When it comes to marketing, the vast majority of information available on the web focuses on customer acquisition.
Whilst customer acquisition is a vital part of a marketing strategy, in reality, it only makes up a portion of the customer journey.
Retention marketing is often one of the most overlooked areas of a marketing strategy, yet it is also, in most cases, where the greatest opportunities for your organization reside.
But what exactly is retention marketing?
After a consumer buys your product or service, retention marketing is the process you go through after that purchase to retain that customer.
Think of all the brands you buy from time and time again. Chances are they have an effective retention marketing strategy in place to keep you going back for more.
For example, I’ve been a Netflix customer now for about 4 years.
I keep my subscription going because there is always new content and upcoming titles that keep me interested. As a Netflix customer, the company keeps me informed of all the upcoming titles that they think I’ll be interested in via email campaigns and social media.
And guess what? It works extremely well.
If Netflix just focused on customer acquisition, they probably would’ve lost me as a customer after a few months. But 4 years later, I’m still giving them money every month, and happy to do so.
Retention marketing is effective for a number of reasons.
- It’s cheaper to reach existing customers than acquire new ones
- It increases the lifetime value of a customer
- It encourages brand loyalty through improved customer experience
- It provides valuable data on your products and services
- It boosts ROI
In this article I’ll give you our 5 top retention marketing tips that, if applied correctly, will supercharge your ROI and keep your customers coming back for more.
1. Build a Community of Fans
What do all of your customers have in common?
That’s right. They all use, or have at least bought, your products and services.
With this in mind, it’s likely that your customers will find value in being able to connect with each other.
Providing a space for your customers to connect and communicate with each other is a great way to improve customer experience. When your customers are able to share their stories, experiences, advice, and ideas, there are a number of huge benefits to your brand such as
- You’ll save many on support as the community will be able to answer questions for you
- The ability to connect with other people means you’re far more likely to retain customers as they feel they’re part of a wider community
- You’re able to obtain useful ideas for product/service upgrades
- You’re able to obtain in-depth feedback on your products/services
- A community will massively increase exposure of your brand through blog posts, reviews, videos etc
There are many different ways you can build communities online, here are a few ideas on how to do that.
Over the last few years Facebook groups have really grown in popularity because they’re a really easy way for brands to provide a space for their customers to communicate.
Facebook groups make it really easy for your customers to share information and discuss your products, services and topics related to your brand.
Facebook groups are also a really great way of releasing important information to the community regarding updates, new product lines, special offers, and any other information you feel will be valuable to your community.
There have even been cases where people have purchased products and services because it gives them access to private Facebook groups for customers only. That’s how highly some people regard these communities.
Similar to Facebook groups, Google+ communities can be created around any topic of interest, whether that be a general topic, a product or a brand.
In these communities users are able to share just about anything from links, videos, text updates and photos, it’s also possible to hold live Google Hangouts sessions where users can communicate face to face.
As a member and contributor to many LinkedIn groups myself, I can tell you that the value provided in these groups is immense.
The admins of these groups tend to be very protective over them and there are quite often strict content guidelines to ensure the information users put forward is relevant to the subject of the group.
As a result, these groups tend to be a great space for valuable knowledge exchange and members of these groups tend to be very active in them.
Some brands prefer to keep their communities on their own domains.
Apple for example have a very active community when it comes to their products.
Chances are, if you own an Apple device, you’ve benefitted from their community at some point when trying to solve a problem you’ve had on your device.
If Apple’s customers didn’t contribute to the community the way they do, I imagine the Genius Bars that Apple run around the world would be inundated.
There are loads of community building methods I could give here such as WhatsApp groups, Slack communities, and many more, but I think you get the idea.
Building a community online doesn’t need to be a huge drain on resources, in fact, if a community is run effectively, you’ll probably find that it will do a lot of the work for you.
2. Send Email Newsletters People Want to Read
If approached correctly, email marketing is one of the best drivers of ROI there is.
It’s cheap, it’s flexible, and if you approach it correctly, it will help retain your customers very effectively.
Over the years email has gained a fairly bad rep. It’s easy to see why when you look at just how much email has been abused over the years.
If you approach email honestly and transparently though, people won’t just tolerate your email newsletters, they’ll gratefully receive them.
The great thing is, if you’ve gone about email marketing the right way, the people you’re communicating with are existing customers or people who have expressed an interest in receiving updates from you.
Because of that, you’re able to give your customers what they want.
Over the years I’ve worked for a number of e-commerce companies with hundreds of thousands of people on their databases, and I can tell you, when you inform your existing customer base of new products, special promotions, competitions and anything else that’s newsworthy, you can massively increase sales.
By sending regular email newsletters you’re effectively building a relationship with those customers, and if they’re happy with your products and services, they’ll come back again and again.
The key thing to remember is that you should always seek permission from your customers before sending emails. If it hasn’t been asked for, it won’t be well received.
3. Produce Engaging Post-Purchase Content
When it comes to retention marketing, producing engaging content can go a long way to improving the customer experience.
Once a customer has purchased from you there are all kinds of opportunities from a marketing perspective to add value for them.
NVIDIA don’t just sell computer components and then end the relationship there. They continue to provide value to their customers by offering them useful tips and techniques on how to get more out of their products and improve the customer’s experience. See an example below.
NVIDIA allow anyone to access their videos which means they’re able to offer existing customers useful information on installation and optimization of their products, whilst also gaining brand awareness and new customer acquisitions from people who haven’t bought from them before.
These videos get viewed tens of thousands of times so it’s clear to see they’re providing great value for NVIDIA’s customers.
4. Build a Companion App
When it comes to retention marketing, companion apps are amazing at improving the customer experience.
Companion apps can take many different forms, some companion apps act as a centralized location for all of a company’s content, whilst others can further the experience of a particular product or service.
For example, when EA approached us to create a companion app for the immensely popular video game The Sims, they wanted to take the customer experience beyond the confines of the game.
What made this particular project even more interesting was that 32% of people that downloaded the app went on to make further in-game purchases.
That’s an incredible conversion rate.
5. Create an Industry Beating Customer Loyalty Scheme
If customers are loyal to your brand they should be rewarded.
I’m sure by now you can see the importance of nurturing your existing customers.
One of the most tried and tested methods for retaining customers, is customer loyalty schemes.
Businesses everywhere try to entice their customers to join their loyalty schemes because they understand the importance of customer lifetime value.
I’m sure you’ve seen them too.
Buy five cups of coffee and get your sixth free if you present a stamped card or app. Fly 100,000 miles and get free business class upgrades. Loyalty schemes are everywhere.
The trouble is, most of them don’t present great value to the customer.
I was in a Mexican restaurant the other day and they handed me a loyalty card and put one stamp on it. I had to buy 12 Mexican meals before I could get one free.
The food was delicious and the service was great, but after 12 Mexican meals I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be sick of Mexican food for a while.
Aim to make your loyalty scheme something your customers will value and will keep them coming back.
Frequent flyer miles are a good example. If you’re someone who flies regularly, an upgrade an upgrade to business class or free hotel stay will probably be worth sticking with the same airline for.
What Retention Marketing Techniques Work for You?
I’ve given 5 strong retention marketing tips here but I’d love to hear your suggestions.
What has worked for you or your clients in the past? What should you take into consideration when approaching retention marketing?
We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Need Help With Your Retention Marketing?
Here at Dialect we work with our clients on all of the different stages of the customer journey.
Retention marketing is something we have a great deal of experience in and we’re achieving some great results for our clients. Check out a case study here.
If you’d like to see what we can do for you, contact us now, we’d love to have a chat about your business.