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Work Smarter, Not Harder: 6 Customer Retention Strategies

by Sha Drena Simon . May 21, 2020
Past customers are an untapped source of revenue for many businesses, making improved customer retention an easy way to boost revenues in a down economy.

As the coronavirus pandemic impacts the economy, many companies are struggling to bring in new customers. As a result, return customers (those who have already bought from a company) are becoming more valuable, due to their lower cost of acquisition and familiarity with your business. By improving customer retention (your business’s ability to keep customers loyal and improve their profitability), you could generate a vital stream of revenue at a relatively low cost. Check out some strategies for bringing your old customers back into your business.

Create a Customer Loyalty Program

A customer loyalty program offers participating customers rewards based on the dollar amount they spend at a business, which is typically tracked through a point system. Points can then be redeemed for discounts or other special offers to encourage loyalty and further spending. These programs can keep your business top-of-mind among your most loyal customers and makes it easier for them to buy from it again. They can also allow you to track your most profitable customers and calibrate your marketing to different segments of them.

Provide Exclusive Offers to Return Customers

Exclusive offers available to customers who made a certain threshold of previous purchases can be used to entice them to make another purchase. Some examples of offers to previous customers include e-mailed coupon codes, limited-time offers, flash sales, and more. It may also involve improved service, such as returning customers being assigned their own customer service team. Exclusive offers add novelty to your business, induce a fear of missing out among past customers and reduces friction they might experience.

Build a Blog

A blog allows businesses to reach out to customers with updates, informative posts, interactive media, and much more. Create a content strategy and calendar to ensure you're filling your blog with content your target audience wants and publishing when they’ll see it. Then set up automatic monthly emails to send your customers the blog posts and any other blog updates you might want to share. This will let them see you as a knowledgeable leader in your industry and build trust among your audience, which can in turn increase customer retention.

Showcase Customer Success Stories

Customer success stories are narratives that describe a past customer’s experience with your business, product, or service, and how they benefited from it. Success stories can take the form of testimonials, reviews, case studies, social media posts, and more. These lend social proof to your business and give prospective customers a reason to commit, especially if they find themselves in a similar position as one of the people in the stories.

Improve Packaging

If your business uses packaging for any of its products, giving it an update in look, feel, or accessibility could improve your ability to reach customers. Outdated packaging or that which is difficult to handle can deter customers from making a purchase, while packaging that is tailored to what they want out of a product may help them better identify with your business. As more customers view the experience as an essential part of their purchase, the right packaging could differentiate your product enough from others to cause a sale. By creating a unique identity associated with your product via improved packaging, you may also improve customer retention.

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing refers to marketing to the use of email to reach out to potential customers. To create an effective email marketing campaign, first create segmented contact lists to ensure that previous customers are getting information about the products and services they're interested in. Build different email subscriptions for different types of information to be sent depending on the level of engagement each customer segment has and where you want to take them. Use surveys periodically to collect more information that you need to further refine your segments and to better personalize your marketing.

Effective email marketing can keep your business top-of-mind among your past customers. You can tailor your messaging to different segments and to individuals in ways that make them more likely to become return customers. Rather than sending out generic, spammy emails, you can add value to your customers with each one you send, improving your stature with them and earning their trust.

Focusing on increasing your customer retention can increase the number of return customers that engage with your business, driving down acquisition costs while making each transaction more profitable. As businesses adapt to new realities, it's natural to turn to customers that are already familiar with your business for additional revenue. By making your business more engaged with past customers, you can also improve it overall as you identify points of friction that could keep them from coming back. The amount you invest in your customers will ultimately be reflected in your business.

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