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3 top tips for retaining loyal customers

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 02 Mar, 2018
Essential Essential topic

Learn how to retain the customers you already have

Strategies for winning new customers are always being tried and tested, many without success.

It is much harder to bring in a valuable volume of new customers than to make the most of those you already have. Time and costs increase as you focus on new customer acquisition, when you could be reaping the benefits of your loyal and already engaged existing customer base.

Growing your loyal customer base needs to be a key focus for all businesses looking for measurable ROI they can be proud of. Below we’re looking at three key marketing methods for bolstering customer loyalty and growing your returning customer base.

Be Remembered Through Email Marketing

In 2017, there were 3.7 billion recorded global e-mail users, with forecasts suggesting this will increase to 4.1 billion by 2021. While no one is suggesting you can capture the attention of all these users, it does show that email is still a hugely important and viable tool for marketing and connecting with your customers.

Email marketing is never going to stop being a valuable tool for your business, especially for keeping existing customers interested. It has a mean ROI of 122% which is over four times higher than most other marketing methods including social media and paid search. Marketing spends on email marketing is also increasing year on year, showing that businesses recognize its value.

Yes, many inboxes are filled to the brim with spam, but personalized and tailored marketing emails are still effective and definitely work. They can bring customers back who may not have made a purchase for many months and they can keep others coming back for more on a regular basis when offers and content are just too good to ignore.

Email marketing also gives you the chance to add value to your business offering for your customers. As they feel they’re “getting something back” from you, their affinity for your business and loyalty to your brand will naturally increase.

Email marketing does have a key sales role, but it is about much more than that and can be central to keeping loyal customers interested and committed to your brand.

Surveys as a Marketing Tool

Customers appreciate it when you listen to them so surveys and similar feedback forms are a great way of consistently offering this. It helps develop a two-way relationship between you and your customers and allows their thoughts and ideas to become innovations in your business.

Surveys often come with a bonus of a reward, whether it’s corporate prepaid giftcards for later use, entry into a prize draw or an instant money off voucher and this can keep customers interested too.

Surveys can deliver more than product insight though, they can be used to shape and develop your content marketing campaign. In gathering opinions and feedback from your engaged customers, you are able to get a feel for the kind of content they like.

This feeds perfectly into your content and marketing planning and allows you to ensure that going forward, you’re delivering content that your customers are pre-primed to be engaged with and interested in.

Customers love to think they’re involved in a business on more than a simple transactional basis so if you can utilize their thoughts and insights, you are further enhancing their feelings of engagement and commitment to your brand.

Unparalleled Customer Service

Customers have high expectations when it comes to the level of service they expect. You need to consistently deliver the highest levels of customer service, to all customers and potential customers, to avoid any issues in retaining or obtaining customers.

Poor customer service doesn’t just disappear. Not only will you lose customers, your reputation can be irrevocably damaged, especially with the advance of social media as a core customer service channel. Annoy one customer and you can be sure they’ll make it known and broadcast it as loudly as possible across their social media channels.

The customer experience you create is core to whether people come back for more and many brands have used social media effectively to achieve this.

Going above and beyond the expectations of your customers is even easier to show off if you’re using real-time customer service solutions such as social media. Virgin Trains made this particularly evident in their immediate response to one traveler’s awkward situation:

Virgin Trains customer service

This type of customer service may be a little unusual but it not only solved the problem for the individual customer, it gained a huge amount of social attention and boosted the reputation of the brand significantly.

On the other hand, other brands seem to have missed the point entirely of offering quick and effective customer service. In the example below, it is possible to see how siloed social media accounts can cause slower service and even confusion for customers.

American Express

Siloed accounts make sense for companies with large, separate departments but in practice, they limit the range of communications and interactions between your company and its customers. In separating your company across different accounts you’re asking for extra effort from your customers, who only want a straightforward and simple experience. It rarely works in the favour of the business.

Focus on Customer Retention

Customer retention marketing needs to be a core element of your business’ overall strategy. By failing to properly attend to customer relationships you are slowly but surely denigrating the reputation of your business and customer numbers will fall.

Maintaining relationships with existing customers and keeping them engaged using the above techniques will help to improve and enhance your business’ image. It shows a brand who cares about all their customers and isn’t just focused on generating new, short-term business all the time.

Retention marketing appeals to the modern customer. Attention spans are shorter so if they can take the easy option and return to an existing company, they will, but you have to woo them. 82% of companies agree that retention is also a cheaper strategy than acquisition so it works in the favour of businesses too.

Loyalty should be rewarded and respecting and engaging with your existing customer base delivers many benefits. The above techniques are a great starting point for growing and expanding your existing customer base.

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By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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