Marketing is becoming increasingly efficient. Fewer risks, less waste, higher returns….
While retention marketing is nothing new, with the rise of digital marketing we’ve seen a massive increase in the attention businesses are putting on keeping their customers around. In a world that’s connected via a multitude of channels 24 hours a day, you have a chance to stay in touch with your customers like never before.
It’s time to get into the nitty gritty of how to develop a powerful retention marketing strategy that boosts the efficiency and return of your existing digital marketing program.
I’ll be covering:
- What retention marketing is
- Why customer retention is vital to your success
- How to develop your perfect retention marketing strategy
- And more…
Let’s get to it!
What Is Retention Marketing?
Retention marketing is a fairly straightforward concept, typically defined as:
The activities a business participates in to create repeat customers and boost the profitability of future purchases.
While the concept is simple, it’s something an alarmingly small percentage of businesses consider a priority. It typically sits in the shadow of standard customer acquisition practices, which is why I felt it was so important to write this post.
Why Customer Retention Is Vital to Your Success
As I explained above, customer retention is something that few businesses put enough time, energy, and resources into pursuing. Developing a retention marketing strategy is becoming more and more important for the following reasons:
Costs Less to Retain Than to Acquire Customers
You’ve probably heard the Bain and Co. statistic that it costs seven times as much to acquire a new customer, but so few brands actually apply that information to their marketing strategy. Once a lead converts, they know and trust your brand, making them far more likely to buy from you again, if you keep your brand at top of mind. Retention activities generally require a small portion of the marketing budget, meaning your return on these activities can be much greater than acquisition activities.
Repeat Customer Spend More
Repeat customers spend an average of 33% more than new customers.
Customers that know you will trust you, and that goes a long way in influencing buying decisions.
Existing Customers Are Easier to Sell To
Adobe found that customers were 9 times more likely to convert again after they had already purchased. That initial purchase breaks the ice, so the next time you want to sell something to them, they’ll be far more likely to say yes.
Brand Loyalty is Disappearing
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but brand loyalty is diminishing. Every business will be affected by this differently, but they will all be affected. With diminishing attention spans, consumers are prioritizing buying from brands that give them what they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it.
More business is being conducted on mobile devices, where user sessions last an average of just over a minute. If your brand isn’t the one that comes up in their search or isn’t right in front of them when they develop their need, it’s less likely that they’ll take the time to seek you out again.
Instead, you need to keep your brand at top of mind, influencing your customers, and creating the need before they realize it on their own.
Boosts Your ROI
Your retention marketing strategy will also boost the overall ROI of your customer acquisition activities. Considering how it increases your CLV (customer lifetime value), every new customer you acquire will be far more valuable and, in the long term, generate a far higher return.
Measuring your ROI based solely on the cost of acquisition and the value of their first purchase is like shopping for an item based solely on price. Adding their CLV to the picture gives you an understanding of the long-term value they provide, like shopping for a quality item that provides the most for your money.
When you understand the customer types that provide the highest long-term ROI, you’ll be able to target them with your acquisition marketing and boost your overall ROI dramatically.
How to Develop Your Perfect Retention Marketing Strategy
Now that you’re familiar with what retention marketing is and why you NEED to be doing it, let’s look at how it’s done.
Optimize Your Retention Marketing Strategy
Establish Your Brand as the Trusted Advisor
Become your customers’ go-to guide on anything and everything pertaining to your industry. The better you can communicate solutions to their problems and answers to their questions, the higher they’ll hold you and consider your company the best option for future purchases.
Retention Marketing Tactic: Create retention-based content that you share on your blog, social media, and via email that helps your customers solve problems that may come along after purchasing from your company. Showcase ways to improve the use of your product or service, or expand on its options or functionality and upsell them.
Work to Build Personal Relationships
The more personal you can make your relationship with your customers, the closer they’ll feel to your brand. That relationship comes with an inherent loyalty, sure, but it also keeps your brand at top of mind longer.
Retention Marketing Tactic: Use personalized social media posts and emails to reach out to your customers. For example, if you have access to their birthday, send them something special to let them know that you’re thinking about them and use the opportunity to upsell them with a discount or coupon code.
Keep the conversation going throughout the year with special offers, sneak previews, discounts, and trials that are specifically catered toward their preferences.
Develop Exemplary Customer Service Practices
One of the major determining factors of whether a customer will return is value, and one of the best ways to provide value is through exceptional customer service. Take the time to continually optimize your customer service process as you learn about new issues from your customers. That way, your customers know that if they buy and have a problem, their needs will always be met and the problem will be handled quickly.
Retention Marketing Tactic: Use social listening tools to seek out brand mentions online. If a customer has a problem but hasn’t brought it directly to your attention, work to fix it anyway. The surprise may be the best part of your customer’s day and will certainly improve the way they view your company. Plus you’ll receive the added bonus of their network seeing your exceptional customer service in action.
Furthermore, take note of repeat problems and issues and work to eliminate them rather than running around putting out fires. The more streamlined your processes, the higher your chances of retention.
Overshoot Customer Expectations
Over-delivering has long been a popular retention marketing tactic, and for good reason. When you exceed customer expectations, their brain forms a highly positive association with your brand. Positive associations are kept at top of mind longer, meaning your customers will be more likely to return.
Overshooting customer expectations shouldn’t stop there. Instead, stay in touch by offering exceptional customer support. If you sell a product or service, send helpful emails to your customers that make it easier to use, as well as ways they can troubleshoot problems with a live chat service or a FAQ guide.
In today’s day and age, people appreciate a brand that stands for something. That can be something as simple as treating customers fairly, or something as massive as donating one of your products to charity for every purchase made.
The point is to stand for something and make it a part of your marketing strategy. People are more likely to come back to support your brand when they know that you stand for something.
Retention Marketing Tactic: Include your values in your acquisition marketing AND your retention marketing. If you support clean water programs, show your customers how their purchases are supporting people in need. If you support exceptional customer service, create a video about a customer service experience gone right. Tie your marketing into their emotions and help them feel good about supporting your brand and what you stand for.
Put Your Plan into Action
Retention marketing has the ability to boost profits and streamline your marketing activities, so take what you’ve learned and apply it to your strategy. Remember, customer retention is about developing a personal relationship with each and every customer, so make sure you understand your own brand identity and how you can most effectively communicate with the people that buy from you.