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Customer Retention Strategies: What Are They and How Will Your Website Benefit?

Text Marketer

by Text Marketer on 20th February 2012

CarrotToday we welcome a post from Text Marketer – a Koozai client that lives and breathes SMS marketing -  who take a deeper look at effective ways of maintaining customers.

In today’s business landscape, returning customers are absolutely vital. Whilst much of your marketing efforts will no doubt be aimed at enticing new customers and clients, ensuring your existing customers return will be far more cost-effective and a great deal easier.

This doesn’t mean to say you should cease all of your efforts at generating new traffic to your site, but rather to think about your ongoing retention as well as building customer loyalty. Not only will this help improve conversions rates, but if you’re hosting an e-commerce site, customers are likely to spend a great deal more too. Put simply, customer retention equals improved sales.

So what customer retention strategies can you include on your website?

Well there are a number of strategies, but ultimately it really depends on your resources and target audience. In an ideal world you would want to implement as many as you can. However, it’s important to understand that some strategies will take time to implement and yield visible results, whilst others offer an instant, one-off boost. This way you should develop a wider strategy, but the more you can implement the better.

Create a Blog or News Section

Developing a blog will provide your site with a regular feed of fresh content, or at least a platform on which to do so. As long as this content is of interest to your visitors, it should serve to encourage them to return time and time again. But you have to ensure that it will appeal to a wide audience as well as being unique and relevant to your industry or company. This is a great way of extending your readership and can show a human side to your business; a side that customers can engage with. In this sense, be sure to write pieces and open up discussions, for example regarding industry updates or reviews of specific products.

Allow Comments

As mentioned above, allowing comments is a great way of getting visitors engaged with your site. If you can get discussions going, this will entice people to return regularly to see what discussions are being had and where they can contribute. It’s important not to deliberately provoke or antagonise visitors or customers to get a reaction as this could damage your brand considerably. Rather, create friendly and open discussion where users can freely contribute and always feel comfortable responding to these comments (whether they’re good or bad) as this shows you’re listening to your customers and value what they have to say.

Forums

As well as including comments on your blog posts, you may also want to consider setting up forums, or places where others can pose questions and allow other users to respond. This creates a mechanism for repeat traffic. Your blog posts and news stories can only go so far, and it’s no mean feat keeping this regularly updated, but by creating a forum you can let users generate their own content. Also, if successful, your website’s forum could be the go-to site for users to find the latest information and answers to any questions they may have.

Implement an RSS Feed

Make sure your blog posts and news items are available via an RRS Feed. This will ensure your posts are instantly exposed to those who have signed up to your feed. Not everyone will make the conscious effort to visit your site, unless your posts are updated consistently at the same time each day or week (this way users will know exactly when to return to see your updated content). However with an RSS feed your latest content can be pinged to these users, which in turn gets them clicking through to your site.

Newsletters and Latest Promotions

Providing latest industry and company news contained within a weekly, fortnightly or monthly newsletter is also another great way of retaining customers. It’s another way of ensuring that your name, brand and website are kept at the forefront of your customer’s minds. With an online newsletter, stories can be clickable, which can then direct traffic through to your website. Even better though is to do a similar thing but focus on the latest offers and promotions. An e-mail about a sale, or offers for specific products and services can be an excellent way of reminding existing customers about your site.

E-mail and Mobile Number Opt-ins

In order to get a list of e-mail addresses, you’ll need to try and include e-mail opt-ins throughout your site. Not everyone will just sign up so be sure incentivise your customers by offering them a discount or an offer if they give you their e-mail address. From here you can keep your users up-to-date with the very latest offers or exclusive web based promotions. In addition to e-mail opt-ins are also mobile number opt-ins, which can be far more effective at delivering returning traffic to your site.

There is a fantastic way in which you can gather mobile numbers on your website. For example, Text Marketer have released a script called Form2SMS that enables websites to collect mobile numbers for when a visitor or user wants information about a specific product or service. For example, a visitor may have visited a product page which is currently out of stock; but by including the script, this allows the visitor the option to submit their mobile number and receive a text message when the item is back in stock. Be sure to include the mobile opt-in script wherever possible throughout your website.

Trigger Based Messaging

With the e-mail and mobile number information you have gained, you can bring in highly targeted returning traffic to your website. E-mails are good, but as mentioned, a growing number of businesses are taking advantage of SMS marketing, because Bulk SMS can deliver a greater ROI. As mentioned, you can inform a visitor that an item has been restocked, but also other notifications regarding:

  • Latest products
  • Dates for upcoming sales
  • Online promotions or offers
  • Store information
  • When an order has been confirmed
  • When an order has been delivered

Contained within your SMS message will be the offer and a link directed towards your site. This is highly effective as it is returning targeted traffic back to your site.

Daily or Weekly Deals

Finally, for e-commerce sites, having deals of the day or deals of the week is an excellent way to retain customers. This could then form part of their daily or weekly routine, to check your site for the latest deal. In addition, you could simply remind them using e-mail marketing or SMS marketing as already discussed.

When it comes to customer retention, it’s best to think about your user’s needs. If it was you, what would you want and how would you help give this to the customer or user? By putting their needs first, you’ll develop loyal customers, who are more likely to tell their friends and family about your website. Although the best thing about returning customers is that they’re free, as you’ve already put in the hard work to acquire them. So start developing loyalty to optimise your marketing return on investment.

Image Source

Carrot via BigStock

Text Marketer

Text Marketer

Text Marketer delivers professional opt-in Business Bulk SMS tools and low cost SMS services. Their low cost, easy to use SMS Software is used by thousands of companies and has no set up or monthly fees, no contract period and you can create a free account & free credits to get you started.

3 Comments

  • James Perrin

    James 20th February 2012

    It’s really refreshing to see a post about converting traffic, or more to the point, one about retaining traffic, turning them into loyal customers. I’ve noticed that a lot of businesses get blind sided focussing on just generating new traffic to their site. Don’t get me wrong, that’s incredibly important, but site optimisation is more than just appearing higher up in the rankings. It’s quite an investment to make, and unless that traffic converts or is retained, then it could get considerably more expensive.

    Some of the tips you’ve shared are good, and site owners should use those most applicable and relevant. Another strategy revolves around the use of social media, and the way in which you can constantly communicate with your audience. You know your audience will be interested in what you have to say as they’ll be following you. Here you can share with them company news and information, including promotions, offers and sales.

    Thanks for sharing some good tips!

    Reply to this comment

  • Michael Rolfe 20th February 2012

    Totally agree, many sites have yet to offer a more interactive experience to visitors to their websites by having comments enabled on a frequently updated blog. Disseminating news to previous visitors via RSS and Twitter for example is the next stage in retaining customer engagement and this post makes the relevant assertion that sending an SMS can really capitalise on the opportunity to invite a prospective customer to take the next step. Interesting info that a lot of businesses could benefit from.

    Reply to this comment

  • Mindful Marketing Strategies 19th October 2012

    What about integrating social media into your customer retention plan? Depending on your customer demographics, it could prove to be the best channel to communicate and market to your customers. -makeitmindful

    Reply to this comment

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