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by Text Marketer on 20th February 2012
Today 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.
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.
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:
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.