ambassadors

Often, your current customers can be your very best marketers. Happy customers often tell friends about favorite products, bringing new fans to your brand. Make it easy for current customers to share news with their friends by including sharing buttons on every post. You can also encourage sharing in the posts themselves. Include a call to action at the end: "Did this post help you? Share it with a friend!" This method doesn't just help current customers. It uses their influence to bring in new ones.

Create Exclusive Content for Current Customers

Being on the inside of a select group is a powerful thing. Make your customers feel special by creating ebooks, infographics and other content materials and offering it to them through exclusive emails. The content can be put behind a gate with a password to emphasize that your current customers have special access.

When you make current customers feel valued, they will return to do business with you again and again. Nurture these excellent leads regularly to reduce your customer acquisition costs and create the high and sustainable revenue that makes a company thrive.

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Photo credit: ronploof / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: bloeise / Foter / CC BY

Sources: Increase Customer Retention Rates
Online Marketing Institute
The True Value of Repeat Customers