Businesses often focus their efforts exclusively on customer acquisition, and much of SEO, PPC and social media marketing is about driving traffic to your website and increasing conversions, but customer retention is just as important – if not more important – than bringing in new customers. Think about it – if your customers find your sales process or customer service sub par, so-so, or just plain terrible, they won’t come to you again. It’s all very well driving a ton of traffic to your site but we want it to stick, and to visit again and again and again… Increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% can raise your profits by 25-95%, according to the Harvard Business School, so it’s time to start refocusing your efforts!
Building a sustainable business means paying attention to your customer retention, and here are 10 easy ways to ensure your customer retention strategy works:
1) Create a community around your brand – Make your brand recognisable, familiar, and something that customers want to associate with, and they’ll become part of your ‘family’. Each brand needs to go about this in their own way (and yes, we realise it’s a sort of vague instruction – that’s what a digital marketing service is for!), whether it’s a quirky social media presence or strong core values that really stand for something worthwhile.
2) Promote the positive – A fairly obvious one, but studies have shown that highlighting the benefits (“over 100,000 customers recommend us!”) over the negatives (“without our services, 80% of companies fail…”) is a much more effective way of getting customers on board with your brand. Even if your negative statement is reinforcing your worth, the human brain is wired to get more excited about the positives.
3) Utilise intelligent targeting – Targeting your audience goes beyond simple demographics. Find what makes your customers tick – or, more importantly, what they aspire to be or have. Zoning in on these aspirations and idealisms with your advertising, marketing, social media, branding and products can create a strong attraction for your customers’ ego! Make your brand appeal perfectly to their desires, their goals and their view of themselves. Fill the existing demand rather than creating a while new one.
4) Simplify your process – Reduce as many hurdles and as much friction in your sales and enquiry process as possible. Customers want to get the job done as quickly and as easily as possible, and they start to get irritated when faced with too many steps, confusing processes, mistakes and slow loading screens. The easier it is for customers to buy, the more likely they will – just look at how (terrifyingly) easy it is to use Amazon’s one-click button…
5) Reciprocate – Show your customers a little love and make it worth their while to stay loyal to you. Go above and beyond to make sure they receive the very best service – better range of products, faster delivery, cheaper (or free) shipping, flash sales, special deals and vouchers, recommended products based on their previous purchases, social media promotions – spend some time and a little of your budget on really giving your customers a good experience, and one they’re likely to talk positively about to others.
6) Keep the lines of communication open – Make sure customers can reach you – by phone, email, social media, whatever – as easily as possible. Websites that don’t provide clear contact details, or companies that are slow to respond raise big red flags for consumers, and they’ll always choose a business they can easily get hold of over one that is unresponsive.
7) Make it personal – Find a way to show your customers you appreciate their repeat custom. When you communicate, get their details right, take notes of previous interactions and keep on top of your business relationship. Suggesting related products based on their purchase history can offer an easy conversion. Once again – know your customers and give them what they want.
8 ) Be there when they need you – Your customer service department needs to be on point if you want your customer retention rate to be high. Errors happen but they needn’t affect your sales so long as you deal with them professionally and quickly. The customer is always right and you should go above and beyond to fix problems when they occur. If you use social media, make sure you have a strategy in place to deal with complaints and negativity – a social media marketing specialist can be invaluable if you have a busy social presence to make sure everything runs smoothly.
9) Focus on speed and quality – Customers want great quality products and services, and they want them now. Given the choice between a slow delivery and a fast one, which one would you go for? Given the choice between a high quality product or a shoddy one, which one would you go for? In both these instances, price will also play a part, but if you give your customers both fast service and great products, they are more likely to pay a premium than go elsewhere.
10) Do what you do, and do it well! You know your company best, and you should be able to translate what you stand for and what you offer to your customers clearly and succinctly. Don’t try to be a Jack of all trades – focus on what you do best, and offer the highest service possible to your consumers.
Keeping customers loyal means making them a part of your business ‘family’, providing a solid reason for them to stay with you (great prices, great service, great communication, great overall business ethic), and showing them that they matter to you as customers. For more help creating a watertight online business marketing plan, get in touch with us at www.ikroh.com.