By Chris Christoff, the co-founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plug-in for Google Analytics.
When it comes to growing a small business, many leaders and marketers believe that obtaining new customers is the key to success. While it’s true that generating new leads and securing sales is a critical part of your growth, there are other metrics worth keeping in mind.
Today, I want to talk about why you should start focusing on your retention rate. Customer retention is a company’s ability to keep existing customers returning for repeat orders over a specified time.
Repeat customers are more likely to trust your brand, place larger orders and tell their friends about the positive experiences they had on your site. If you use this line of thinking, it’s clear that you’re bound to connect with new leads and secure more sales in the process of retaining existing users.
Now, let’s look at four ways you can boost your retention rate and build your brand.
Set Expectations Early
Believe it or not, you can work toward improving your retention rate from the moment a consumer decides to subscribe to your email list or purchase a product. When either of these actions occurs, you’ll have the option to send out a welcome email.
Welcome emails are an excellent way to set the stage for your audience. Imagine subscribing to a new business. You’re patiently waiting for your first email so you can download the lead magnet offered by the company, plus learn more about their products and services.
Would you consider becoming a repeat customer if you didn’t get your welcome email until a week later? My guess is no. And you’re not alone.
Consumers want to have repeat encounters with businesses that understand the importance of clear communication and setting expectations. When a new user joins your list, deliver on your promise and explain how you’ll continue to provide value long after your first message. These expectations will keep users opening your emails and visiting your site. If you can deliver, or better yet overdeliver, on your promise, it’s a safe bet that a majority of your subscribers will become repeat customers.
Develop A Loyalty Program
Another way to boost your retention rate is to reward customers for completing purchases. When you give back to your customers after each visit, there’s a good chance they will want to use the offer, promotion or credit featured in your program.
You have several options when it comes to establishing your loyalty program. One common option includes a points-based system. Every time a customer buys something from your site, they get credits to use on future purchases.
When someone decides to use their points, they usually buy more than what they have. As a result, these users tend to make repeat purchases on your site and get even more reward points that they can use for their next visit.
You can also give away unique gifts to people who take specific actions on your website. For instance, if you have a service and offer an annual subscription, you may want to offer all new annual customers your complete ebook library for free.
These actions demonstrate that you’re committed to their success and want to provide the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals. The result of this type of campaign is improved loyalty and retention.
Use Retargeting To Reduce Cart Abandonment
Cart abandonment is extremely common in e-commerce storefronts across all industries. Simply put, cart abandonment is when a user adds items to their shopping cart but leaves before they complete their order.
If you use retargeting to reach these users, there’s an excellent chance you could improve your retention rate and generate new sales. Retargeting is the process of reconnecting with visitors on other websites and social media after they’ve abandoned their shopping carts. This marketing strategy involves setting up a system that automatically drops retargeting pixels, also known as cookies, on visitors’ browsers when they don’t complete their orders.
Once a person has a retargeting pixel from your business, they will start seeing curated promotions while doing other things online. You can add personalization elements to your retargeting ads so users can claim exclusive discounts on the product they added to their cart.
You can also implement retargeting with your email marketing strategy. I suggest creating a drip campaign that goes out to subscribers after they abandon their shopping carts.
Improve Based On Feedback
Finally, you can dramatically improve your retention rate by evolving your business over time. When you decide to make changes, I suggest turning to customer feedback to see where you can improve.
Feedback forms are easy to create and can be distributed on your website, through email and on social media. If you want to maximize your conversions on these forms, limit your questions. Consumers are more likely to fill out a four- to five-field questionnaire than a multi-page form with 50 questions.
Because you have limited time and space, you have to make each question matter. Think about the parts of your business you want to improve for your audience and ask questions centered around that topic.
Compile all of the data after a few weeks and look for parallels in answers. For instance, if over half of the participants said they had trouble checking out, it may be time to redesign your payment form.
Retention is one of the keys to steady growth. Consistent, personalized engagement is how you keep visitors coming back to your site. Use the tips outlined above to start a new customer retention campaign, and you can see the results for yourself.