Retention Marketing 101: How to Keep Customers Coming Back
There is a lot of talk about how to gain new customers, but not enough talk about what to do once you win them over. If somebody purchased a product from you once, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will come back for the second time. The reason behind it doesn’t even have to be a better bargain offered by your competition, but that the general customer experience you provide may not be up to par. For those who wish to work on their relationship with existing customers, here are a few tips to bear in mind.
Keep it realistic
If you want to give a fair chance to your business and avoid disappointment, objective goals are the essential starting point of your marketing strategy. Only when you have a grasp of where you stand as a company can you find ways to improve and build a strong customer base. You may not have the budget of a large corporation, but your strength is in the personal approach, which is not attainable by many of those companies.
For starters, put yourself in customers’ shoes and try to purchase your own product or service. Analyze the ordering and payment process and check the product description for mistakes and ambiguity. Also, make sure customers are clear about the delivery date, and help them keep track of the ordered goods. These simple customer retention strategies will mean a world when it comes to the customers’ perception of you as a business.
Get involved in Social Media
It almost goes without saying that you need to be present on social media if you don’t want to wonder why your customers abandoned your brand. It’s important that you create engaging posts announcing new products, organize giveaways and spread the word about your brand. Make it into a fun experience and remind the customers of your existence at the same time.
While targeting new customers can be tricky since you need to speculate about their profile and interests, targeting existing ones eliminates this speculation. Social media networks such as Facebook have handy tools that help you track customers in many ways, so for instance, you can target only customers who have visited specific products’ ‘thank you’ pages, meaning that they have purchased that product in the past.
Have your ear to the ground
The customers keep asking questions about something which is self-explanatory? Well, the truth is, it might not be as obvious as you think. Although you have worked hard on your website’s content, you could have overlooked some important detail or you might just not see an issue since you have gone over it a million times.
Improving customer service is vital in maintaining your customer base, so give them an opportunity to air complaints, as well as ask questions. For example, a pleasant and well-informed e-mail and customer success team can do wonders for compiling information on potential changes that you need to make. In addition to that, they assist in establishing a rapport with customers and give some idea about the general attitude towards your brand.
Practice social responsibility
Social responsibility should be a goal to itself, so why not raise awareness about certain causes through your brand? Give your customers the opportunity to participate in different activities and choose a cause they wish to help. It might sound complicated, but there are simple ways in which you can implement it into your marketing strategy and engage as many people as possible.
To illustrate, you can donate a portion of each purchase to be used for meals, medical supplies and clothes for those in need. Alternatively, you can organize an online auction for a limited-edition product and use the accumulated money to contribute to a fund to build schools and hospitals. Honest acts of kindness make a person feel good, and your customers will be grateful for the opportunity to do some good.
Transparency is the best policy
How many times have you heard somebody pledging they will never purchase from a particular store again because there have been some hidden costs or because of a faulty product they couldn’t return? From the point of view of a business owner, regardless of whether this is intentional or simply a mistake, be aware that each customer counts and that a negative review can reach many.
If the customer is right, first apologize and you might also consider sending them a small token. A genuine apology, either via a card, or over the phone, can do much good since it re-builds the trust between you and your customer. Mistakes and small unpleasantries happen, but don’t let them remain unresolved and be the thing the customer remembers the most. Instead, turn them into problems efficiently dealt with so the focus is on the positive and not the negative features of their experience.
In order to boost customer retention, just start with how you would wish to be treated and try to apply it to your business. You might need to improve some things or change others but it is important to listen to your customers’ complaints and questions alike since there lie the answers on how to keep them.
My name is Raul, editor in chief at Technivorz blog. I have a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. You can reach me out on Twitter.