Turning buyers into loyal customers – the power of retention

The importance of customer retention is an industry given. Even the newest marketing recruit knows that it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one; five times more, to be precise, according to conversion optimization company Invesp.

And that’s not all; their research also indicated that existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products, and spend 31% more, than their newbie counterparts. So clearly, it’s worth investing time, money and brainpower into getting customer retention right. But where to start, and what makes the most difference?

Here are the top five things you should consider when you’re planning a customer retention email strategy.
1- Understand their worth

Yes, it’s worth investing in retention activity, but it needs to be targeted; a scattergun approach that gives a one-time prosecco buyer the same perks as a regular vintage champagne drinker isn’t a clever use of your cash. Use your lifecycle and lifetime value data to identify which customers merit the biggest investment, and plan your campaigns and offers accordingly.

2- Give them what they want

A real bonus with active customers is what you know about them. You know what they’ve bought in the past and how much they’ve spent; if you’re using your data well, you should know what customers with a similar profile did next. So use that knowledge to give, tell or show them something they will be interested in.

For example, if they’ve bought a sofa from you in the recent past, and there’s a new coffee table being developed in the design studio, why not give them a sneak peek – and the option to pre-order while they’re at it? You may be asking for a sale, but you’re targeting it well, and dressing it up as a privilege; everyone’s a winner.

3- Be clever with your timing

Depending on your product base, you can be smart about what you offer when. For example, if you have a product with a typical life-span – such as gas canisters for a BBQ – you can plan in a perfectly timed email which lands as they’re due to run out. Similarly, regular seasonal activities – such as holiday bookings for repeat customers – can be prompted by a timely email and, if the ROI allows, the right early-booking offer.

4- Create content worth reading

Offers and discounts are always appreciated, but there are more sophisticated ways of engaging with your customers. Well-written, cleverly targeted content can really resonate, and as well as showing that you value them, can be the perfect vehicle for cross-selling too.
For example, if you sell high-end cameras, you could commission a blog by a well-known photographer about how they arrange their shots, or what their influences are, and email it to relevant customers – taking the opportunity to showcase some relevant accessories while you’re at it.

5- Test, learn, test again

There are so many different variables when it comes to customer retention – not just what you send, but who you send it to, and when, and what perks you throw in. And because this group is such an important one, it’s extra important to get your strategy right. So keep testing, keep learning, keep refining, and you’ll keep getting better and better. It’s as simple as that.

To wrap it all up, here are five further 5 second retention ideas that you could consider:

  • Ask for feedback about products or your customer service to show customers you value their opinion – and gain extra insights along the way.
  • If you have a loyalty scheme in place, integrate it with your retention campaign to make it work harder.
  • If you don’t, consider introducing one for your highest-value customers.
  • Ask them to recommend you to a friend – ideally with an incentive which they both benefit from.
  • Birthdays, anniversaries or special events can offer a good excuse to contact your customers. But do so with care; including a low-value, thoughtless gift or a tenuous link to your product won’t win you any friends.

You can read more about CLM in general, including cart abandonment emails, in our Convert, keep, grow e-book. And look out for my next CLM blog, which will fill you in on how to turn browsers into buyers.