Any firm knows that customer retention is key to long-term success. The good news is that once someone converts from a prospect to a customer, much of the hard work is done—it’s easier to retain a customer than to convert one. However, if you want a customer to purchase from your firm again, you will give yourself an advantage by keeping in contact with them. Unfortunately, according to one marketing survey, an average of 70% of businesses polled reported that self-described satisfied customers didn’t return to purchase again.
Fortunately, marketing automation is a boon to retaining customers, if your firm knows how to do it. We have discussed marketing automation before, and described some of the pros and cons of the most popular marketing automation programs. Now, put the technology to good use: here are 5 ways to use marketing automation in your customer retention efforts.
Fortunately, any firm that does lead scoring for its sales efforts can use the same principles and techniques for customer retention. Lead scoring is one of the most powerful parts of a marketing automation suite, so put that to use grading existing customers.
Keep up lead scoring on existing customers as they move through the buyer’s journey. You’ll be able to tailor your outreach efforts and keep them buying. Ideally, through your marketing automation software, your firm will use all the data you have accumulated from all points in the funnel to identify pain points, popular content, and the most successful messages that have converted buyers already. This information will help you both convert future customers and retain existing ones.
Cultivating Brand Advocates
A satisfied customer talking about your product online is the strongest social proof that there is, and that’s a valuable asset for converting other prospects into buyers.
One way that some firms successfully implement marketing automation to retain customers is by sending out a survey after purchase. From the survey, a company can both gauge customer satisfaction and learn demographic and other information volunteered by the purchaser. A firm can also reach out to customers that leave great reviews, offering them the chance to leave a rating on other websites as well. A small reminder like that gives happy customers a low-pressure opportunity to evangelize on behalf of your firm.
Customers don’t like to feel as though they’re on the receiving end of an impersonal, one-size-fits-all advertising template. According to one 2016 study from the agency Acenture, for instance, 75% of customers want to buy from a company that recognizes them by name and speaks to them in a personalized way.
Marketing automation enables you to create customer profiles. Best of all, in the case of customer retention, you already know what a customer is interested in purchasing, enabling you to more closely hone in on future purchases. You can use the purchasing habits of other customers to recommend them products that they may find useful—Amazon has done this for years when they show items that are “frequently purchased with” a product on a given web page.
Customers are most likely to continue subscribing to an email newsletter, and even open and read the messages, if they feel they are getting added value from it.
Automation makes drip marketing easier and more effective than ever before. Drip marketing programs send out correspondence at regular intervals, which can be based on either time or behaviour. As far as your firm’s customer retention efforts are concerned, once someone has purchased from you, you can use a drip marketing program to thank them for their business and then maintain contact.
Based on past customer behavior, you can use an automated drip to tell the customer about updates and new innovations for the product line, related products that might be of interest, or content that’s otherwise tailored to their interest. By virtue of buying from you, they have already demonstrated their interests, so you can capitalize on this by keeping them in the loop through marketing automation programs.
Implementing Loyalty Rewards
One of the most tried-and-true methods for keeping customers coming back is some kind of loyalty program, or a set of incentives that reward frequent shoppers. Marketing automation technology makes this easy.
You can improve your customer retention efforts by sending out certain rewards and coupons based on purchasing or even browsing behaviour. Marketing automation technology also lets you segment buyers into groups and cultivate nurture streams based on previous purchasing activity, further enabling your firm to reward repeat customers.
Marketing automation is the current major wave of doing business online, and your firm shouldn’t be choosing to stay out in the cold. However, your firm should keep in mind that past customers require as much attention as hot leads and possible prospects. With some marketing automation best-practices, you can kep your past customers coming back for more.
Are there any major marketing automation methods that your firm has used in your customer retention efforts? Let us know!