Marketers have a strong tendency to focus on courting new business. This can cause you to neglect your very best prospects: the customers you already have. A recent study by Bain & Co found that a 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in the value of the company. But, building these strong relationships takes planning and strategy.
A few things to consider when building your digital strategy for customer retention:
1. Know Your Audience
Customer retention is about engaging with your existing customer base. Hopefully you already have a wealth of analytical insights on who your customers are, how they interact with your organization and their purchase patterns. If not, now is a crucial time to get to know who your buyers are and begin to create marketing materials and promotions that appeal to them. Learn what they want and provide it to win their loyalty. To bring this existing data ”to life,” think about creating various personas of who your existing customer is.
The marketing materials you create targeting your personas will also become a crucial part of your content strategy and play a pivotal role in improving your overall SEO efforts, because you can create content that would be sought out by each of your personas. Buyer personas are an excellent tool for getting inside your customers’ heads. A persona is a fictional creation who matches the demographics of one of your sets of buyers.
2. Set Goals
Without goal setting, you’ll have no tool to measure the success of your customer retention efforts. There are many ways to define your goals. To ensure success and buy-in within your business, create your set of retention objectives around the S.M.A.R.T principle (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). Consider sales figures from prior years or months to set the goal for an upcoming time period.
Example S.M.A.R.T Goals:
- Achieve 17% of existing customers to service their online account within 12 months. Service could be defined as: visiting the site, logging into their account, or making a repeat purchase.
- Upsell 27% of existing customers to make a repeat purchase within 5 months through the company website.
3. Use Marketing Automation Effectively
Marketing Automation can be one of your most powerful tools for bringing customers back to your site to make new purchases. Recently our award-winning Pardot content marketing team outlined four great strategies that you can employ:
- Prospect tracking to improve content
- Lead scoring to identify brand evangelists
- Lead nurturing to help customers see additional value
- Customer retention drip campaigns
4. Converse with Your Brand’s Fans
“Business is Social,” says Beth Comstock, CMO of General Electric. GE believes so much in the power of social to connect with customers that they have a goal to digitize every sales person.
Customers are using social media more and more to contact a company when there is a problem. By responding quickly (surveys say that customers expect replies in 24 hours or less) you can not only fix your customer’s problem; you can also publicly show the quality of your customer service.
Here are a few other ways to consider using social media to improve customer loyalty:
- Analyze your current database of social media followers/fans. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a great resource for listening, analyzing, and engaging with your customers on a 1:1 basis.
- Create an editorial content plan specific to your customers needs (remember they are different than prospects’ needs) in place to drive timely content through social media channels.
- Ensure you’ve provided in-house training for staff to use social media channels in communicating with customers.
5. Analyze Your Success and Set KPIs
Check your engagement, sales and other figures regularly to see how your efforts are working. When you observe a tactic that works well, you can use it again to bring more success in the future. But, if there are efforts that seem to fall flat, you know it’s time to tweak things. You can also use monitoring to decide on the best places to invest your time and funds. For instance, if your Pinterest page has three times the engagement of Instagram, you know that Pinterest is the place to put the bulk of your social media marketing efforts.
Here are a list of suggested KPI retention measurements that could be considered:
- Number of branded keywords
- Number of keywords on the 1st page of SERP
- Number of outbound links generated
- Traffic referral volume
- Pages viewed per visit
- Number of inbound links generated
- Number of emails sent out
- Segment email lists by existing customers
- Click-through rate to website
- Open rate of email campaign sent
- Repeat purchase rate through channel
- Number of followers and fans
- Measure engagement through reTweets and likes
- Percentage of referral traffic through to website
In all of the hype of attracting, nurturing, and converting prospects, it’s easy to forget the true key to sustainable growth: obtaining lifelong customers. But, by testing strategies, consistently putting forth effort, and measuring your performance, you can increase your retention rates and significantly increase your brand’s sales.