Tips on how to Retain Customers → Create Loyal Fans
Retain Customers and Create Loyal Fans For Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) to be successful and prosper in an increasingly competitive and diverse marketplace they must:
- Engage their customers early, before they start forming their decisions.
- Provide information that is relevant and use this content to build trust.
- Plan your messages so that they are targeted toward your desired customers.
- Reinforce your messages across your different channels so they have the greatest impact
Late last year BRW provided a list of the major economic challenges for 2014. One of these is “continued consumer conservatism” which is basically a trend for Australian consumers to spend less and save more. When consumers do decide to spend, factors such as internet comparisons and the increasing trend toward online shopping are pushing prices down and squeezing margins.
So what can SMBs do? The key to solving this problem lies in preventing your customers from looking elsewhere in the first place. To do this, SMBs must influence the decision-making process as early as possible and the only real way is to engage customers and have meaningful conversations.
We have to remember that a strong relationship will always trump a cheaper price based on the fact that people like buy from people and this trust helps avoid risk when buying a product or service. So if you are a trusted advisor you have a better chance of avoiding internet searches, online comparisons and online shopping from taking your customers away. But there are limits as to how much people are willing to pay to avoid risks so you need to make sure your prices are reasonable compared to the market.
OK, so how can SMBs better connect and engage their existing and new customer and retain customers? I hear you ask. Well in some recent (non-food) retailer Shopping centre research 8 out 10 retailers had an online presence (website and/or Facebook) and 7 out 10 had an eNewsletter or Loyalty program. So clearly most of these businesses believe it’s important to connect and provide information and offers to their customers.
What 75% of these businesses are not doing is integrating the results of their Facebook, website, eNewsletters and loyalty offers to develop individual profiles of their customers and then tailoring their messages specifically for these customers.
This sounds laborious, time consuming and a major distraction from doing what they love doing and why they got into business in the first place. But and it’s a big but, integrating all the effort that is put into the communication channels needn’t be that hard.
Marketing Automation now allows businesses to identify how individuals engage with your messaging and you can use this information to trigger the delivery of similarly relevant messaging in further communications. This reactive approach allows a more meaningful interaction between you and your customers, and lifts your business above the noise of continual offers and irrelevant content. By listening to what customers are interested in and providing related and additional information you build a better relationship and build trust. Continuing to do so turns a typical customer into a repeat customer and ultimately into an advocate or fan of your business.
So to create more loyal fans, prevent customers from unsubscribing and becoming strangers, you need to be able to deliver engaging content that reaches your customers regularly. Having a Marketing Automation system alone will not do this. You need to start by identifying what your typical customers are interested in and then develop messaging that is suited to these groups that can be delivered differently for the channels that are most effective for each customer group. This sounds like a lot of effort but if you want to engage your customers rather than lose them you need to be spending some time thinking about exactly this. But don’t worry the team at Retain and Gain can make the job easy by implementing communication strategies that engage and influence your new and existing customers to stay and become your loyal fans.