5 Best Customer Retention Strategies for a Small Business

Customer Retention Strategies

Did you know that clients who’ve already purchased something from you are much likelier to buy something again than those who you haven’t converted yet? No matter the size of your online business, it is vital to put in effort in retaining your customers since it’s much harder to obtain new clients than to convince existing ones to make a purchase once again.

Of course, a great deal of your success will lie in how well your store’s site is working, and this may require the matter of eCommerce website speed optimization and other technical tweaks. But what else needs to be done to make people return to you for more?

In this post, we’ll cover the top strategies for customer retention that are common, effective, and applicable to small businesses. Plus, we’ll give examples of how renowned companies use them and even share some tools that you may find handy.

1. Motivate Your Customers to Interact

Opening the list is a great tactic that revolves around mutual win-win. By encouraging your clients to provide feedback or to take action of some sort can be beneficial for both sides.

An outstanding example of this is stimulating customers to leave a review on the item or product that they’ve bought from you or the service that you’ve provided them. In return, you can offer some perk to the customer for taking the time to do that, for instance, free delivery or a discount for the next order that they make in your store. Such comments that’ll appear on your product pages will be of value for your other shoppers who’re browsing the website and will build credibility to your growing brand.

And, by providing a sweetener, you urge the customers who’ve left the feedback to come back to you and buy something again. For instance, this is what the reviews section of the official Anthropologie website is like.

Another thing that could be done to stir your customers’ interest in interacting with your business is asking them to repost your content and participate in various giveaways. There are many contests that you can run, and since everyone loves freebies, this way you can put your clients back into the funnel.

2. Create Effective Email Campaigns

Drip campaigns that are sent out to segmented lists of customers are another strategy to not overlook. With inputting proper time and thinking your campaigns and messages through, you can reach out both to the customers who have done business with you previously and to those whose hearts you haven’t “conquered” yet.

Email marketing is among the most powerful tools that you could make use of without investing a lot of resources. This is a remarkable way to connect with your clients and have them come back to you as long as you “hit the bull’s eye” with what you’re offering. The major rules to follow with email marketing are:

  • welcoming users with an email after they’ve signed up
  • having well-segmented lists of recipients,
  • being consistent but not too pushy,
  • sending emails on a schedule,
  • sharing content that truly matters and brings value to your customers,
  • personalizing the message,
  • testing your email and wording,
  • making your emails visually appealing,
  • making sure that all links are working properly,
  • analyzing the results of the campaign.

If you don’t know where to start, there exist many tools for building email campaigns. Such tools offer functionality for scheduled auto send-outs, email design solutions (for building mailers using simple drag-and-drop), as well as for reporting and analytics. They vary in pricing and the available utilities from simple solutions like EmailOctopus to more complex and inclusive ones such as Sendinblue or MailChimp.

3. Grow Brand Loyalty with Social Media

A strategy that’s twice as relevant for small businesses is having a strong presence online and in social media. If you succeed at connecting with your customers on as many channels as you can, good for you. This is something to truly aim at as by doing so you’re growing your brand loyalty and customer database.

Mentioning specific steps to undertake, remember that user-generated content is your fellow assistant. Try to reach out to your buyers and ask them to tag you if they’re posting something with your product. On your side, you can feature such content on your website and social channels via reposts and linking blocks that’ll display featured content on your site.

Depending on which platform your website is built on, you might have to turn to the developers for assistance with the integration of the module, in other cases, this can be done using plugins or simple linking. In any case, this strategy is equally effective for various company sizes. For example, this is how the social media section with featured client posts looks like on the official Swarovski website.

4. Learn About Client Needs via Surveys

Incorporating client surveys is a wonderful opportunity to find out the opinions of your clients. Ideally, this should be done across multiple channels that include:

  • your website,
  • your email campaign send-outs,
  • and your social media (for instance, surveys in Instagram Stories).

You can inquire about a plethora of things from which item they’d like to receive as a gift more to which color they prefer the product in or how satisfied they were with their buying experience. There are no limits, and such a strategy is powerful due to the fact that you can make conclusions regarding where to move next, which things to improve, as well as how to make your clients happier. Take a look at how delicately clients are offered to take a quick survey on the official Columbia website:

After all, you may offer something to the client in a little while (say, something you don’t have now) as you’ll understand the demand. Thus, you raise your chances of this client returning to you. This point is quite significant for petite businesses that usually don’t boast huge inventories and product lines.

The golden rules for client surveys here lie in:

  1. formulating your surveys properly,
  2. keeping them short and simple,
  3. and not using them excessively.

Remember, long and complicated surveys that flash before the eyes of your customers way too often will cause irritation, therefore, don’t overdo it.

Luckily, there are many tools for building customer surveys for online stores. Some exist as standalone services, whereas plugins may differ based on the platform that your eCommerce store is built-on. For example, the SurveyPlanet tool can be even available free of charge, you can consider using SurveyMonkey as well.

5. Take a Second Shot at the Clients You’ve Lost

Just because you didn’t manage to win a client from your first attempt or have for some reason lost them, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever try again.

The main question you should ask as you start your path towards getting a lost client back is why did you lose them in the first place? You have to get down to the bottom of the matter in order to take any further steps. Let’s admit it, there may be cases when you don’t want to have this client back at all!

After figuring out what went wrong, multiple scenarios can follow. For example, if you’ve lost a client due to the poor experience that occurred on your fault, start with an apology coupled with something that can butter up your ex-customer. Or if you’ve lost the client because you weren’t able to offer them what they needed but now you can, let them know that now it’s possible.

Make sure that the message that you’re crafting is personal. By showing that you’ve taken the time to improve, you can change the “lost” customer’s mind.

Final Word

Taking all the aforesaid into consideration, loyal customers are those who you want to cherish by all means. These are the people who’ll do business with you, recommend your company and your products to others, who’re much more likely to buy from you again and again. Don’t make the rookie mistake of doing one-time sales, especially if you’re a small business owner. Remember that every single person counts!

Alex Husar
Alex Husar, CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento support services and Salesforce development. He graduated from the Czech Technical University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Computer Software Engineering. Alex’s expertise includes both full-stack dev skills and a strong ability to provide project-critical guidance to the whole team.

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