Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Are you in a long-term relationship?

I don’t mean with your significant other, pet, or favourite pair of shoes. I mean with your customers.

You might not know it, but your existing customers are the key to your success, and I’m going to tell you why they matter so much and how you can keep them happy.

Too many business owners are always chasing their next customer, whilst neglecting their current ones. This is a huge mistake, and I mean H.U.G.E.

Not only do repeat customers spend more with you than new customers (67% more according to one study), and cost you less to market to, but they are also your key to getting new customers through the door.

What all that adds up to is you really wanting to get into a long-term relationship with your customers, and not just a quick exchange that you then move on from.

How current customers bring you new customers

You want new customers who are pretty much like your old customers, i.e. they want what you offer and will pay for it. Well guess what? Your current customers hang around with other people like them.

Young mums hang around with other young mums; dentists talk to other dentists; classic car buffs know other classic car buffs. That’s how it goes. They also recommend products and services to each other all the time – whether that’s in person, by email, or online via social media, like Facebook or ratings sites.

You have probably purchased something based on an online recommendation in the last year, whether that’s a book, a hotel stay, or a restaurant reservation. We all do it these days, and if you do it right, you can benefit from this process.

The secret to customer engagement (or Engagement MarketingTM)

Engagement Marketing is what we at Constant Contact call this very specific type of relationship with your customers. The process to achieve it is simple:

  1. Create a ‘WOW’ experience. Make your customer love the service that you’ve given them.
  2. Now that they are happy, entice them to connect with you through your mailing list and on social media.
  3. Engage with them by delivering a stream of interesting, useful, and/or entertaining titbits, offers, and information. You can also run polls or surveys, ask them to make suggestions for products or service, and otherwise talk to them in a way that makes them want to talk to you.
  4. They will come back to you when they are ready. AT THE SAME TIME they will be telling other people about you, praising you on social media and passing on your details when someone asks for a recommendation.
  5. Because of this social ‘word of mouth’, you will get new people coming to you.

It’s not rocket science, but it does require a little up-front concentration to make sure that every customer you have gets a ‘WOW’ experience to start with, and it all flows from there.

What do you do that makes your customers say ‘WOW?’ I’d love to hear about it in the comments.