The very first thing I do when I visit any business, aside from the business I am there for (grabbing coffee, food, etc), is check to see how they are promoting themselves. If I'm at the checkout with coffee and delicious pastry in hand, I'm sure to be scanning around to look for signs or business cards or other materials that encourage me to offer feedback, check out the website, become a fan on Facebook, etc. More often than not I come away thinking "they just don't get it".
If you're a brick and mortar business loved by numerous customers, you simply must do everything in your power to 'digitally connect' with each customer before they walk out the door. This can apply to online-only businesses as well. If someone walks out (or clicks away) a happy customer and they haven't a clue that you have a Facebook Fan Page or Twitter account or e-mail newsletter or online suggestion box (do you have these must-haves?), then you are blowing your chance to stay digitally connected to that customer.
Once you're connected, all it takes is a simple nudge ... a fleeting glance at a picture you posted on Facebook ... a tweet about some yummy bakery creation ... or a freshly penned (old schol term, eh?) and informative email newsletter, and a consumer is reminded about a place he or she loves. And that little reminder is all it might take to push that person to visit your business one extra time each week or month. And if you do the math, it adds up pretty quickly.
Permission marketing is the best kind. Are you giving people the ability to connect with you?