IT’S A WELL-KNOWN business truth that it’s much more cost-effective to retain existing customers and increase sales from them than to acquire new ones. In fact, estimates from various sources put that acquisition factor at four to 10 times the cost of customer retention. So how do you keep customers coming back to your business?
Optimizing the customer’s experience at the point of sale is one way. Great customer service not only retains customers but also reduces price sensitivity. Customer appreciation is another—people want to know that their patronage is valued.
At the top of the list of marketing strategies for customer loyalty is email. According to a 2016 Emarketer survey, 80% of small to medium sized retailers reported email as their best tactic for customer retention.
Through a well-crafted email program, you can maintain a relationship with customers in between visits. Email keeps you top of mind by just reminding customers you are there. Use it to inform them about the arrival of new merchandise, new services you offer or new staff at your business. It’s a great tool to promote special events, sales or promotional offers that lure customers back if they’ve been away for a while.
Email marketing has become readily accessible to even small businesses through platforms such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact, which provide ready-made templates for customization and allow you to house email lists. There are tools for email customization, as well, so you can personalize your outreach based on customer interests and behavior. Through A/B testing of offers, subject lines and timing of your transmissions, you can experiment and refine your program for optimal effectiveness. Of course, every business is different. The key to success is finding the right mix of useful information and promotion, sent with a frequency that works for your customer base.