Tips to Improve Customer Loyalty: Necessity is the Mother of Retention

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My to-do list is clear, and all I have left to do is write a blog post about customer retention.

First, I need caffeine.

Parked in front of Starbucks, I remembered they had sent me an email this morning. As an email marketer myself, I remembered it because it had a sparkly design. (I saved it to my “Swipe File” in case I need inspiration for creating emails later.)

The email says, “Members Get A Bonus Day.” Come in after 2 p.m., spend $15, and get 8 Bonus Stars credited to your rewards account.

Is Starbucks reading my mind? Did their data tell them I’d need a coffee on Monday at 3 p.m.? Do they know I’m writing a blog post on customer loyalty?

I hope the answer to these questions is no. One thing is obvious, the Starbucks marketing team knows a thing or two about customer retention.

Would you like to create a retention campaign that will make your customers think you’re a mind reader? If so, don’t do that. That could be creepy. Instead, use your marketing automation software to improve customer loyalty.

Why is Customer Retention Important?

According to a survey done by Gleanster Research and Act-On Software, top-performing businesses continue to segment their email lists after the sale. An eBook about the report, Marketing: The New Stewards of the Customer Relationship, says, “Top Performers spend a full 30 percent of their budget on expansion alone, and 25 percent of their time. And remember that their retention and expansion efforts pay off – by providing 50 percent of their revenue.”

Extend Your Lead Gen Strategy to Customer Marketing

You already know how to attract new prospects with content. Don’t forget that customers need a content marketing plan, too. You should still be educating, upselling, and building brand loyalty.

Not sure how to adapt? Keep reading; we have a long, caffeine-inspired list of ideas to get you started.

1. Begin with a Welcome

Your shiny new customer just pulled out his or her wallet and said yes. Leverage this momentum with an automatic welcome email series. What should you include in your welcome series?

  • Send an email campaign that shows them how to make the most of your service or product.
  • Determine the most frequently asked questions by new customers and create easy-to-find content with the answers.
  • Introduce them to account reps and ways to contact customer support.
  • Provide a tutorial with instructions on how to get started.
  • Send a blog post with product hacks and tips.
  • Invite them to a webinar during which they can ask an expert questions.

2. Build Brand Loyalty

Continue to send personalized messages and recommendations after you’ve discovered their preferences. Help them solve the problem with which they came to you in the first place. Here are some ideas for building brand devotion.

  • Interact with your social media followers. Never leave a question unanswered.
  • Highlight their success with a contest.
  • Launching a new product or feature? Let them know that as valued customers, they get the scoop on company news first.
  • Create a customer knowledge blog, or a resource page for your clients.
  • Offer a personalized discount, free shipping or a gift with purchase.
  • Deliver an eBook that educates and inspires.
  • Give even more product training with webinars and tutorials.

3. Re-engage Sleepy Customers

Unfortunately, customer activity can slow over time. Create a process to identify inactive customers. Define what “dormant” means to your business, and then try the following tactics to win back your customers.

  • Send a “We miss you” email. Be direct and ask them to come back. Everybody likes to feel needed.
  • Send a discount or coupon they can’t ignore. Make the incentive time-sensitive and tailor it to their preferences.
  • Ask them to update their email preferences. Let them narrow down what information they want to receive from you and/or how often they wish to receive it.
  • Invite them to take part in a survey. You can learn what they like and gain valuable feedback.
  • Wish them a happy birthday or celebrate an anniversary.

Download this comprehensive eBook to learn 10 tactics to build a successful lead nurturing campaign in today’s inbound, multichannel, custom-tailored B2B marketing world, including how to re-engage your customers. 

4. Leverage Your Brand Evangelists

Your most valuable customers will engage with you on a regular basis. If you’re using marketing automation, you can use it to interact with and reward these brand evangelists. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Rank your customers by engagement to find advocates – just like you would do with lead scoring.
  • Segment your list of evangelists even further by finding out who has the most Twitter followers. Invite these influencers to participate in your referral program.
  • Ask them to take part in a case study.
  • Use positive reviews from brand ambassadors in your lead nurturing campaigns.
  • Highlight your best customers by using their testimonials on your landing pages, or invite them to present at your user conferences.
  • Test your campaigns with advocates and ask for feedback.

Now that you “retention it,” you’ll get more revenue for less effort.

All the research underscores that retention revenue is more profitable than acquisition revenue (And remember that Bain study that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.)

Doing lead gen? Then you already have the marketing chops to develop and deliver a customer retention strategy, so what are you waiting for? Go get your cup of coffee and get started!

Happy, engaged, and loyal customers lead to a strong business – and more opportunities for growth. Keeping track of customer engagement will set your company up for long-term success. Our 8-step guide, Do You Really Know Your Customers?, will walk you through the steps needed to build quality, lasting relationships with your customers.