Do you stop communicating with your customers after they buy your company’s products or services? If so, you’re missing a big opportunity to boost your bottom line by RETAINING them.
When someone buys your products, it doesn’t mean their customer journey has come to an end. It’s actually just beginning. Now’s the time to rethink how to keep existing customers engaged with your brand.
Effective, ongoing communication with current customers increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you again. In some cases, it may increase the frequency and value of their future orders. In either case, it significantly increases their lifetime value – and your long-term profitability.
Here are some powerful ways you can creatively use marketing to do a better job of retaining your most valuable customers:
Don’t leave onboarding to chance: When you first acquire a customer, there’s a lot they need to know: For example, how to use your product or get value from your services, where to go to get their questions answered and how to get customer support. Why not create an email “drip” campaign that educates them about each aspect of doing business with you? By proactively teaching them how to interact with your firm, you’ll make them more comfortable, reduce the number of misunderstandings and save your staff a lot of time. In other words, they won’t need to keep answering the same customer questions, over and over again.
Streamline their access to key tools and resources: Identify the needs of your new customers and then design tools and systems that empower them. For example, you could:
- Create a private customer portal within your website where they can login to get all of the learning, resources and support they need.
- Create a mobile app that gives them anytime, anywhere access to these services.
- Can you enable them to order consumable parts ahead of time, so they can pick them up when and where it’s most convenient for them?
- Set up an online forum where your customers can congregate to ask questions, get answers, share knowledge and network with each other.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Survey says…: A traditional survey is an ideal way to identify existing problems you need to fix as well as to identify additional needs you can meet.
Education is always a winner: Provide your customers with education about your product itself, as well as how to get the most value out of it. This could take the form of self-service e-courses, webinars, workbooks, manuals and other materials that distill what your customers need to know into a skimmable, actionable format.
Create an exclusive “subscription” for customers: Your customers should perceive that they are being treated special, with exclusive training, content, events, discounts and more. Loyalty programs can also make customers feel like they “belong” and benefit from their relationship with your company.
Don’t forget to personalize your communications: Nothing says you care more than addressing your customer contact by name in printed and electronic communications. Today’s sophisticated email and marketing software makes this easy to do. The best marketers even use deeper customer information to offer highly tailored recommendations to them. Think Amazon.com, with its “people who bought X also bought these related products…” recommendations. It’s as if they know your deepest needs! Familiarity breeds loyalty.
Create a customer content calendar: Don’t leave communication with your existing customers to chance. Build relationships with them by creating a rolling schedule of consistent communications with them. This calendar should include all types of communication, both formal and informal: Letters, phone calls, special events, discounts, special offers and personal notes, for example.
Develop a customer newsletter: Newsletters are excellent tools to help you develop and maintain customer relationships over time. This publication should be different than the one you sent to sales leads and prospects. Its content should be tailored to the needs of your existing customers. Be sure to include it in your content calendar, so you remember to publish it on a regular basis.
Connect your communications to your company’s mission and values: Customers like to feel like they’re part of something bigger. They may jump at the opportunity to be part of your company’s mission and values, if you invite them (think Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes each time you buy a pair). If they can feel like they’re part of an active and engaged community that’s focused on your values, they will become more committed to your brand.
You need a customer communications strategy
In the same way that you develop a well thought-out strategy for attracting prospective customers, you need to also take a strategic approach to cultivating relationships with your existing ones. This approach has a number of key benefits:
- By helping customers feel well cared for, you can reduce or eliminate buyer’s remorse
- It helps your new customers trust you
- It gives them confidence to do business with you again.
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