Now more than ever, customer retention is crucial for a thriving business. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a severe economic impact on small businesses. According to Business Insider, most small businesses don’t have the cash reserves to weather a prolonged economic interruption. Add in dramatic declines in consumer demand, layoffs, and stock market volatility, and it’s easy to see why hanging on to existing customers is essential to survival.
There is good news, however. Traditional marketing and digital marketing offer small business owners practical customer retention tools. Start using some or all of these techniques to boost the likelihood that your customers remain loyal.
1. Email Marketing/Automation
What I love the most about email marketing is that it’s an effective and economical touchpoint. It enables marketers to stay in touch with current customers. When timed well, it keeps your brand where you want it during the sales cycle – on your customer’s radar screen.
Platforms like Mail Chimp and Constant Contact continually improve their email marketing offerings with new features. Consequently, they offer many more creative templates, a user-friendly interface, and easy contact list management. In the case of Constant Contact, they provide excellent customer support online or by phone.
It’s no wonder Forbes refers to email marketing as “the most powerful tool to take your business to the next level.” That’s because “email marketing still promises to deliver the highest ROI of all marketing channels—$42 back for every dollar you spend.” And understanding your marketing ROI (return on investment) is essential to effective marketing management and customer retention.
2. How-to Videos
Today’s best marketing content provides customers with value, especially video. In many cases, customers find value in brief instructive videos.
If your business doesn’t have a YouTube channel, consider creating one and promoting it. According to Sprout Social, YouTube is second only to Facebook in terms of active users. That means a good number of your customers are already using YouTube regularly.
If you have little or no experience in video marketing, no problem. YouTube offers the Creator Academy, a complementary tool for educating you with best practices in video marketing.
YouTube makes it easy to customize your channel and organize your videos for customers. Promote your channel with a link to it on your website and an icon on your business card. Also, the right titles and descriptions help consumers find your videos when they search.
3. Social Media Groups
Lockdowns during the pandemic have left many small business owners feeling isolated. The same goes for their customers.
Social media groups provide both the business owner and their customers opportunities for the personal interaction they crave. Social Media Today reports numerous benefits:
- Show your human side and have one-on-one conversations with your audience.
- Group members can interact around your brand, helping build trust and loyalty.
- The group provides a space for people with similar interests to connect and have meaningful conversations. The primary driver behind creating a group should be the value it provides your customers.
4. Project Wrap-up Sessions
For businesses that provide a service, such as contractors and consultants, project wrap up sessions are a powerful customer retention tool for several reasons.
First, they allow customers to provide valuable feedback on your performance. It’s good practice to follow continuous improvement. And these customer listening meetings offer opportunities to improve how you deliver your service. Plus they help your customer feel like their needs are being met and any potential lingering issues are addressed. Customers that feel listened to will remain loyal for more extended periods.
Second, project wrap up sessions often lead to opportunities for you to deliver additional services either immediately or in the near future. If the customer has been satisfied with your performance, it would be natural to ask if there is anything else you can do for them. Or ask for a positive online review.
5. Customer Phone Calls
The pandemic may be the most critical time for you to call your customers. It’s a meaningful touchpoint any time, but especially now. The objective is to let them know you’re thinking about them.
Ask how they’re doing and even offer assistance if appropriate, but don’t use pressure tactics. Find a way to make a personal connection. Long after the pandemic has subsided, they’ll remember you as the company that genuinely cared about their well-being.
The management team at Brew City Marketing encourages their staff to reach out to their clients with a phone call. They strategize prior to the calls and emphasize showing their clients that they’re the digital marketing firm’s top priority.
Each of these techniques requires time and effort. But the payoff is enormous! You’ve worked hard to build your business. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to thrive now and beyond the pandemic by retaining your customers.
Sprout Social, Brent Barnhart, “The most important social media trends to know for 2020”, August, 2020.
Social Media Today, Emma Wiltshire, “How Brands Can Benefit from Social Media Groups (#SMTLive Recap)”, June 2020.
Business Insider, Corona Virus: Business & Economy Covid-19 Business and Economic Impact Tracker.
Forbes, Rieva Lesonsky, Email Marketing: Still The Most Powerful Tool To Take Your Business To The Next Level, October 2020.