Repeat business is one of the most effective ways to increase revenue.

While many businesses spend the bulk of their time and budget on acquiring new customers, businesses that focus on repeat customers benefit from better retention, larger sales, and increased brand awareness.

Keep in mind, repeat customers spend 33 percent more than new customers and refer your business 50 percent more than one-time buyers.

How can you increase repeat business?

Here’s what Chris Iousa, owner of Chaibo café in Fitchburg Massachusetts had to say:

“A good impression doesn’t cut it. A super impression is the only way that we have a chance to get people back through the door.”

These days, with so many options to get what you need online or around the corner, what really inspires customers to come back is an experience they can’t get anywhere else.

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling exotic vacations or tax consulting services, if you can create a WOW! experience for your customer, you’ll make a lasting impression.

The next time they’re thinking about the products and services you offer, or a friend mentions that they need something you sell, the memory is triggered. This is how first-time customers become repeat customers and your own personal word-of-mouth marketers.

Is excellent customer service enough? 

If a customer is new to your business, they’ll probably need to get to know you a little better before becoming a loyal, repeat customer.

To follow-up with new customers, Chris uses email marketing to stay in touch with his customers and persuade them to come in and shop again.

“A super impression, followed up with a nice email or a newsletter that may be received at the right time, on a continual basis, just reinforces that great experience they had.”

If you’re brand new to email marketing, email services like Constant Contact offer customizable, industry-specific email templates to help you create an email in a matter of minutes.

How does email marketing help your business?

The key to driving repeat business is getting to know your customers on a personal level.

You may be thinking that you couldn’t possibly get to know every single customer individually. And, for many small businesses, that’s true. What you can do, however, is focus on engaging your most active customers.

Remember, 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers.

When you engage your most active customers, they’ll buy more and they’ll buy more often. Not to mention that they’re also more likely to refer business to you.

There are several ways to learn more about your customers without coming across as intrusive.

Start by recognizing the different types of customers your business attracts and create experiences that reflect their particular needs. For example, Chris’s café attracts a lot of students from the local university, so he decided to reach that audience by holding weekly Open Mic Nights.

Here’s an example of how he promotes on Open Mic Nights on his marketing channels:

Drive repeat business -- Chaibo example

Once you start sending email newsletters and posting to social media, you can learn about your customers by tracking your results and seeing what content and offers are most clicked on, shared, and forwarded.

You can also add a poll to your email or simply engage in good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.

WATCH: How to Keep Customers Longer (And Maximize Lifetime Value)

That’s why, during this free, on-demand webinar, you’ll learn:

  • What is churn? And how to calculate your churn rate
  • How to understand why your customers are leaving
  • How to keep customers longer

A WOW! experience + engaging email marketing = your secret weapon

Small business owners that actively engage their customers have a huge advantage over chains and big box stores. You’re able to get to know customers on a personal level, which results in better service.

Take advantage of this distinct differentiator and bring it to the next level by asking new customers to join your email list.

Adding a sign-up sheet to your store counter, including a sign-up form on your website, or using your tablet to collect contact information makes it easy for customers to stay connected with you.

The more you focus on your existing customers, the more likely they are to purchase from you again and encourage their friends to do the same.