Every business wants to generate new customers. But most of the time, generating new customers online can be more costly than retaining the ones you already have. Retention marketing focuses on creating value from current customers, rather than focusing on acquiring new ones. By delivering relevant and engaging content to your customers, you can increase their lifetime value to ultimately increase the profit of your business.
In this day and age, many people browse and shop online. There are a myriad of online businesses that customers can choose from for their shopping needs. Running an online business that will acquire new customers is a challenging task, but retaining the customers that have previously purchased from you is another. Retention marketing is becoming more important and prevalent in the ecommerce world. It is the process of keeping your customers engaged and ensuring they re-enter the sales cycle and become repeat customers. To keep your customers engaged and repurchasing, you must put into place retention marketing strategies in order to maintain a loyal clientele base and prevent your customers from looking somewhere else for the same product or service.
A retention marketing strategy must acknowledge the different types of customers. There are typically three types of customers, including potential customers that have visited your website but have not yet purchased anything, customers who have made a recent purchase and customers who have purchased in the past but have not made any recent purchases. We will discuss a few retention marketing strategies that have proven to be successful to ensure you are not losing your valuable customers.
Provide Excellent Customer Service And Support Systems.
The main reason customers may leave your business is because they are unhappy with the service they receive. If you want happy and satisfied customers, exceptional customer service must be the norm. There’s no question about it. Customers will repurchase with businesses that deliver exceptional customer service and support. When you purchase a product or a service from a store whether online or in person, the customer service that you receive will leave a long lasting first impression which will directly influence your decision to repurchase from that store. We can all agree that bad customer service will result in us choosing to never purchase from there again. Therefore customer service is one of the most important aspects your business can offer.
Providing excellent and proactive support systems allows for turning customers with problems into loyal customers. We all want our needs to be met and exceeded for an enhanced customer experience. Going above and beyond your customers’ expectations will not only result in a positive customer experience, but is also an easy way to build strong relationships. Prioritising and focusing your customers’ needs is essential for building long term loyalty. You should be proactive in addressing your customers’ issues and isolate and rectify potential issues before they become major problems. Understanding your customers’ issues and providing immediate responses will make them feel cared for.
Tools like help desks and live chat systems are a great way to add a human touch to your online business. Customers like to deal with people, not automation. When personalised messages and responses are created, customers are more likely to feel valued. Depending on the size of your online business, you may want to consider using live chat systems or even send personal emails to your customers asking if they have any questions or need any assistance. Proactive customer support systems can help with customers whose usage may be slipping. An excellent way to show your customers that you appreciate their business is to send small appreciation gifts, handwritten notes or even a personalised email to say thanks. Even the smallest gesture can influence your customers’ perception about your business.
Use Personalised Retention Emails.
Many online businesses may already use email marketing as a way to increase their sales. It keeps your business at the forefront of your customers’ minds, influencing them to come back. Email marketing has proven to be an effective method to promote your products or services and offer valuable information, and it can provide high levels of return on investment. Instead of just using emails to showcase your latest products or services, using email marketing strategically with the aim of retention marketing, can encourage former customers to come back and purchase from you again. The best part of this method is that you can use your current email service provider to send retention emails, and all you need to do is target segment your audience.
If you have a small online business targeting a niche market, you may want to personalise the emails by simply adding the customer’s name or even personalise the product recommendation based on what the customer has previously purchased. If you ever received a thank you note or a personalised email, it probably made you smile. Do not underestimate the power personalisation can have. There are many ways to personalise an email and you can reap the benefits of a happy and engaged customer that will most likely repurchase from your business.
Loyalty And Reward Programs.
You are probably familiar with the idea of a loyalty program. A common loyalty program that you may have come across is when a cafe gives you a loyalty card and after a certain amount of stamps from purchasing coffee, you will receive a free coffee. Loyalty and rewards programs are one of the most effective customer retention strategies. It enables you to provide your customers reward points to encourage them to come back and purchase from your business again and again.
For your online business, there are different ways to create a loyalty and reward program. For example, you may offer discounts for spending a certain amount of money for frequent shoppers or a discount for buying a particular product more than twice at different times. You could even create a loyalty program where every time a customer purchases a product or service, they accumulate points and can then use those points to receive a free item. Loyalty points can engage your customers; this in turn can help with your brand reputation as well as generate positive word of mouth.
Loyalty and reward programs are an easy tool for your business to implement. It boosts your reputation and increase sales through enticing rewards, but most importantly, it keeps your customers happy. By doing so, you are sending a message that you not only want to make sales, but also want to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers. Many businesses lose their customers because they do not establish customer relationships.
Build Relationships Online.
As an online business, you might as well connect with your customers through social media as they already are online. With the rise of social media, connecting your customers through websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, will keep them engaged and proactive. The majority of your customers most likely have one or multiple social media accounts, so you might as well take advantage and connect with them through these mediums. Social media allows for one-to-one connections which can establish valuable customer relationships. You can easily communicate with your customers by offering relevant information and they can leave comments and provide feedback. Customer feedback is essential in improving your business and allowing you to better understand your customers’ needs. Connecting with your customers and creating a relationship may take time and effort; however it is beneficial in the long run, especially if you want to increase your business’s profit.
Some examples of topics you can share through social media to reach your customers are product news updates, short pieces on key news relevant to your business and products, case studies featuring your satisfied customers and information on new products that are now offering. These topics will not only catch your customer’s attention, but also encourage them to revisit your online business for the possibility of a repurchase.
Implement Customer Feedback Surveys
Typically, if a customer has a bad experience with an online purchase, they will not follow it up and vow to never purchase from that business again. Just because you may not ever hear from that customer, does not mean they won’t share their negative experience with their friends or through social media. Creating customer feedback surveys and a system for complaints not only inform your business, but allow you to rectify the problem before it gets out of control. In most cases, talking to the customer about their problem, fixing the problem and impressing them with your excellent customer service can eventually turn them into a loyal customer.
Simply listening to your customers can provide invaluable information that your business can use to improve upon. Monitoring customer feedback individually allows you to narrow down the specific problem and customer, where you can then take action from there. Feedback and complaints will ultimately help you retain your customers in the long term, as well as better your business for new and potential customers.