Many clients approach us with the goal of lead generation and conversion. Whilst this is an important marketing strategy, the best return on investment doesn’t always come from acquiring new customers. Greater gains can be achieved with a comprehensive customer retention strategy…
Customer Retention Strategies
What plans do you have in place for retaining customers and building customer loyalty? Business data suggests it is easier and more cost-effective to sell to an existing customer than a new one. What’s more, loyal customers typically spend more on each transaction and are more likely to recommend your brand to others.
Rewards, incentives and discounted rates are all attractive to consumers. They encourage action, whether to sign up for a newsletter, switch brands or make a purchase. And all build the customer base. This is a proven marketing strategy, but what happens once those customers are on board?
With all the best deals offered to first-time buyers, what incentive is there for existing customers to stay loyal? Are you ready to turn the tables and reward loyalty with our five customer retention strategies?
1. Build Understanding with Market Research
What qualifies as a great experience for your customers? You could deliberate this for days, but a more effective approach is to ask them! Actively seeking out opinions from those who have purchased from you or used your service is imperative.
Explore why they were drawn to your brand and what factors influenced their purchasing decision. Invite feedback on your products and services, and ask how things could be improved. Asking their opinion and letting them know how you’ve actioned suggestions makes them feel valued.
It is also important to recognise that customers aren’t seeing your brand in isolation. Researching the competition can help you to see what you are up against. The reason you fail to retain customers may be more about your competitors than the quality of your offer.
Top Tip: consumer priorities shift and new enterprises enter the market every month, so research activity should be regularly updated.
2. Be a Proactive Communicator
Keeping in touch with your existing customers is an effective way to build connections, but only if the content is relevant and adds value.
Ensure that loyal customers are the first to hear about your new product launches or seasonal range. Give them first choice, by opening bookings to them a day early or inviting them to pre-launch events. You can also provide tips, maybe suggestions or discounts that relate to the products/services and are informed by the insight gained from market research.
Top Tip: Schedule communication for important dates. As an example, provide reminders for annual service appointments or send a discount voucher on the customer’s birthday.
3. Prioritise the Customer Experience
Never forget that your business would not exist without customers, and that your competition is just a click away. So, no matter what you are doing, or who you are doing it for, try and provide the best customer experience possible.
Loyal customers buy from you because they feel an emotional connection. You have met or exceeded their expectations and their reward is to come back. In response, your reward should be a positive attitude, efficient processes and great products. Being equipped to resolve issues promptly and providing the occasional added touch can also help to keep your brand in favour.
Top Tip: With loyal customers on your side, your brand will likely benefit from glowing reviews, personal recommendations, and shares of your social posts. As such, they enhance your marketing activities, helping to extend your reach and reputation.
4. Deliver Brand Consistency
Retaining customers also relies on consistency. Your customers need to have trust that they can rely on your brand to give them what they want time and time again. This means the language, style and tone of all marketing activity and communications has to tie in with the customer expectation and experience.
Top Tip: Customers are fed up with false promises, greenwashing and jumping on the bandwagon. They are seeking out brands that are transparent, sustainable and innovative. Be genuine, honest and share progress, even if you have yet to achieve brand goals.
5. Let Go Graciously
Despite your best efforts, there will be times when long-standing customers decide to stop buying from you. Reasons can be varied, such as no longer needing your products or services, not being able to afford your offering anymore, or perhaps favouring a new competitor.
No matter what the reason, accept their decision graciously by maintaining that friendly, helpful approach. Make it straightforward to cancel, switch or remove them from a mailing list and thank them for their loyalty.
Top Tip: Circumstances may change in the future or their new supplier may not deliver. By keeping the door open, you increase the chance that they may return or at least recommend you to others.
Whilst winning new business is exciting and rewarding, brands lose out if they ignore their loyal customers. Focusing on what they want from you and providing meaningful communication, positive experiences and brand consistency can increase customer retention. Making it easy to leave can also increase the chance that they return.
If preparing and implementing a customer retention strategy is something you don’t have the capacity to achieve, Alison Page Marketing is here to help. Our marketing support is tailored to match your requirements, with recommendations based on your budget.