5 marketing tools to boost customer retention

Keep ‘em coming back for more

Do you have a solid customer retention strategy in place? If so, has it helped you achieve your goals for growth? As Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium, puts it:

“It’s potentially lethal to put acquisition before retention strategies. Look at the data: It costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.”

Despite this fact, 72% of small businesses plan on allocating the majority of their marketing budget to acquisition this year. The benefits of a strong customer retention and loyalty plan are clear.

Below is a list of five customer retention tools that will help increase retention and generate more revenue from your current customers. If you’re looking to put a retention plan in place, or unsatisfied with the results you’re getting from your current efforts, read on.

Customer retention tool #1: Mention

The key to a good customer retention strategy is listening. Knowing what your customers are saying about your business allows you to interact and join in on the conversation.

You don’t always have control over this conversation. They can begin in other communities and through social media. There are literally hundreds of communities around the web where these conversations can take place.

So, how can you react to these customer conversations as they’re happening?

Mention is a tool that monitors these conversations in real time.

 

It scours billions of channels across the web so you never miss what’s being said about your business.

Customer Retention Mention

You can be reactive with your outreach instead of waiting for customers to come to you. Mention allows you to extend the customer experience to where your customers are already hanging out online.

The great thing about Mention is that it allows you to do all this from a single dashboard. This means no more juggling between several tabs to search, Tweet and comment.

For every customer who gives feedback or complains about your brand, 26 remain silent. This number includes those who express views through other communities and social media.

Having reactive marketing and retention processes in place can give you a second chance with unhappy customers. It will also prove to your customers that you truly care about them.

Reactive marketing also helps with acquisition. Potential buyers are always asking their peers for recommendations on products and services. This provides an opportunity to extend an invitation to learn more about your offering.

Finally, it’s the perfect tool for conducting research for your content marketing efforts. Track relevant topics by monitoring questions and challenges your audience is trying to overcome. Collate any trends you uncover to inform your content marketing strategy.

Customer retention tool #2: ReferralCandy

What’s the best way to get your customers to spread the word about your products? Incentivize them.

Word-of-mouth marketing is effective for both acquisition and retention. Ninety-two percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. It’s also been proven that referred customers are less likely to leave.

How can we make such a system as easy as possible — both for you and your customers?

ReferralCandy is a referral marketing platform that does just this. It comes with powerful and easy-to-use features, allowing you to set a reward structure that best suits your customer retention strategy. For example, you can offer your customers a cash reward for each customer they refer, or you can give them a coupon to use on their next purchase.

Customer Retention ReferralCandy

Each customer receives a unique code to send to the friend they wish to refer. This means you can track which of your customers are bringing in new business.

So how does this aid in your customer retention strategy?

Customers who are willing to refer their friends, even for an incentive, are also the most likely to do business with you again.

 

Therefore, by encouraging customers to join your referral program, you’re increasing LTV (lifetime value) while encouraging growth at the same time.

In true 80/20 fashion, there will always be customers who refer more than others. This is your opportunity to turn customers into advocates. Go above-and-beyond and give something for their efforts. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know what they enjoy in life. Drive this into your customer experience and they’ll be raving about you.

Customer retention tool #3: Belly

You don’t need a referral program to reward customers. Simply doing business with you should be reason enough.

Customers subscribed to a loyalty program buy 90 percent more often and spend 60 percent more per sale. We’ve all seen the tried-and-tested stamp system, but these are hard to measure and automate.

Belly is a digital loyalty program for small businesses. It connects 12,000 business with more than 6 million members across the US.

Customer Retention Belly

Using Belly, brick-and-mortar businesses can create digital loyalty systems that are easy to use for both you and your customers. To sign up, your customers simply enter their details on an iPad. From here they check in and earn points every time they step in store.

Because it’s a digital system, you can measure the effectiveness of your loyalty program with ease. Customer data, including visit history and demographic information, is all stored in the dashboard.

On top of all this comes powerful automation features. By engaging via email and mobile campaigns, you can bring customers back in store far more often than traditional punch-card systems.Going back to a previous example, this means you can track your most loyal customers and reward them further. This is one of the most effective methods of turning customers into advocates.

Segmenting the data available allows for more targeted marketing. For example, if a customer signs up for your loyalty program but doesn’t return in 30 to 60 days, you can automatically send them an email with an incentive to do so.

Finally, Belly is a network of members. Tap into the millions of other Belly members in your area and send targeted offers, turning a retention-based system into an acquisition channel.

Customer retention tool #4: Groove

According to an American Express survey, 78 percent of consumers have abandoned a transaction due to poor customer service. On top of this, it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative one.

There are many more statistics that make the argument for strong customer service. Not only can it turn a prospect into a customer, but bad customer service can quickly turn off loyal customers.

These days, most people make the majority of their buying decisions online. This includes customer service. Having an integrated system is important for making a good first impression and providing a positive, ongoing customer experience.

Groove is an easy-to-use platform for delighting your customers. It allows your team to collaborate on all customer emails, calls and social media posts in one place. It even has a live chat feature for easy accessibility.

Customer Retention Groove

Integration into existing systems comes right out of the box. So if you use Gmail or Outlook there’s no need to move away to an entirely new platform.

The experience you provide your customers is only as good as the performance of your support team.

 

Groove has features in place to measure how well your team are doing and to help them do the best job they can.The key to using a tool like Groove’s comes down to speed and providing customers with exactly what they ask for. Response time is a non-negotiable part of the customer experience.

Customer retention tool #5: Yotpo

We’ve covered how to take back control of the conversation on channels such as social media and online communities. There’s one area that’s always been difficult in maintaining control over, and that’s customer reviews.

When someone reviews your company on platforms such as Yelp, it’s hard to do much with the trust built from individual comments. They simply provide third-party endorsement for potential customers learning about your business.

This is the challenge that Yotpo solves. It’s a platform that allows you to proactively generate authentic reviews and utilize them on other marketing channels. In other words, turning customer-generated content into marketing collateral.

Note: GoDaddy Online Store partners with Yotpo to ensure that GoDaddy merchants can start automatically generating reviews as soon as they sell.

Customer Retention Yotpo

Let’s say you sell cameras and photography equipment. You can take 5-star reviews from a specific camera and turn it into Facebook ads to capture a wider audience. This turns third-party endorsements into compelling display advertising.

The powerful customer retention features are where Yotpo truly shines. Engage with buyers after they purchase in order to encourage reviews and begin a new conversation to maintain top-of-mind awareness.

The most powerful retention feature, hands down, is Community Q&A. Connecting prospects with current customers not only increases conversions, but also keeps past customers involved with your business.

The more you can make a customer feel part of what you do, the greater chance they’ll buy from you in the future. As always, make sure you reward your top contributors in order to retain them further. Yotpo’s coupon features makes this easy to do.

What tools and techniques are you currently using in your customer retention strategy? Which approaches are you seeing the most value from? Share your experiences in the comments below.


Also published on Medium.

Image by: Prestonbot via Visual Hunt / CC BY

Jenny Beightol
Jenny Beightol is the Director of Words & Reputations at Belly, the leading digital loyalty and marketing solution for businesses. Her expertise in brand identity and customer loyalty comes in handy when playing the "Loyal Brands" edition of Trivial Pursuit. When she isn't writing, she can be found in Chicago running along the lakefront trail, dancing at a concert or running to a concert. Tweet her what you're listening to here.