How To Improve Customer Retention
The primary focus for all online businesses should be to continually improve customer retention. Unfortunately, many online marketers overlook this important activity in an endless quest for more traffic and new customers.
But the importance of customer retention can’t be ignored. The truth is that an existing customer is more likely to be your best buyer. In fact, studies have shown that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. So how do you retain those happy 20% and make them feel valued? The answer is by speaking their language – that is, understanding their needs in relation to your niche or industry so that they feel understood, not just talked at or to.
Customer Retention Tactics
Many businesses encourage people to sign up for their email lists and loyalty programs, but rarely follow up as much as they should. This is a shame, because the people who join your email list really do want to hear from you – if your messaging is relevant to them. Creating high-quality information and great offers that make your customers feel valued can stimulate sales more than thousands of automated social media messages cranked out by a bot.
Branding as a Shortcut
Buying by the brand is a shortcut for a lot of people. It’s an almost automatic purchase that they think very little about and aren’t usually too price sensitive about. They know what they want and they will pay to get it. This is because they have tried other brands but prefer, for example, Hellmann’s mayo to Miracle Whip and would never consider buying any other brand. It is, of course, a matter of personal taste.
It can be difficult to get people to buy a different brand. This is why the Sunday papers are full of coupons, to try to get people to buy something new. The coupon lowers the price and makes the purchase less of a risk.
FREE Checklist: How To Get Your Brand Noticed
The Emotional Connection
People also have an emotional connection to brands. Emotions enter into purchasing decisions a lot more than most marketers might think. Studies have shown that consumers buy based on emotion, and then try to justify their choice with logic, not the other way around.
The emotions that caused a person to buy in the first place will improve customer retention. This phenomenon, known as choice support, triggers people to become repeat customers because once they’ve purchased from you, they will continue to do so to “prove” they made the right choice in the first place. If your marketing messages reinforce their choice support by speaking their language, this is one of the easiest ways to retain customers.
Knowing your customer’s “pain points,” that is, what they struggle with most in relation to your niche, helps them feel understood. They will feel as if your products or services are really designed for them (which they should be). Asking for feedback such as reviews, testimonials and survey response will reinforce the idea that you care. Them seeing their reviews posted, or your new product being the one they voted as their first choice in your survey, would also indicate that you’re speaking the same language.
Showing the Customer They Are Valued
People who are on your email marketing list should be treated like the valuable customers and prospects they are. Reward them for being on your list with various items that show you care, including:
- Surprise gifts
- Perks like exclusive members-only content, discounts and offers
- Invitations to create user-generated content, such as guest blogging
- Great bonus items with each package, which can be sent a day or two after their purchase
- Responsive customer service
- A detailed FAQ page
- Access to you personally, such as on webinars or in a closed Facebook group
The most effective way to improve customer retention is to create special offers that really speak to the need of your target audience. The products you create and launch should all be designed as real solutions for the common problems people experience in your niche. You can offer a great price, coupons, fast-acting bonuses and deep discounts to encourage repeat sales.
All of these will strongly influence your customers to be loyal to you because they create the perception that you care about them.
Rewarding Customers and Advocates on Social Media
If you have a WordPress site, you can reward those who spread the word about you on social media by giving them exclusive content. Use the BizPanda plugin. It’s actually a pair of plugins. The first one, Opt-In Panda, requires your website visitor to give their email address in order to “unlock” the content. Then they are on your email marketing list and you can contact them any time you wish and start building a relationship with them.
The second is called Social Locker. The content will unlock when they share the content on a social network, rewarding them for their efforts. The plugin provides buttons for all the major social networks in a single interface:
You can use them together, or separately. Each button has individual settings, so you can get exactly the kind of shares you want. You can lock any content you wish. For long articles or an eBook, you could even put multiple locks. To keep on reading, they would have to keep sharing.
Other ways to improve customer retention include creating a special closed group with access to you personally, to answer questions at a certain time each day. You could also offer live video on Facebook and YouTube to your target audience in exchange for likes and shares.
Offer beta testing of new items, pre-launch sales, and exclusive packages with special fast-action bonus items. They will not only be delighted with the special offers you are creating, they will also tell others about the great bargains they are getting as a result of you rewarding them because they are serving as brand advocates.
Free Checklist: Get Your Brand Noticed And Improve Customer Retention
Branding is important for small businesses as well as large companies. If you have a limited budget, smart branding is perhaps the most inexpensive business tool you can create. If you build your brand properly, you can create loyal, lifetime fans and customers who can’t wait to tell others about your business. This makes any and all marketing efforts pay off much better than if your brand is not well-regarded.
Download my Free Checklist, How To Get Your Brand Noticed so that you reach your target prospects, provide a positively memorable experience related to what you have to offer and improve customer retention.