Here’s your virtual pat on the back for focusing on customer retention. You’re in the minority, my marketing friend. Most brands are still focusing more on acquisitions despite the fact that it costs 7 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an old one.
Have you yet determined, what are the most effective customer retention strategies for your marketing? What tactics are you using to foster customer loyalty? Are you getting good results?
There are so many approaches you can take to improve your retention rates and enhance brand loyalty. Not sure where to start? The brightest minds in marketing are always a good launching point, as well as a resource for the advice and insight you need to hone your strategy along the way.
Here are the customer retention influencers you should be paying attention to. Follow them on social media. Check out their expert tips. Make them your virtual mentors. You’ve nothing to lose, and all the customer loyalty you can handle to gain.
1. Fred Reichheld
Fellow at Bain & Company, author of the best-selling book, The Loyalty Effect, and one of the most recognized loyalty experts in the world, Fred Reichheld advocates setting the bar way above customer satisfaction and focusing instead on advocacy.
He says, “I don’t think employees get inspired by that (satisfactory), they don’t innovate around that; it is not what I would want as a customer.”
Reichheld explains that the Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is more effective at gauging a company’s standing in the eyes of its customers and the likeliness of future growth than a room full of customer satisfaction surveys.
Not familiar with NPS? It involves the answer, on a scale of 1 to 10, of this question:
How likely is it that you would recommend this brand to a friend or colleague?
Respondents with a score of 9 to 10 are called promoters. They’re the ones who will keep buying and refer other customers – fueling growth and probably doing a better job at generating leads than you could ever do.
2. Bill Rice
CEO and Founder of Kaleidico, Bill Rice recommends developing an online presence your existing customers can come to depend upon. Publish your blog posts or online videos consistently. Use your brand’s social media channels to increase your brand’s visibility. Retaining customers can be as simple as reminding them “that you’re around and that they enjoy your product or service.”
3. Mike Bal
The mind behind Marketing Apocalypse: The Brand’s Survival Guide and a Director at digital marketing agency, Single Grain, Mike Bal suggests taking a fun, creative approach to making your customers feel the love. Tactics like featuring them in your social media posts, running contests on your blog, and sending thoughtful gifts – virtually or by mail – can have a huge impact.
Think outside of the box. For example, try browsing some of your customers’ social media profiles and come up with something special as a customer thank you gift. Something beyond your average promo code or free product sample. This is almost guaranteed to get them talking about your brand on social media. It will also probably get you an 11 when you ask the NPS question.
4. Gregory Ciotti
Marketing strategist for Help Scout, Greg Ciotti is a proponent of that magic concept that elevates all life’s relationships, not just the ones with your customers. Reciprocity. It’s what ‘makes the world go ‘round and keeps customers coming back’.
When giving back to your loyal customers with delights, Ciotti suggests opting for a surprise approach. You want to create a “wow” factor. To do this, the idea is to be thoughtful and personable – the handwritten thank you note, the extra freebie because you noticed your customer always buys a particular accessory. Thoughtfulness can be more effective than investing a lot of money to delight customers.
5. Lydia Sugarman
Founder of brand building agency, Venntive, Lydia Sugarman has a long history in marketing and sales. Her take on customer retention is refreshingly authentic. One of the most useful tactics she’s found is to simply pick up the phone, mail a card, or send an email or text when you haven’t heard from a customer in a while. It’s all about letting people know they are appreciated. Taking the time to reach out is a simple way to do this.
6. Richard Shapiro
Another customer loyalty thought leader, Richard Shapiro explains that retention is all about relationship building. How can you bond with your clients and customers? For B2B companies, he suggests meeting for coffee or lunch – somewhere outside of a business setting where people are more relaxed. For B2C, sending a follow-up text, email, or letter encouraging further interaction can keep the relationship going. Shapiro is the author of The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business.
7. Jerry Jao
CEO and Founder of Retention Science Jerry Jao writes a lot about trust building as a way to encourage brand loyalty. Tactics, like using social proof on your website and demonstrating transparency, are what will not just win over new customers, but also reassure existing ones that they chose a reputable company to do business with.
8. Paul Boyce
Founder and CEO of Popcorn Metrics Paul Boyce has some old-school advice for mastering customer retention. Focus on your product (or service) first. Before delving into customer delight and creating a Disneyland customer experience, the best way to keep your customers is to sell a product they like. Through user testing and tools like remote user walkthroughs for software products, you can get an idea if there are hiccups that need to be addressed.
9. Neil Patel
According to Neil Patel, content marketing expert, entrepreneur, and Co-founder of Crazy Egg, one of the secrets to a successful customer retention strategy is word of mouth marketing. What he calls on his blog, WOMM.
By increasing WOMM, you’re not only building brand awareness, you are bringing on more loyal customers. Customers acquired by word of mouth have a 16 to 25 percent higher lifetime value. To create more WOMM, Patel suggests building your own miniature marketing army of raving fans (your customers) through a strategic loyalty program.
10. Chris Hexton
Co-founder and CEO of Sydney-based email remarketing software provider, Vero, Chris Hexton emphasizes the importance of customer tracking. The best way to make buyers happy is to know what they want before they do. Using your marketing software, follow their actions and responses to better anticipate their needs. And, to recognize when you’re starting to lose customers. Identify warning signs of churn, and you can take necessary steps to reel your customers back in before you lose them.
The importance of customer retention is nothing new. Your existing customers are the key to growth. 20th-century engineer, author, and management consultant, W. Edwards Deming explained decades ago,
Start honing your customer retention techniques. Use the simple and direct, the bold and creative, the data-driven, the unexpected. Just keep building those bonds. And enjoy the reciprocity.