Six Proven Ways to Retain Your Customers
Is your marketing strategy top heavy? It’s all too easy to focus the bulk of your efforts on attracting new customers and leave customer retention on the backburner.
If this sounds like your brand, you may be losing out on revenue. Smart businesses prioritise customer retention for one simple reason: it makes business sense.
According to Harvard Business School, attracting new customers is five to twenty-five times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Meanwhile, increasing customer retention rates by just 5 percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent.
In this blog post, we explore six proven ways to retain your customers and increase your customer lifetime value.
1. Let customers know your mission
It is human nature to care about purpose. We turn to science, philosophy, or religion to tell us why we are here. We seek career advice to help us find our calling. We start each New Year with a set of resolutions that give us focus.
In the age of eCommerce, this purpose-seeking behaviour means that consumers are more likely to be loyal to purposeful brands. Jim Stengel’s ‘Grow’ found that “brand ideals drive the performance of the highest growing businesses”.
The top 50 fastest-growing brands, which includes Apple, Amazon, Starbucks and Zappos, all have brand ideals at the heart of their business. These brands outperform the market by 400 percent.
To emulate their success let customers know your mission. Decide on your purpose—your brand’s raison d’être—and weave this through your marketing messages. This is a powerful way to attract and retain a loyal community of customers that buy into your brand ideals.
An email welcome campaign is the perfect opportunity to introduce new customers to you mission and get buy-in from the word go. Here’s a great example of a welcome email that does just that from purpose-led shoe brand, Tom’s:
2. Reduce buyer’s remorse
After a customer has splashed out on a new purchase they may experience something called buyer’s remorse.
This post-purchase anxiety can leave customers questioning if they spent their money well, whether they like their purchase, and if they could have bought it cheaper elsewhere.
Smart brands use post-purchase marketing to combat buyer’s remorse and encourage positive brand sentiment. This increases the chance of repeat purchases and improves customer retention.
To put this into action, consider setting up automated email workflows that enhance the post-purchase customer journey. For example:
- thank you emails
- feedback requests
- product care guides
This thank you email example from Abercrombie & Fitch is great antidote to buyer’s remorse.
3. Use gamification
Online shopping shouldn’t be a chore. Gamification is a clever way to make shopping with your brand more fun. This improves customer experience and the likelihood of repeat purchases.
To use gamification to increase customer retention, try making your loyalty schemes fun. Introduce a narrative, progress, and tasks that turn boring points collection into an immersive activity. You can use similar principles to enhance your referral schemes too.
4. Create delight
Finding ways to surprise and delight your customers helps your brand stand out from the competition. Customers are more likely to stay with brands that go out of their way to treat them well.
Ways to implement this customer retention strategy include:
- surprising customers for their loyalty with a gift
- offering a discount of their birthday
- offering free shipping to loyal customers
5. Identify at risk customers early
Try as you might, you can’t please everyone all of the time. There will always be occasions when customers become unhappy with your service.
The key to improving customer retention rates is to identify unhappy customers as soon as possible. This allows you to turn things round before they disengage with your brand completely.
There’s a few ways to can go about this.
Social listening can help you identify unhappy customers who are vocal on social media. Simply set up keywords relating to your brand and monitor for conversations that appear negative in nature. Most social listening platforms offer sentiment analysis which automatically detects both positive and negative conversations.
Additionally you could use a single customer view to identify signals that a customer shows before they churn. Once you know how people are likely to slip away, you can put campaigns in place to prevent this earlier.
6. Win back lost customers
To keep customer retention rates healthy, you need to find ways to win back lapsed customers.
Re-engagement emails are the perfect way to implement this customer retention strategy. They get triggered when customers:
- have stopped buying from you
- have not engaged with emails for a set period
- fail to renew their subscription (if you offer one)
The aim of re-engagement emails is to address issues that may have led customers to lapse and prompt them to re-engage. This example from Not on the High Street does this well:
There are a number of ways you can optimise your re-engagement emails. Give our in-depth blog post on lapsed customers a read for some inspiration.
We hope our six proven ways to retain your customers have given you some solid building blocks for your customer retention strategy.