Attracting customers is the first step in any business’s sales strategy. But it’s not enough to just land that first sale. Nurturing those relationships is the next crucial step in order to get customers to come back time and time again.
Customer retention—or the rate at which customers stay with your business over a period of time—can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Just a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-29% increase in revenue! Even better, it costs much less to retain a customer than it does to attract a new one. Loyal, high-value customers can provide consistent profit and aid in tremendous business growth.
Despite these results, only 18% of businesses focus on customer retention efforts. If you’re not nurturing your customers, you’re leaving money on the table. To help your business stay at the forefront of consumers’ minds and create long-term loyalty, consider implementing these customer retention tactics.
Respond to Reviews
Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Yelp are popular places for customers to leave reviews. When a customer takes the time to review your business, it’s important that you take the time to respond. A personalized reply demonstrates that your business cares about its customer relationships.
Businesses have a lot to learn from both positive and negative reviews, and replying helps the customer know you’re paying attention to that feedback. Thank every customer who leaves a positive review. If a customer leaves a negative review, apologize and find ways to make it right. If you work to repair the relationship, customers may be willing to give your business another shot.
Responding to reviews not only improves customer retention—it also helps with customer acquisition. Replies boost your credibility and positive reputation with prospective customers who might be considering a purchase. People spend 50% more money with businesses that regularly respond to reviews, so this is a great free form of marketing to capitalize on.
Send Thank You Cards
Like responding to reviews, sending thank you cards to customers shows that you appreciate them for supporting your business. It’s a simple way to go the extra mile, and it can differentiate you from your competitors. Hand-written thank you cards are best suited for service-oriented businesses that retain customer information.
If you have a large database of customers, it’s unrealistic to write thank you notes to all of them. In this case, target high-potential or high-value consumers. For example, you might send thank you notes to new customers after their first purchase. Repeat customers are good candidates for thank you notes if they spend a certain dollar amount in a given year or if they’re celebrating a major milestone or anniversary. Recognizing these things will help your customers feel special and ensure they’re not just a number to your business.
Run Email Nurture Campaigns
Email is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with a large group of customers over time. It may not be as personalized as a hand-written thank you, but email campaigns will keep your business top of mind and help demonstrate your ongoing value.
Customize your email campaigns as much as possible to meet customer needs. You might group customers by industry or previous purchases to tailor the content. Provide educational resources, videos, tips, ideas, or other helpful content beyond just a sales message. Consider what problems your customers might be facing and find ways to solve them.
Make sure your email campaigns follow good business etiquette. You don’t want to spam customers and force them to unsubscribe. Use your data to determine an appropriate frequency for emails so you stay relevant—not annoying.
Depending on your target audience, you could also nurture customers through text message campaigns. Use the same rules as email campaigns: Make sure you get the customer’s permission to text them, don’t message them too often, and provide value with your messages instead of sending spammy sales texts.
Send Direct Mailers
Physical mail is a tried-and-true way to nurture customers. By nature, getting mail feels more personal than being targeted by digital marketing tactics. Direct mailers can even be personalized using variable data.
No matter which form of direct mail you use, don’t send mail just because. You want to target your audience with key messages or draw their attention at certain times of the year. For example, send a postcard to remind them to schedule an annual appointment, or mail out a branded holiday box in winter. Make sure the call to action is clear on every piece.
Give Gifts throughout the Year
Everyone loves useful swag. Giving gifts to customers adds an extra layer of value to your business. On top of that, branded promotional products serve as tangible reminders of your company.
Create a thoughtful gift strategy that will appeal to customers. You might send surprise gifts around an important launch or near the holidays, which will let customers know you were thinking about them. Or, you could provide a gift with purchase in store to incentivize customers to visit you.
The sky is the limit with promotional gifts. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a quality product that positively reflects your brand and values.
Host a Customer Event
Customer events bring your most loyal followers together to celebrate them and your business in a fun and memorable way. You might host a launch party for a new product, a “lunch and learn” to teach them something new, a fundraiser, or simply a customer appreciation event. If you want to go even further, add another level of exclusivity and appreciation by offering customer-only discounts or gifts.
These events make people feel more connected with your brand and what it stands for. It also humanizes your business and gives customers the opportunity to meet the people behind your brand. These things can enhance customer loyalty and turn repeat customers into brand champions.
Customer Retention Starts with Care
Beyond liking your products or services, customers want to feel appreciated and understood by the businesses they frequent. By implementing a multifaceted customer retention strategy, you’ll prove you care about your customers and ensure they visit you again.