We’re all familiar with the concept of lead generation – in fact, it’s likely that a large portion of your budget focuses on generating new leads and converting those leads into new customers. That’s all good and well, but don’t overlook what are likely your most lucrative opportunities: existing customers. Studies have shown time and time again that it is far more expensive to acquire a new customer than to maintain and grow an existing one.
How can you drive future sales and increase your customer’s lifetime value? Here are a few easy tips to get you started.
1. Have a plan
This is not the first time “have a plan” has been a key point in one of my blog posts, and it certainly won’t be the last. While plans must always be flexible, in this case if you don’t have a plan in place you’re likely going to miss your window of opportunity. Interest levels are at their highest immediately following a customer’s purchase, meaning this is an ideal time to recommend additional products and services.
An important planning consideration is determining who is responsible for executing your customer retention strategy. In most cases it will be someone on your marketing team; however, if you have a sales channel it can be more complicated. Are you executing on behalf of your agents, franchisees or dealers? Or are you providing them the content, tools and training to nurture their existing customers?
2. Get personal
When I say get personal, I’m not saying creep on their personal Facebook pages or give them hugs. (Seriously, NO HUGGING.) What I’m talking about is content personalization.
Your customer retention strategy will be most effective if your content and timing is unique for each customer. After the sale, you now know what they bought, which means you also know when they’re likely to buy again, which accessories or services are relevant, and what other products may interest them. And that’s just the start! As you nurture your customers, you’ll continue to gain behavioral insights based on when and what content they are interacting with, allowing you to hit them with even more targeted messaging and offers to drive them to buy again.
3. Welcome them
A welcome message sent shortly after a first purchase can go a long way. Not only will it make your customer feel warm and fuzzy because you thought of them, but it’s also a great opportunity to get them thinking about their next purchase. Be sure to capture their contact information at the point of sale so you can communicate with your customers through your selected channels.
A simple auto-responder email can often do the trick; however, there are many other ways for you to welcome your customers. The method you choose may depend on the value of the product or service you sell and what kind of future sales opportunities you have. Some ideas to get you started include:
- Welcome kit (my personal favorite!)
- Personal call or text
- Shout-out on social media
4. Nurture them
Now that you’ve thanked customers for their purchase, it’s time to nurture your relationship. Your customer made a purchase, which means they know and trust your brand – that’s a big hurdle you’ve just cleared! Keep the momentum going by staying in front of them with relevant, engaging messages.
Email, direct mail, mobile and digital are all great channels to leverage when mapping out your communication touchpoints, which can include:
- Educational information (e.g., blogs, how-tos or tips and tricks)
- Service or renewal reminders
- Extended warranty offers
- Available accessories or service upgrades
Don’t forget about social media when it comes to your nurture plan. Include social media icons to your emails and invite subscribers to connect and share content. Then be sure you have a solid content calendar in place to keep customers engaged in those spaces as well.
5. Encourage their next purchase
Now that you’ve spent some time nurturing your relationship and building their loyalty, it’s time to encourage your customers to buy again. Use the data you’ve collected for cross-selling and up-selling, incorporating targeted recommendations and programs.
- Loyalty programs
- Service/maintenance programs
- Exclusive offers
- Referral programs
6. See if it’s working
If you’ve heard any of us Flintsters present, you know we LOVE to talk about measurement. Watch your results for what’s working and – more importantly – what’s not working. Learn from these findings and continually optimize your program based on what the data tells you.
If you don’t have a customer retention strategy in place yet, or if you’d like to amplify your strategy, we’d love to visit with you. Just let us know, and we’ll be in touch.