8 Customer Retention Tricks for Small Businesses

how do you keep old customers rather than chasing new customers all the time? Business help
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By Jess Dixon

If your business is to stay profitable for the long-haul, customer retention is essential. We all know that it is much more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one by now. But in a fast-changing, increasingly digitized, and highly competitive world, how are small businesses to compete with the big players? 

You’re actually in a great position to retain loyal customers as a small business. You can provide more personalised service and get to know your customers on a deeper level. 

With that said, let’s look at a few customer retention strategies that can help you. 

Offer amazing post-sale service

Your relationship with the customer doesn’t end when they’ve checked out or paid your invoice. This is when you need to focus on providing amazing customer service. If they have a question, answer it promptly. If they have a complaint, do what you can to resolve the situation. 

If you continue to provide great service once the sale is closed, the customer will be more likely to come back to you next time they need something you sell. They’ll also recommend you to others in their network. 

Use exclusive offers 

Everyone loves getting a great deal, especially if it’s an exclusive. So why not offer deals, discounts, or limited-time special offers to your loyal customers? This shows them that you value their custom and rewards them for their repeat business. 

Black Friday is coming up – in addition to any other sales you’re running, can you do a special loyalty offer for returning customers? 

Run a loyalty programme

Want to take rewarding customers for their repeated custom a step further? Creating a loyalty program allows them to earn freebies and bonuses based on how much they spend with you. 

There are so many different ways to do this. If you run a cafe, you can have “buy nine cups of coffee and get your tenth free” cards. Ecommerce store owners can do tiered freebies depending on the value of the customer’s next purchase. Software providers can have a “buy a year’s subscription and get a month free” offer. And so on. 

Have a social conscience

People are more and more inclined towards supporting businesses that behave ethically. Does your company support a local charity, make donations, or go out of its way to be eco-friendly? Whatever you’re doing on the corporate social responsibility front, shout about it! This will make your customers feel amazing about supporting a business that does good in the world, and make them more inclined to keep coming back to you instead of a faceless corporation. 

Seek feedback… and act on it 

Customer feedback matters. It shows your customers that their views are valued and, if you act on it effectively, it can seriously improve your business. So you should always be actively soliciting feedback through various mediums – surveys, social media, feedback forms, etc. – and making changes based upon it. 

Use retargeted advertising 

Retargeting is a form of advertising that targets customers based on previous behaviours. You can do retargeting over a range of platforms, but Facebook and Google are by far the biggest. Retargeted ads can entice customers who have previously visited your site, put items in their shopping cart, or made a purchase to come back and buy from you again. 

Pro tip: if you’re doing retargeting on Facebook, dynamic product ads allow you to serve highly targeted product recommendations depending on customer behaviours and preferences. This is ideal for online store owners. 

Personalize your email marketing

According to Hubspot, marketing emails that include the recipient’s name in the subject line get a higher click through rate than those that don’t. At a minimum, you should be using recipients’ names in the subject line and greeting line of your emails.

But ideally, you should take this personalization further. Segment your customer base according to interests, preferences, behaviours, or demographic data, and send different marketing emails to each segment. Does it take a bit more time and effort? Yes. Is it more effective? Hugely!

The bottom line is that customers want to receive content, product recommendations, and offers that are tailored specifically to them. You cannot achieve that with generic communications. 

Make sure your product or service is amazing

Your customer service might be top-notch and your marketing game on point, but you’ll only achieve good customer retention rates if your products or services are worth coming back for. This means you should take a critical look at your offering and make sure it’s as good as it can possibly be. If it isn’t, how can you improve it so that your customers keep returning again and again? 

What is a good customer retention rate?

There isn’t really an easy answer to this, because it varies by industry! Profitwell has created an interesting breakdown of various industries but even within them, retention rates vary enormously between businesses. 

The best thing to do is assess where your retention rate is currently, and see what you can do to improve it. You might be surprised at what a difference even a few small tweaks can make!

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