Did you know that although gaining new customers certainly feels like an accomplishment, a greater ROI is achieved with returning customers?
With all this in mind, it makes logical sense to place more focus on your retention strategy than attracting new ones. So without further ado, here are 10 retention strategies to make any consumer a loyal one:
1) Consider investing in customer service tools
As your business grows from a small customer base to a large following, there is no doubt that a certain strain will be felt on the services you provide, exhausting your existing customer service team. Instead of hiring new supporting members, it is a lot cheaper to leverage technology to meet the extra needs of your customers.For example, many websites utilise the live chat function for their users and in a similar way, there are hundreds of apps you can download to streamline IG engagement.
2) Be that shoulder to lean on through convenience
You know that feeling when you’re running late to a dinner catch-up with your friend and instead of making a big fuss they call to ask for your order, so that by the time you arrive, it’s there ready for you? Well, the aim is to evoke that similar combination of reliability and familiarity within your consumers: make your products and content as accessible as possible.
The best way to do this is to stay ahead of the trend and identify the behaviours/ needs of your audience and then utilise tools and systems to cater to them.
3) Make them feel special and implement personalisation
To separate yourself apart from the screaming marketplace there really is only one technique, and it’s quite simple. Authenticity. Yep, it’s cliché, but try and humanise every interaction you have with your audience. Big brands like Starbucks and Wendy’s do this by the interaction feature on Twitter and replying to tweets that mention their brand and addressing the user by name. To be *really* down with the kids, you could even utilise infamous gifs in your communication channels…
4) The most obvious trick in the book: use referral programs
When you advertise referral codes, customers are attentive from the moment they even think about purchasing from your brand.
Not only are they buying something they needed, but they get to help a friend out as well as helping their back pockets. The most common example of this are ride hailing apps which give you and a friend free ride credits when you get them to download the app. The most effective strategy for the referral system is to focus on strong first incentives to get your customer invested before their purchase.
5) Tune in to your inner dark side and create an Us vs Them campaign
The infamous Mac Vs Android between you and your mates isn’t by chance, but by intelligent design. Apple’s very first rivalry campaign starred John Hodgman and Justin Long to highlight the ‘apparent’ differences between the new and edgy Apple brand and the age-old PC system.
Being the first of its kind, it was incredibly controversial, but it most definitely did the trick in dividing the market and setting Apple apart from its competitors.
By following a similar (albeit less savage strategy), you can really flaunt your brand’s true identity and makes it easier for customers to find a home in your brand, evoking a never ending sense of loyalty.
6) Repeat after me: Subscriptions aren’t a waste of money
Brands like Costco and Amazon were miles ahead of the retention game when they were the first commodity- based organisations to implement a subscription service. Turns out Costco makes most of its profits through its annual membership and Amazon Prime was all the rage with regular customers on the platform.
So how should you use subscriptions to increase customer retention?The most obvious way would be to provide benefits to your customers that they can’t find with your competitors. For example, access to exclusive content, events and limited-edition products. However, for this strategy to work, it’s essential that you thoroughly understand your audiences’ behaviours and wants beforehand.
7) Use seasonal campaigns to evoke a sense of belonging and nostalgia
Marketing has been used for centuries now to increase positive sentiment amongst the target audience.
For example, a great display of this was when Procter & Gamble created a campaign called “Thank You, Mom” during the 2012 Summer Olympics which shows snippets of the lives of athletes from when they were growing up, all the way to the playing field, in order to play to the audience’s emotive side.
The call-to-action was that the video campaigns included a clickable link which takes the users to a page where you can send personalised thank-you notes to your own mothers.
Even if your brands’ products or services don’t directly tie in with the season, find a way to create positive feelings and provide value around any festival and holiday period.
8) The element of surprise is in your favour…
In the adult world where it’s becoming increasingly rare to encounter people who do things out of the goodness of their own hearts, you tend to appreciate all the small perks life has to offer. The same goes for consumer purchases.
When a consumer buys from you, their version of the best case scenario is that it arrives in one peace and does what it says on the tin. Aim to go that one step further and provide value where it wasn’t necessarily asked for.
For example, if you were a beauty company, you could send a positive hand-written affirmation on a piece of gold card to every customer who orders from you. Or more simply, adopt a similar strategy to high-end beauty brands-by stuffing as many free samples of new products as is financially feasible with every purchase made.
9) Never forget your manners and remember to thank your customers
Leave a sweet taste in your customer’s mouth by taking the time to appreciate their purchasing decision.
You can do this by a simple email, or even tying in with point 8, by sending thank-you gifts.
This is a very successful technique in distinguishing your brand from the rest in an ever-growing market place.
10) Put your pride aside and apologise when an apology is due
Aside from those automated live-chat bots, we’re all human. Yes, even people who run multi-billion dollar businesses. Like everybody else, businessmen and women make mistakes, whether it be a data breach or shipping error, these things happen.
The important thing is having an effective bounce-back strategy to make sure you don’t lose that increasingly important customer. Whether through being as transparent as is possible to your consumer with the mistakes you have made and showing how it won’t happen again, or providing a form of compensation- the strategy always depends on the severity of the situation and how you upkeep customer service.
There you have it folks, 10 ways which you can turn a curious first-time buyer into a falling-at-your-feet loyal one!