Marketers have a strong tendency to focus on courting new business. But this can cause you to neglect your very best prospects: the customers you already have. According to figures from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a loyal customer will spend ten times their initial purchase value over the life of a relationship with your company. But, building these strong relationships takes planning and strategy.
A few things to consider when building your digital strategy for customer retention:
Define Your Audience
Customer retention is about engaging with your existing customer base. Hopefully you already have a wealth of analytical insights on who your customers are, how they interact with your organization and their purchase patterns. If not, now is a crucial time to get to know who your buyers are and begin to create marketing materials and promotions that appeal to them. Learn what they want and provide it to win their loyalty. To bring this existing data ”to life”, think about creating various personas of who your existing customer is.
The marketing materials you create targeting your personas will also become a crucial part of your content strategy and play a pivotal role in improving your overall SEO efforts, because you can create content that would be sought out by each of your personas. Buyer personas are an excellent tool for getting inside your customers' heads. A persona is a fictional creation who matches the demographics of one of your sets of buyers.
Set Realistic Goals
Without goal setting, you'll have no tool to measure the success of your customer retention efforts. There are many ways to define your goals. To ensure success and buy-in within your business, create your set of retention objectives around the SMART principle. Consider sales figures from prior years or months to set the goal for an upcoming time period.
Example S.M.A.R.T Goals
- Achieve 17% of existing customers to service their online account within 12 months. Service could be defined as: visiting the site, logging into their account, or making a repeat purchase.
- Upsell 27% of existing customers to make a repeat purchase within 5 months through the company website.
Use Email Effectively
Email can be one of your most powerful tools for bringing customers back to your site to make new purchases. There are a number of strategies that you can employ:
- Abandoned cart emails. Conversion rates for abandoned cart emails are twice as high as other email marketing. Some companies send a simple reminder that the customer left during checkout. Others offer a discount or free shipping to lure the buyer back.
- Drip email campaigns. Start with a thank you email a day after a purchase; then, send periodic emails with tips and tricks for using your product and a reminder when it is time to reorder. This can all be automated, meaning you put in the work once and enjoy the benefits for months to come.
- Email newsletters. Sending your customers regular newsletters with informative and useful content inside increases their brand awareness and creates warm associations with your company.
Use Social Media to Converse with Your Brand's Fans
In a survey conducted by research group Loyalty 360, more than 25 percent of businesses indicated they ranked social media as the most effective channel for customer retention. The main reasons being that social media marketing allows for brands to speak directly to customers (and attract new ones), along with easy access to companies.
Customers use social media more and more often to contact a company when there is a problem. By responding quickly (surveys say that customers expect replies in 24 hours or less) you can not only fix your customer's problem; you can also publicly show the quality of your customer service.
Here are a few other strategies to consider with using social media to improve customer loyalty:
- Analyze your current database of Social Media followers/fans. Services like Followerwonk and SocialDNA are great resources. If you’re B2B, consider creating lists on Twitter for all current customers.
- Create an editorial content plan specific to your customers needs (remember they are different than prospects’ needs) in place to drive timely content through social media channels.
- Ensure you’ve provided In house training for staff to use social media channels in communicating with customers.
Analyze Your Success & Set KPI's
Check your engagement, sales and other figures regularly to see how your efforts are working. When you observe a tactic that works well, you can use it again to bring more success in the future. But, if there are efforts that seem to fall flat, you know it's time to tweak things. You can also use monitoring to decide on the best places to invest your time and funds. For instance, if your Pinterest page has three times the engagement of Instagram, you know that Pinterest is the place to put the bulk of your social media marketing efforts.
Here are a list of suggested KPI retention measurements that could be considered:
- Number of branded keywords
- Number of not branded keywords
- Number keywords on 1st page of SERP
- Number of outbound links generated
- Traffic referral volume
- Pages viewed per visit
- Number of in-bound links generated
- Number of emails sent out
- Segment email lists by existing customers
- Click through rate to website
- Open rate of email campaign sent
- Repeat purchase rate through channel
- Number of followers and fans
- Measure engagement through re-tweets, likes
- Percentage of referral traffic through to website
There is no one size fits all solution for keeping the romance alive with your current customers. But, by testing strategies, consistently putting forth effort and measuring your performance, you can increase your retention rates and significantly increase your brand's sales.