Image Source: Flickr
In the world of marketing and advertising, it is fairly common to hear the phrase, "Customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention" –or variations thereof—being thrown around quite a lot in the drawing room. In spite of this little-known fact, marketing campaigns always seem to put more focus and emphasis on customer acquisition than retention. No matter how many new customers or users you acquire through a strategically designed campaign, if you fail to make them stay for the long haul, your campaign still would have failed. As you gain momentum through your campaign, it is also important that you also include plans to build and maintain customer loyalty.
Regardless of the industry or business type, a large portion of the profits will usually come from repeat business. Profits from new customers might only hold up for a few months, depending on how long your campaign runs. The key to success is customer loyalty, and this begins with your campaign for retention.
Here are a few tips that you might find useful in developing your rentention campaign.
1. Focus on specific types of customers
The first rule of thumb for customer retention campaigns is to focus your campaign on a specific group of consumers or users at a time. For instance, if you are in the business of creating mobile software or apps, you can break down your clients into four categories: active users, engaged users, inactive users, and exiting users. By focusing on only one type of client for each campaign, your marketing strategists can develop a more results-driven plan.
What's the difference between active and engaged users? Aren't they one and the same?
You might be wondering why active users and engaged users were segregated into their own categories. This is because they are two completely different clients. While both types are current subscribers, the major difference between the two is user engagement. Say for example, you track the number of users currently logged in on your app, but not all of them are actively engaged. One may simply be logged in but didn't stay long enough to use the app, while the others show signs of activity from the moment they logged in up to the time they logged out. When you put your focus on the key differences between the two, you can develop a more strategic campaign to motivate client loyalty.
For inactive users, you can develop a campaign that will entice them to not only become active again, but more importantly, to become engaged in your app. You could encourage them to use your app again by giving them a free trial of your upgraded service. For consumer products, you can consider giving free samples of your products. The choice is up to you. The main thing here is to remind your clients why your product is useful for them, and why they should patronize yours instead of your competitors'.
This app features several different tools that help you identify the specific activities of your users. Simply put, Mixpanel measures user actions. Remember we said that being an active user does not necessarily mean that the user is engaged? This will tell you whether or not your users are actively engaged or simply visited and then left.
As for exiting users or clients, there are ways that you can encourage them not to leave—or at the very least, come back again soon. Exiting clients actually give you a good opportunity to improve your product or service, or innovate on a new one to address your audiences' needs.
2. Conduct an exit interview or survey
You know how when employees leave a company, the Human Resources department usually holds an exit interview to find out why they wish to leave? You should definitely do this with your exiting clients as well. There are various ways to go about it. If it's an app or program that they're leaving, you can integrate a simple questionnaire into the opt-out option. For other products or services, you can do it through email, or if the option to leave is conducted in-office, you can ask them to fill out a form.
Whatever means you're using, make the exit interview as short as possible. Your clients may not appreciate being asked to complete a questionnaire or survey that takes long to complete. In this regard, you should carefully consider what it is you want to find out. Get straight to the point right away, but do it in a way that does not push them for answers. Subtlety is a key factor here.
It is also important that you keep an open mind about the whole process. Your main goal here is to find out why your client is leaving. It may have been because of poor customer service, or something that they found lacking in your app, product or service. Whatever the reasons, use these to your advantage. Your priority is customer satisfaction, and an exit interview is a gold mine of useful and helpful information that can help you identify critical factors that you need to improve on.
3. Take advantage of drip marketing
For the longest time, emails were the main campaign portal of online marketing programs. However, with the onset of spam emails, a lot of users have come to regard email marketing as an invasion of their privacy. After all, who would want to receive a bombardment of emails saying why so-and-so is such a good product or that you're missing out on something great? The initial reaction of users to these kinds of emails is to immediately mark the message as spam to prevent it from flooding their inbox.
Drip emails are completely different from spam mails. These are specific messages sent at different stages of client activities. For instance, when a new client signs up, an email could be automatically sent to welcome them and to inform them of the benefits of using your product or service.
When they are engaged in a specific activity within your app, or when they take part in a specific promotional campaign on your website, you can send another automated drip email. In other words, you send emails in "drips," targeted to a specific group of clients or users. Remember the four client categories mentioned above? You can create drip emails targeting each one as part of your campaign.
In this regard, do not shy away from email marketing. Use it to your advantage, but you should always make sure that you're not too pushy or intrusive to your clients.
There are various apps that you can use to help you with this campaign. Check out the following:
This app features tools for automated workflow, real-time event tracking, and data segmentation.
It features a marketing automation tool that helps you send the right emails to the right client base.
4. Capitalize on the power of social media
The power of social media cannot be emphasized enough. You want something to go viral in seconds? Take to your social media accounts! However, there are certain key points to remember when engaging on social media; the first of which is the general tone of your audience. In other words, observe your subscribers' or followers' cyberspeak. How do they relate to one another? More importantly, how do they communicate with you when they wish to comment on a post or update?
While you should definitely still keep your business tone, engaging with your subscribers in a manner that they will understand and appreciate is an important consideration. And as always, subtlety and timing are key factors here. There is a time for a hard-sell campaign, and there is a time for subliminal marketing. Knowing which one is more effective at a specific time is a crucial identifier in the success of your retention campaign.
Image Source: Flickr
Additionally, you can subscribe to or follow a few heavy influencers in your industry. These are people outside of your immediate circle, but are considered as some of the most trusted gurus in your industry. Actively engage with them, but in a subtle manner. For this purpose, a hard sell is not the way to go. Simply take their lead. Your goal here is to make them aware of you, and they will hopefully follow you too, check out your business, or even mention you in their posts. Keep in mind that you want to create a positive impact, so let them go to you on their own accord. A hard sell and heavy push can immediately turn off these influencers, and could even result in negative feedback.
To sum it up, the primary purpose of your customer retention campaign is to encourage loyalty among your current client base. And for any type of business, this all begins with two critical factors: product or service excellence and satisfactory customer support. Take out one of these from the equation and you're likely to experience client migration to your heaviest competitor.