Customer retention is much cheaper than acquisition. Precisely how much it’s cheaper is difficult to determine, but it can be as much as 25 times more affordable. In fact, 82% of companies will agree with this statement, having come to the same conclusion empirically.
Then there’s the fact that a 5% increase in retention can lead to at least a 25% increase in profits. That being said, you may want to reconsider that acquisition budget and spend some of it on boosting customer loyalty.
Ensuring your customers keep coming back for more is a key element of business growth. Luckily, there are numerous strategies that will help you provide the kind of experience that will boost your retention rates. We’ll cover the key strategies here, so read on.
Create a Community
People love to be a part of a community. After all, most of our lives revolve around them: from our first grade class to our immediate family, we’re a part of several groups our entire lives.
The internet has made the creation of these communities much simpler. Today, we’re able to chat with people all over the world who just happen to share our passion for vintage Pokemon cards.
As a business, you should capitalize on humankind’s need to belong by creating an exclusive community that benefits its members in several ways.
First, they will be able to share experiences with people who are on the same journey as they are. A community of like-minded individuals is an empowering space, and your customers will love to be a part of it. They will love to grasp the opportunity to meet new people.
This kind of community also provides you the opportunity to promote your product in a more organic manner. It’s where you’ll casually share more about its features, the best ways to use it, and so on. However, bear in mind that you should never use this group for sales purposes only, as you will quickly lose both members and customers.
Aura has a Facebook group that is a perfect illustration of this kind of community. It’s highlighted on their homepage, so people will know that membership is a part of doing business with the brand.
Image source: Goaura.com
Ahrefs also has a similar group called Ahrefs Insider. It’s a fantastic place for learning more about using the tool and swapping SEO-related ideas and experiences.
You can choose any platform that makes sense to your brand and your audience. It doesn’t have to be a social network at all. For example, private Slack channels are becoming the equivalent of college fraternities, where exclusive members get together to exchange ideas.
Give Your Brand Evangelists a Voice
Your loyal customers should be rewarded – and we’re not just talking about setting up a loyalty program. They deserve to feel like a part of the family, and the appreciation you have for them should be expressed in more than one way.
This is especially true for your brand evangelists – your most loyal and vocal advocates, the people who recommend you already and truly believe in what you are doing.
These individuals may already be doing a great job of bringing you new customers, so you might believe you should be rewarding someone else. However, the opposite is true. If these, your most valuable advocates, start to feel unappreciated, they may take their business elsewhere.
You will find these loyal customers on social media easily, and you might spot them in your store, too. They might reach out to you directly, or you can identify them by conducting market research.
Reward them by making them a part of your story, and feature their reviews, testimonials, and stories on your pages. Once they become a part of the brand, they will likely remain your customers no matter what, becoming even more passionate advocates than before.
Mrs. Property Solutions has done a great job of using customer testimonials on her homepage. She even features video interviews where her customers can speak about her in their own words and truly become her most passionate reviewers. This kind of exposure truly makes a customer a part of the business.
Image source: Mrspropertysolutions.com
Make sure to carefully select the individuals you’ll feature on your website. They need to appeal to your wider target audience: perhaps they’ve solved a common pain point, they are particularly charming, or they have a great story to tell.
Don’t forget that not everyone will want to be exposed in this way. If a customer refuses your offer, don’t take it personally – you can still reward them in some other way.
Work Loyalty into Your Pricing Plans
Do you keep track of your frequent flyer miles? Or do you perhaps have a destination in mind on which you’ll use them up one day?
This simple reward system happens to be a perfect example of what you want to establish for your own brand. The longer a customer is with you, the more points they accumulate and the better their rewards are.
There are several ways you can incorporate this simple premise into your pricing plans.
First, offer discounts for subscription offers. Future Kind, for example, offers a neat discount when you purchase their products on a subscription. The customer both gets to save some money and be more mindful, as they reduce their carbon footprint by making fewer orders.
Image source: Futurekind.com
Make sure to clearly highlight the savings and the benefits of bulk ordering for any product (or group of products) that you can offer via subscription. Your loyal customers, who have already tried the product and love it, will appreciate the opportunity.
You can also consider only offering long-term subscriptions to your customers. This may be a bit of an unorthodox approach, but if the price isn’t an obstacle and the product or service is something a user will appreciate having access to year-round, it can be a great way to improve customer loyalty.
Let’s take a look at Scott’s Cheap Flights and how they have structured their services. They only offer yearly subscriptions, but their low prices make this possible. The product is also one that people will use often, especially as their target audience consists of frequent fliers.
Image source: Scottscheapflights.com
If you’re considering this option, make sure to carefully test out the pricing tiers. You’ll still need to offer more than one subscription plan so that customers won’t feel boxed in. There should be some level of differentiation between different groups of customers.
Offer a Loyalty Program
Finally, the most popular and widely used customer retention tactic is certainly the loyalty program. It’s used by brands small and large, to great effect.
Loyalty programs work, and 90% of customers are likely to stay with a brand where they hold a premium loyalty program membership rather than purchase the same product at a lower price.
They are not only a great way to retain customers but also help you build email lists, improve your reputation, reduce your operational costs, and boost your bottom line.
The key to creating a loyalty program that your customers will truly appreciate lies in logic and personalization. First, you want to make sure that it makes sense and that the rewards are truly going to those who have earned them. Don’t just reward amounts of money spent – reward the time someone has spent with your brand.
You also need to make sure that they are not impossible to attain. Having to spend a lot of time or money just to get a small discount doesn’t pay off to customers.
By tailoring each reward to the individual, you will be boosting customer loyalty even further. You can achieve this by allowing your customers to choose their own rewards or surprising them with a product you know they will like based on their previous purchases.
A great loyalty program to copy is Sephora’s Beauty Insider. It’s so popular that it has reached cult status within the beauty community. Influencers and beauty lovers dedicate weeks to compiling lists of Sephora’s products they want to spend their points on.
Image source: Sephora.com
Carefully analyze your customers’ behavior, spending habits, and decision-making processes, and then create a loyalty program that will satisfy the majority of them. Whichever system you opt for, make sure that the gamification element is pleasant (i.e., leveling up) and that the rules are very clear.
Rewarding the loyalty of your customers is a key element of business expansion and growth. Customer churn, on the other hand, will tank your company sooner than you think. Keep in mind that a dissatisfied customer who is just a bit vocal about their experience can very quickly harm your reputation.
The way you retain your customers will be unique to your brand and audience. So, make sure you base your decisions on their needs and interests rather than just industry best practices.