All businesses understand the value of customer acquisition, placing enormous amounts of time, energy, and money into attracting and converting new customers. Adding new customers to your roster is essential for growth, so this is a justified priority.
Too many brands, however, stop there; they land one customer, and they move onto the next. This is a crucial mistake, as it prioritizes customer acquisition over customer retention. You need both for growth, especially since it’s anywhere from 5-25x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
You want to win over your customers over and over again so that you’re creating a lifetime customer base, and in this post, we’re going to go over six ways to do exactly that.
1. Offer Unparalleled Customer Service
Customer service is key to maintaining strong customer relationships and high retention rates. Consider that 96% of consumers around the world state that customer service is an influential factor in their loyalty to a chosen brand, and that 93% are more likely to make repeat purchases with customer service-oriented businesses.
Offering the best customer service around is the best way to create a lifetime customer base. People aren’t likely to want to leave when you’ve always treated them well.
Personalized customer service is essential. Each of your team members (internal and external included!) should have the training and resources so that they can offer customized solutions for each individual customer. This will increase customer satisfaction and retention rates significantly.
2. Create Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are an incredible incentive for customers to stick around a little bit longer.
Some brands have loyalty programs that allow you to redeem cash value on a future purchase after you’ve spent a certain dollar amount. Others will offer exclusive access to deals, sales, and even store gift cards to those who have been with their businesses for a certain length of time or who have spent above a specific threshold.
Loyalty programs incentivize your customers to purchase more and to stick around, all while showing them that you value their business.
3. Set Up Referral Marketing Programs
Referral marketing programs are useful in creating lifetime customer bases in two ways.
First, they’ll engage your current audience, keeping them interested and invested in your product. You’re asking them to reach out to their friends and family, singing your praises in exchange for a potential coupon code or discount. Even simple referral programs can help convert typical customers into brand advocates, which is wildly advantageous for keeping them around longer.
Referral marketing programs also have a tendency to result in higher-quality, higher-retaining clients. Customers that come from referral marketing programs have an average of 39% higher retention rates than other customers and have a 70% higher conversion rate. You’re closing deals faster, more often, and with higher-value clients who both spend more and stick around longer.
You can learn more about how to set up effective referral marketing programs here.
4. Keep Your Audience Engaged with Regular Contact
Want to keep your customers around? Then you need to engage with them regularly, even if they aren’t reaching out on their own.
A combination of social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing can all be useful here. Offer subscriptions to your online blog so that your followers never miss your top posts, try to drive follows across multiple social platforms, and use targeted, segmented email campaigns to engage with different niches of your target audience.
The more you can build a relationship with your audience, the better. If you stay relevant and at the front of their mind (or at least the top of their inbox or social feed), they’re more likely to continue purchasing moving forward.
5. Ask for Feedback & Act On It
Want to find out how you can keep your customers around longer and create a lifetime customer base?
Ask them what they want.
You should not only regularly ask customers for public reviews, but also to share private feedback about their experience with you. You can have account managers reach out, or send anonymous Google Forms to customers. Ask what they liked about their experience with you, what they’d like to see in the future, and what they’d like you to do differently.
Your customers will likely share great, honest feedback. If there’s something in the process they feel should be changed, take note; you never want to settle for “good enough,” because eventually something great might come along and steal your customers out from under you. Take feedback seriously, and consider implementing it where appropriate.
6. Stay Competitive In Your Market
It’s important to remember that your business doesn’t exist in a bubble. While your product and prices may be great, there may be new competition in the market that can beat your prices.
Stay aware of what’s happening in your industry, especially amongst direct competitors who will be vying for your existing and future customers. Pricing fluctuations, standard policies, and quality are all factors to look at when assessing your competition. No matter how loyal your customers are, many could be persuaded if they’re promised a similar product at a fraction of the cost.
Make sure that when you’re marketing your product to potential new leads and existing customers alike that you’re stressing what makes you different. This type of content marketing, together with personal relationship building, will be essential to keeping your competition’s greedy hands away from your customers.
Lifetime customer bases are the dream for businesses. You’re not worried about high customer acquisition costs, your churn rates go down, and your individual customer lifetime value (CLV) increases significantly. It’s easier and more cost-effective all the way around.
While lifetime customer bases aren’t necessarily the easiest to build and it won’t happen overnight, these 6 simple tactics are incredibly efficient strategies, and they’re a great place to start.