Simple Customer Retention Strategies
How to keep them coming back.
Getting customers is at the forefront of most business owners’ minds. But retaining the ones you have is important. Research indicates that new shoppers have a 13% chance of spending with your company, whereas repeat customers are 60 to 70% more likely to shop with you. Sales strategist Erika Tebbens returned to our small business webinar series to share how to reframe some of your existing marketing and sales activities with a focus on customer retention, or what Tebbens calls cultivating raving fans.
Why are raving fans important?
“A raving fan is somebody who helps your business grow organically via the power of word of mouth. They are people who are going to rave about you to other folks, and they often will come back and spend more money with you in the future,” explained Tebbens. Repeat customers spend 300% more with your business than new ones, because they’re typically more willing to purchase your higher-priced offerings. Their referrals can have a major impact on your bottom line as well, since 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
Keeping sight of your existing customers and their needs can also help you weather changes in technology, like new social media platforms or digital advertising rules. “When you focus on really building raving fans for your business and your brand, that is going to allow you to have this timeless system in your business that always leads to sales,” she said.
Tebbens went on, “Creating [raving fans] is rooted in how business has always been done. No matter how technologically advanced business gets, business is still people buying from people, right? So, when we focus on cultivating relationships with people, we come out on top.” For Tebbens, those relationships come down to your brand, visibility and community efforts and the customer experience.
Bring them in with your brand presence.
“Your brand is really meant to convey a message that is going to stand out to perfect-fit potential clients,” said Tebbens. It’s not about fonts or colors, though those can communicate a lot about your company. In this instance, your brand refers to the values and messages of your business, which help you stand out from the competition and help the right people find you. Specificity also helps you preserve the time and energy you put into your marketing and outreach efforts.
Put yourself and your company out there.
Networking is an essential part of boosting your company’s visibility, helping you find values-aligned customers that can turn into fans. Talk to people at conferences, your local chambers of commerce or other entrepreneur events, and use those opportunities to build relationships. Those relationships may result in sales or potential brand partnerships. Brand partnerships mean teaming up with another business that has a similar audience to get your products in front of new potential customers. “Just make it an intentional part of your marketing activity,” Tebbens urged.
When you sell your product, those customers become part of your community. But you can also make people who aren’t customers yet feel like they’re included. Consider giving online fans a fun name, a hashtag or other distinct language to refer to them, Tebbens offered.
Your engaged community can help your business through making purchases, and you can also turn to them for feedback. Analyze your website data or use surveys and other listening tools to find out who they are or if their needs have changed. Then, you can use the gathered information to innovate.
In the end, creating fans that spread the word is about finding new ways to do something people have always done. “The concept of raving fans really hinges on what we naturally want to do anyways,” said Tebbens. “You try a new great restaurant, you want to share about it. You work with an amazing copywriter or web designer or something, you want to share about it.” Keep in mind, it may take some time for your new community to actually make a purchase.
Take care with your customer experience.
The last piece of the custom retention puzzle is making sure that your fans have a great experience buying your product. First and foremost, make sure the purchasing experience is easy. Is your website easy to navigate? Can they find out the most important information about a product?
Keep in mind that one customer’s bad buying experience can be a chance for you to win over a new fan. Respond to customer complaints, damaged items or other problems quickly and with kindness. They’ll remember and be more likely to come back.
Once you have someone who is already in love with your brand, double down on their great customer experience. Is there anything you can offer them, like a private podcast, early access to new items or the chance to be a brand ambassador? For her part, Tebbens likes to send playful thank you notes to her best clients.
“I think that there are lots of different ways that you can keep nurturing those relationships long term. But think about, you know, what makes the most sense for you and for your clientele based on what you serve.”
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