Customer retention is the lifeblood of any business. You can acquire a handful of new followers with flashy one-time promotions. Still, the true ROI potential lies in nurturing consistent, long-term relationships with a loyal customer base.
COVID-19 influenced many consumers to re-evaluate their purchasing behaviors and priorities. In a period of so much fluctuation, the criteria for retention have become more specific. According to a recent survey, consumers want to feel a trusted emotional connection before committing to a brand. They also expect each interaction to be authentic and personal.
More than 80 percent of survey respondents will continue to support a brand that knows their core needs, interests, values, and buying habits. Delivering this type of customer experience takes time and effort, but it’s worth the investment.
Through her research, Ali Cudby, author of How to Keep Your Customers, found that acquiring a new customer costs 6–7 times more than retaining your existing ones. Plus, even a 5 percent retention boost can increase revenue by 25–95 percent. So here are a few actionable tips to secure loyal customers at all touchpoints in the marketing funnel.
Make the Onboard Seamless
Your onboarding process is a consumer’s first impression of your business. It’s crucial that 63 percent of consumers feel the quality of an onboarding experience factors into their decision to purchase, and 90 percent agree companies need to improve in this area. The goal of any onboard is to help the consumer finish their transaction and, ultimately, entice them to return for more. Each stage in the sales funnel must be seamless—think: user-friendly, efficient, accessible, and convenient. Ask yourself, “Is the whole process quick and easy to navigate?” “Is the requested information secure?” “Does the communication feel personal and responsive?” A successful onboard will turn first-time buyers into repeat customers.
Refine Your Content Strategy
Content is another medium you can use to strengthen customer relationships. Consistently producing valuable content that will resonate with your target audience is one of the most effective ways to form a trustworthy brand reputation. In fact, 84 percent of surveyed consumers will purchase from a brand whose content they follow on social media, while 45 percent will unfollow a brand for posting irrelevant content. That’s the power a content strategy can have. So here’s how to leverage content for customer retention:
- Create a blog and publish consistent, high-quality articles. You can also experiment with multimedia posts such as videos or podcast recordings.
- Establish a robust educational library of product demos, e-books, case studies, or white papers. You can even make this gated content for subscribers.
- Use social media to encourage customer interaction. Host contests with your followers, share product or business updates, create exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, offer discounts to existing customers, or repost user-generated content.
- Personalize your email marketing content. Announce sales promotions for existing customers, send coupons or freebies on birthdays, or offer exclusive pre-launch access to new products or services before the general public.
Establish a Rewards Program
Showing customer appreciation is an excellent motivator to keep them around. One way to do this is through membership to a customer rewards program—after all, who doesn’t love free or discount perks? According to a national poll, 79 percent of Americans feel the option to join a rewards program will increase their likelihood of continuing to support a brand. 80 percent will also purchase more frequently to earn a reward. That’s especially true among Gen Zers, which is vital since this generation will be the largest U.S. consumer cohort by 2026. So incentivize them to remain loyal. Offer a discount when they share a referral link. Give them a promo code after 5 purchases. Or send a free gift on their customer anniversary.
Build a Clear Feedback Loop
It’s easier to curate a positive, sustainable customer experience when you invite and implement feedback from those customers. Maintaining a straightforward, honest feedback loop will communicate that you’re listening to their input, reinforcing an emotional connection. In fact, 56 percent of consumers agree a business’s response to feedback influences their opinion of the entire brand. Feedback is also valuable for you—based on this information, you can adjust to better serve customer needs. Here’s how to collect the feedback:
- Customer Surveys: When a consumer takes a specific action in your brand’s sales or marketing funnel (e.g., follows, subscribes, purchases, etc.), email them a Net Promoter Score survey. This customer poll asks one basic but important question: “On a scale of 1–10, how likely are you to recommend [business name] to a friend?” All the customer has to do is choose a rating score, provide some context, then submit their answer. This qualitative metric tells you what’s working and what needs improvement.
- Customer Reviews: 98 percent of consumers read online reviews when searching for a local business. So if the average person pays attention to customer reviews, you should do the same. A review is an excellent source of organic feedback and a chance to interact directly with the customer. Consistently monitor reviews about your business on various platforms (e.g., Yelp, Google, social media, etc.), then respond promptly and address questions, concerns, or input.
Improve Customer Retention in 2023
Ready to scale your marketing efforts and transform casual leads into lifetime customers? If so, plenty of professionals or agencies are available to help streamline the process for you. They’ll build an effective customer retention strategy that boosts credibility, nurtures relationships, creates value, and optimizes the customer experience.