Retention marketing has become a mission critical marketing activity today, as businesses try to hold on to customers they’ve acquired after a lot of difficulty. There is no doubt that it will keep gaining in importance over the years. After all, customer acquisition is 6-7 times costlier than customer retention.
Retention is all about ensuring a customer will buy again from your business. This is where customer loyalty enters the picture. If customers are not loyal to your brand,they will not buy from you again and again.
So, ask yourself this question:
“What should I be doing in 2015 to ensure customers come back to my store the next time they are planning to buy something that I sell?”
Some business owners and marketing managers will argue – “Why prepare for 2015, in 2014?”
MalcolmX said: “Future belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
By starting to think about the strategies that you should employ in 2015 to retain your loyal customers, you can plan out a successful year for your business and stay a step ahead of the competition.
Let’s look at some useful and actionable steps you must take in 2015 to ensure your customers remain loyal to your brand:
1. Give Them Reasons to Continue being Your Customer (Hint: Incentivize them)
Nothing irritates a customer more than continuously offering deals to attract new customers, but having no deals for existing customers. You simply cannot afford to make this mistake in 2015.
Create an effective customer incentive program for 2015 to reward continued loyalty. The key to an effective program is offering a reward that your customers and/or fans will appreciate and one that is not being offered by your competitors.
Ensure your incentive is related to your product or service. Do some research to find out what your target audience wants; you could track their conversations on social media to know more about their needs and requirements and also monitor customer feedback for the same.
For instance, a B2B can think about offering domain related free eBooks only to existing clients. Such freebies will go a long way in turning them into repeat customers.
2. Take Feedback from Your Most Loyal Customers (and acknowledge them for it)
Perhaps you are telling yourself, “But I ask for customer feedback, so, what’s new here?”
While you need to ask for product/customer feedback from all you customers, you need to make it a point to specifically target your loyal customers.
Treat them like your family members. Ask for their valuable feedback. Conduct special polls just for them; ask for their suggestions, which could be along the following lines:
“We are in process of improving our product. Would you like to give some suggestions that will help us deliver a world-class product?”
Once they give their feedback, thank them for their suggestions. Don’t forget to thank them on social channels, once you have updated your product with the changes that they had suggested. This will definitely make them feel special.
You can even go a step further and surprise them by offering some kind of incentive for giving feedback. This will result in stronger brand loyalty. Moreover, they’ll certainly talk about your gesture with their family, friends and social networks.
3. Get Your Response Time Down
A core factor that impacts customer retention is replying to customer queries. If you’ve been taking time out to respond to customer queries, congratulations, you’re on the right track.
In 2015, go a step ahead and bring the response time down for these queries.
You can easily gain your customer’s confidence by offering extremely satisfying ‘customer services and support’. The best way to provide great service is to give timely response to customer questions and concerns.
In 2015, it’s important that you follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s approach to customer service, who said
“I genuinely believe that any business can create a competitive advantage through giving outstanding customer care.”
4. Create a Calendar for Frequent Communication and Loyalty Programs
In today’s highly competitive market, your brand may be out of customers’ radar if you don’t stay right on top of their minds. To ensure this does not happen in 2015, you need to keep the communication flowing through social channels, emails and your business app (if you have one).
Before 2015 begins, create a calendar of when and what strategies you will implement that will allow you to communicate with customers on a regular basis.
Also lay out a blueprint for various loyalty programs you plan to execute during the year. For loyalty programs, send a private message, DM, email or notification offering special personalized offers. Your customers will not only respond to this positively, but also appreciate it because this will make them feel valued and special.
5. Give Them a ‘Wow’ Experience
This tactic will make your business irreplaceable in 2015.
Maya Angelou’s said:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So, exceed your customers’ expectations in 2015. Make them feel special.
The best way to ‘wow’ customers is to surprise them (pleasantly, of course!). It could be as simple as sending a ‘Thank You’ card for being a loyal customer or sending some expensive item that you know they’ll love.
6. Consistently Deliver on What You Promise
Above all, you need to stand by your word – be it regarding the quality of products or the timely after-sales support you’ve promised.
Sending a ‘Thank You’ card will do no good, if you don’t deliver a good quality product or customers have a bad service experience with your brand.
If someone buys your product that means they have shown trust in your business and product. Don’t break their trust. If you do, they will never return. So, consistently deliver on your promise.
The golden rule to retain customers is to ‘Under-Promise and Over-Deliver’.
Over to YOU:
2015 will be the year of ‘survival of the smartest’. The business that remains client-centered will receive incredible results. Include the above mentioned steps in your marketing strategies to show your customers how much you love them.
What other strategies are you planning to use in 2015 to retain your customers? Please let us know in the comments section.