Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Calling All Marketers: Don’t Forget About Customer Retention


Customer Retention

Question for you: do you often meet people, become friends and then completely abandon them? If you answered that with a ‘yes’, well, you’re a pretty awful friend.
Anyway, there’s a point to this.
A recent Demand Metric survey sponsored by Salesforce found that marketers feel most confident in their ability to drive awareness and attract new customers, but they fall short in retention and advocacy. In other words, marketers do a great job getting someone to look their way, but not such a great job at keeping them around. Dare I call it … one-night stand marketing? (I know. Sorry. Withdrawn.)

This struck a chord with me as I thought about the various projects clients ask us to help out on. The majority of them all focus on the awareness component and the need to drive new leads. After all, whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, growth is a pretty big part of staying alive. If you aren’t growing your customer base, you aren’t long for this world.

If marketers know that they could be doing a better job at retention and advocacy, why aren’t they? These are a few probable reasons:


  • We’re paid to bring in new business. We’re typically not paid to retain business.
  • We blame customer service instead. We also blame sales. We pretty much blame anyone we can.
The bottom line is that retention is important, and there is a role for us to play. There are a number of ways we can put this into action, but for the sake of keeping this blog digestible in one sitting, here are two you can start with:
Step up your email game. Email marketing may feel sort of old school with all the fancy new toys marketers have, but it’s still very much alive. It provides the opportunity to touch base with your customers on a regular basis. Email marketing can take a few different shapes – from promotions and exclusive offers to weekly newsletters. Make it an exclusive experience for customers that is tailored to their specific needs and interests. Offer them something they can’t get anywhere else. If you give them a one-of-a-kind experience, they’ll be more likely to stick around because, well, they have a reason to. They’re getting value out of your content. Think about a brand whose emails you subscribe to; what do they offer that prevents you from hitting unsubscribe?
In that same breath, it’s important not to be a stage-5 clinger. Sending too many emails can be a turn-off and lead people to hit the dreaded unsubscribe button. Keep an eye on your data (open rates, unsubscribe rates, etc.) to find your sweet spot for how often you should be connecting with your customers and what types of content is outperforming others.
Get your retargeting on. Have you ever purchased something only to see an ad in your Facebook newsfeed encouraging you to buy the same thing? It’s kind of annoying. Like hello – I just bought that! I see how much it meant to you. :hair flip:
Don’t be that brand. These days there are targeting options available that can help you avoid showing irrelevant ads to customers. If you haven’t met retargeting yet, you really should. Channels like AdWords, Facebook and Twitter all allow you to target ads to custom audiences. If you know someone just purchased a particular item (and you tracked it accordingly), you have the ability to show them an add that points to a useful add-on to their purchase or another product they may be interested in based on their buying habits. It adds a personal touch to advertising (which tends to be pretty impersonal)
If you’re interested in using retargeting as another touch point with your customers, tools like Google Tag Manager help to set up tracking pixels that will collect data on those who are completing a purchase (or a sign-up, a visit, etc). As the audience builds, you’ll be able to use that list as a custom audience for targeting ads. (For a good primer on Tag Manager, check out Google’s course.)

Google Tag Manager

Can we do better as marketers when it comes to retention? Sure. If you’re neglecting your current customers, you’re going to lose loyalty and – gasp – money. Stay engaged – whether it’s by email, social media or wherever your audience resides. Give them a reason to stay. Because if you don’t, someone else will.

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