The proof is in the stats:
- It costs up to seven times more to gain a new client than to keep a current one.
- A 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by up to 95%.
- 64% of people who leave a business had a “good” experience.
Businesses, regardless of size, spend a lot of time, energy and money acquiring each new client, customer or patient. “Customer acquisition” is often the biggest line item in the marketing budget.
Given the above statistics, what if businesses took a percentage of that money and used it to keep the clients they already have?
What if there was less “one and done” and more repeats?
First part of the problem is the customer herself. Customer loyalty has declined dramatically in recent years — after all, it takes no time at all to search online for what you want and get it from whoever has it cheapest with free shipping.
That mentality has crossed into the small business world as well, even coaching. If you don’t have a fully optimized digitally-focused business that has a presence — a consistent brand, message and presence — on all platforms, you may as well not exist.
Second part of the problem is often the decision maker who can be taken in by “get more clients” as opposed to “have higher profits by continually serving existing clients”.
Personally, I find higher profits sexy so I’m a big fan of retention and recurring revenue streams.
If you’re looking to increase the retention of your best customers, think about how you can implement the following strategies.
Retention Strategy #1: Offer Subscription/Membership Programs
As discussed in several articles on our blog, subscription/membership programs allow you to develop longer-term relationships with customers and discover what your best clients need in order give it to them.
Key with any membership program is to provide far more value than you charge.
Retention Strategy #2: Personalization
We love to hear our name spoken, to have someone know our wants and take care of them, to anticipate our needs and provide solutions.
We love to feel valued, to tweak a line from Bridget Jones Diary, “Just as we are”.
So how do you make people feel special?
You personalize everything you can. This goes far beyond the “Dear [FIRSTNAME] coding in an email.
- Ask questions and store the answers in custom fields you can draw upon. For example, “Do you love tech or struggle with tech?” and then segment your marketing to speak to each group at their level. (Great for landing pages.)
- Send emails based on the time in their time zone. Some systems do this, for others you can segment based on address data.
- Write your Escalator nurturing sequences so they trigger other automation/segmentation.
- Send books? Ask whether they prefer hardcopy or digital versions — store that info in your CRM and then periodically send them something in the way they prefer.
- Send “snail mail” based on their actions/celebrations.
Essentially, personalize every stage in the client journey as much as possible.
Retention Strategy #3: Gamification
You ever go on a forum and see someone has a little badge next to their name that says something like “Power User” or “100+ Posts”, etc.? TED.com does this with “TEDCred” and the number of posts someone has commented on: “TEDCred 100” for example.
It’s part of a strategy known as “Gamification”. Games (CandyCrush, Words With Friends, video games, etc.) reward us as we continue playing — we get to higher levels, more cool things are unlocked, we get tokens, etc.
We get more and more emotionally invested, craving that next “reward”.
When I was young, Planters® Peanuts would offer more and better prizes for sending in peanut bag wrappers. The more you ate/sent in, the better the “free goodie”. As a result, whenever I could have a treat from the store, I chose Planters over something else I liked the taste of just as much, but which didn’t have “goodies”.
I used to reward frequent posters/supporters of others in our Facebook Group with random surprises such as Amazon Gift Cards (note to self: Reinstate that practice!).
How can you incorporate gamification into your business?
Retention Strategy #4: Kick Butt Content
Okay, so not the sexiest thing around, but since client retention is all about creating and deepening relationships and since you can’t sit down and have a conversation with everyone in your community, you need to be creative and kick butt content can help you build trust on a scaled level.
Continue to provide info your customers find interesting and share it wherever they are: blog posts, articles, infographics, podcasts, social media, videos, white papers, etc.
The best content isn’t super promotional, it’s educational and shows you as an expert in your field while raising your brand awareness and driving traffic to your site (see pillar page training from last year).
Best part about consistent quality content? You’re always top-of-mind with clients and prospective clients.
Retention Strategy #5: Exclusive Offerings Combined with Extreme Client Care™
What can you offer that your competitors can’t? Better guarantee, kick ass on-boarding process, bonus no one can top, complicated marketing systems that no one wants to spend the effort trying to recreate, offline contacts that others are too lazy to incorporate?
Whatever it is, use that to create a client experience like no other and your clients won’t want to go elsewhere.