Increase The Frequency Of Purchases
This is the 3rd option to grow your business. To recap there are only 3 ways to grow any business...
To round off this Definitive Guide, we need to consider ways to increase the frequency of repurchase; How to make customers buy again more frequently.
1. Use Automatic Repeat Payments
Make it incredibly simple for customers to order again and again. If you have to ask for them to get our their chequebook or credit card for every purchase, each time they get it out, they will reconsider whether they really need this service.
Remove the awkwardness of all future payments by automating the payment process.
You could use Direct Debits, but they are very expensive to get set up for at the bank (usually you need over £1,000,000 turnover!)
The better option is to use TutorPay to automate the repeated payments from each customer.
TutorPay makes it easier for the student or parent to pay automatically via a variable PayPal repeat payment mechanism, using either their credit card, debit card or bank account Direct Debit. By using PayPal, it is easy to use, safe and secure, using PayPal's global encryption system, and is trusted by millions of paying customers.
Payment to you is instant and automatic. You don't need to chase payment, because it is recurring (you specify how often you want to get paid). You don't need to generate invoices (the TutorPay system creates and sends out all invoices and payment receipts). It is free, beyond the basic PayPal transaction fees.
So by automating future repeated payments to you, you make it easier for the paying customer to make those payments, so you can increase the frequency of repurchase.
Find out more about TutorPay here.
2. Develop a Back-End Offering
A back-end service or product is something that you sell to the customer after they have first purchased from your normal 'front end' selling system.
Looking at a website, this would mean the initial transaction is made starting from the homepage and purchasing. Then on the "Thank you for ordering" page, or afterwards by email, the back-end product or service is offered.
Customers who have already bought are between 5% and 500% more likely to buy again, compared to new customers, depending on which studies you believe.
Customers who have already bought from you already know, like and trust you. So you don't need to work to get them to know, like and trust you; you need only maintain that relationship.
A customer who has just bought is 'hot' to buy from you again. The sooner after the initial purchase, the more likely they are to buy from you again.
What product or service could you offer them?
If you have any other products or services, this is the time to mention them. If you have an examination service, mention that as a back-end.
One simple and obvious back-end offering is an online training course. They have bought your tutor service. Why not upgrade to the add-on online training course, to learn and revise in your own time?
The TutorTube system has all you need to make this work; a walled-garden system for online learning, available only to specified students.
You can create an online learning course that is available for anyone who purchases online, so it is a one-to-many course. Maybe with such a course, you build it once, then do not need to add to it (or at least, not much).
Or you can create lots of 'mini-courses' for each student. You can upload specific video recordings of each student's lesson and make that video only available to the student and parent. If you have more than 1 student in such a lesson recording, you can add each student to have permitted access to this video.
(Get permission to video record the lesson using this permission form here.)
3. Contacting inactive clients
The frequency of repurchase of an inactive customer is near-zero. Could you re-activate this person to become a customer again?
With inactive customers, you can rebuild the relationship with them. You will get the best results if this is done as early as possible.
All other marketing methods, strategies and tactics need to be bought into play in order to regain the business of an inactive customer; discounts, incentives, feedback, adaptation to their needs.
You can use technology to manage the relationship with a degree of automation. For instance, Ontraport and Infusionsoft offer systems to automate the system process in response to various actions by customers. For instance, if they have been inactive for a defined period of time, eg never clicked on an email link of yours, then you can have a sequence of emails that go out to them, with the discounts, incentives etc that you deem necessary to regain their custom. Note these software providers will not be cost effective unless running a large tutor business, due to the monthly costs.
With fewer than a few hundred inactive customers it will be more cost-effective to manually manage the follow-up process of communication for re-engaging with inactive customers.
One of the best strategies for reactivating inactive customers - and for getting further engagement (and purchases) with existing paying customers, is the old fashioned method of direct, personal communication.
4. Communicating personally with your clients
For building a relationship with your customers, nothing beats direct personal communication.
Face-to-face is better than telephone, which is better than email, which is better than website interaction.
It makes business sense to work hard to maintain and improve the bond and relationship you have with your students and paying parents.
Similarly, investing your time and effort to communicate with previous students may prove profitable in encouraging them to return to you.
Emailing is easy and should be done as a default. With existing customers you can automate a 'newsletter' type update to broadcast to all customers. In addition, a personalised email update with that specific student's updates would be wise.
A regular (eg monthly) telephone conversation with the parent or student will help to cement the relationship.
You may also run an "Any questions" meeting or class once a month, for students and/or parents to attend, to chat with you about anything on their mind. This gives you another chance to cement that bond.
5. Customer-only events
When you organise a customer-only event, it creates an 'in-crowd' feeling. Your customers will have the potential to socialise with each other. This gives parents each a chance to 'show off' a little how well their Jonny is doing.
It also creates a feeling of being valued.
You might run an "Ask anything" evening, with wine and nibbles for parents, and students can come and ask any questions or give specific feedback.
Again, this creates a 2-way bond and identity that will help ongoing repeat purchasing.
6. Loyalty program
Having your own loyalty program will encourage repeat purchasing and speedup the time between repurchase.
Loyalty program concepts are covered in more detail here.
Having read this 'Increase purchase frequency' section, add a comment with your feedback to answer these 3 questions...
The rest of this Definitive Guide is as follows;