The holidays are over, and for most businesses, that often signifies a big sigh of relief. October through to the new year represents a major marketing effort, the likes of which often feel like a never-ending marathon. But if the goal of that marathon is to hit the finish line with an increased customer bases, and subsequently higher revenue, then what can you do to retain that prize? How do you keep all those customers and continue to reap the rewards of all that hard work.
There are a variety of tools that you probably already have in place for customer retention purposes, but to ride out the wave of new holiday customers, consider some of these strategies.
Over the holidays, a friend of mine ordered some pet supplies from Chewy.com. There’s a fair amount of pet supplies companies out there, and though he only ordered from Chewy on a whim, their order follow-up converted him to a loyal customer. How? A simple handwritten thank you card.
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Customers are largely driven by prices and promotions, but what keeps them coming back is the service they receive after they submit an order. While that experience includes things like shipping efficiency and packaging, in the case of our holiday customers (which already ordered and received a product or service), a “thank you” can go a long way.
Does it have to be a hand-written note? Not necessarily, though a well-crafted, handwritten note does resonate, especially with small business customers. Your “thank you” can be as simple as a carefully worded email thanking the new customer for their business, inquiring about their experience, and perhaps even offering them a sweet deal on their next purchase.
Aside from letting a new customer know they aren’t just another order, a thank you (particularly a hand-written one) can help boost brand perception as customer’s receiving those cards share their experiences with other potential customers.
Show Your Value
A huge part of customer retention is adding value to the equation. Do you have great prices? Quality services or products? Are you exceptionally reliable? Offering new or hard to find products? Whatever it is that you do different or better than the competition, make sure your you convey that information to new customers.
Don’t forget that what proves to be valuable to one customer isn’t necessarily valuable to others. Take time to dig into customer analytics to determine what drives their purchases, identifying trends as you go. Target your efforts based on customer segments to make the most of your efforts.
Stay in Touch
If you don’t have a holiday follow-up campaign on the calendar, it’s time to get one in place. The longer you wait to reach out, the smaller your retention window becomes. Thank them for their order, offer them a new deal, keep your social media networks up-to-date, or, if the situation merits it, give them a call.
By staying in touch (and not waiting too long to do so), you can stay relevant in their mind, their feeds, and their inboxes.
Create & Distribute Relevant Content
Creating content to be used on your social sites, blogs, and in emails can show new customers the depth of your offerings, going beyond products and services. The content you create will add to that “value” statement above.
What type of content? Similar to your efforts to determine and define value, to establish what type of content you need, you’ll need to determine “who” your customers are and what drives them. Create content that addresses their specific needs.
Beyond that don’t forget the timeliness of post-holiday retention campaigns, specifically the resolution driven desires of the general populace. Consumers are looking to get healthier, stay organized, and start the year off on the right foot. Show your customers how your company can help them do that.
Give them VIP Treatment
Treat them to a great offer or discounted service, send them a gift (trial products, swag, etc.), or come up with a creative way to make them feel like they are an important part of your business. Similar to a handwritten thank you card, that little bit of extra goes a long way in showcasing your brand as one they can rely on for a quality experience. In a world where we’re all just another cart conversion, feeling like a VIP can quickly take a first-time experience to a long-term loyal relationship.
As much as it may feel like it, the end of Q4 isn’t the end of the race, it’s the beginning of a new one, and how you treat newly acquired customers will determine what kind of road lies ahead. To finish strong, make sure that new customers feel valued and see value in your business.
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