All businesses strive to acquire as many new customers as possible, but is enough effort being made to retain customers already on board? Remember, there’s a significant distinction in costs between finding new customers, as opposed to holding onto the ones you already have.
That’s where customer retention marketing comes in—a tactical approach to increasing the rate of customers who keep returning to your business, as well as attracting those who once purchased your goods or services, but haven’t done so in a while. Startups and emerging brands should generally “focus most of their marketing plans on customer acquisition,” notes Alexa, an analytics insight firm, while established brands “need to shift their strategy and put more attention into customer acquisition.”
In addition to the disparity of costs between these two efforts, customer retention marketing benefits companies in many ways, including:
- Requires less formal marketing efforts than reaching out to prospective customers
- Results in a general upswing in sales conversion rates
- Improves the process of implementing product upgrades (and or new product development) through customer feedback
Also, it’s likely with successful retention, you’ll see higher overall profits. That’s because “your customers trust you already,” so “it gets easier to convince them to become interested in even more of your products or services through up-selling and cross-selling,” according to SuperOffice.
Here are customer retention marketing tips to keep in mind:
Offer exciting online deals
Since most sales these days occur online, consider offering time-limited online “daily deals,” that provide extra motivation for returning customers. These deals convey a sense of uniqueness for customers, as well as added urgency in clicking on “Buy” as soon as possible.
Create a series of case studies
Even customers who know your business can be persuaded to shop again when they read about other satisfied customers. As we have noted before, video or written case studies “allow you to tell your story by telling your customer’s experience with your company or brand.” These case studies (also known as testimonials) “can be promoted on your website, social media, blog, newsletter or emailed” to customers and “help land an appointment or as a follow-up” sales step.
It’s a worthwhile strategy for new customer acquisition as well.
Maintain regular contact
Customers don’t like being “forgotten” by businesses they patronize. Just the opposite—if you reach out to them on a regular basis, they’ll appreciate the attention (and are more likely to act upon those exclusive offers discussed above).
One useful approach, according to the digital marketing firm MarketSplash, is to create a communications calendar that helps you stay in touch with loyal customers. Essentially, this calendar serves as a “programmed sequence of events, handwritten notes, special offers, and phone calls,” organized through automation software, that ensures ongoing contact without being “overly pushy.”
Give away some free stuff
Your loyal customers deserve special treatment. One approach is providing them with free stuff from time to time. Free giveaway strategies include a gift “that has your branding on it,” says Business2Community. “It’s a gesture that’s endearing and meaningful to your customers.”
Other strategies can focus on providing free product upgrades, exclusive customer-centric contests, or a special gift that comes with the purchase of a product or service. Whatever the giveaway might be, it can be very effective in terms of making your repeat customers feel appreciated for their business.
Retaining customers should always be a company’s top priority. To learn more, find out what nine experts from The Alternative Board have to say about how to improve your business’s customer retention rates.