Most organisations agree that it’s more expensive to bring in new customers than it is to market to existing customers. If your customer base is loyal to your business, you may not even need to invest as much into your marketing campaigns. Having clear goals and objectives when it comes to retaining customers should thus be a part of every business strategy.

It’s also important to remember that with so many brands out there, competition between companies is fiercer than ever. So you want to hang on to the customers you have! The question is, how do you ensure that people who have bought your products before stay loyal to your brand? We’ve looked at five simple customer retention strategies below:

1. Improve Your Onboarding Process

Sometimes we can be so focused on the end goal - making a sale - that we don’t put enough work into the start of the customer journey. And because the onboarding process is crucial in terms of customer retention, businesses that don’t put enough resources in that area may lose out on revenue. Research conducted by Wyzowl has shown that a whopping 85% of customers felt they would remain loyal to a brand if they were actively welcomed when they signed up. Clearly small things can make all the difference!

The same study also found that more than 50% of the participants returned an item due to the fact that they didn’t fully understand how it worked. It’s therefore essential that, at the start of the customer journey, you educate users on the more technical aspects of your products or the business itself.

If you’re not sure how to go about refining your onboarding process, the best place to start is trying out lots of different things! You might try creating product videos which demonstrate how that particular product operates, writing comprehensive guides, or providing self-service options at checkout. By offering a variety of tools and ways to access information, you’re appealing to a wider customer base, rather than a small section of your audience.

2. Use Social Media to Engage With Customers

Younger customers in particular like to feel like they are part of your brand’s community, and a great way to achieve this is through social media. You can engage with your audience by producing relevant content, as well as by interacting with them directly. Respond to their questions, or perhaps ask your followers questions. Requesting user-generated content can be a good way to connect with your audience too.

Social media can additionally be a good place to encourage customers to post videos and photos of themselves using your products. Such imagery can help build a sense of community around your brand, as well as improve your brand awareness.

3. Reward Customer Loyalty

Free stuff appeals to just about everyone. Even if it’s only something small, or a tiny discount off the total purchase price, most people get excited by the prospect of saving money. So if you're looking to reward customer loyalty, why not try offering free or discounted items, once the person has made an initial purchase.

Another way of encouraging customers to make further purchases is to introduce a loyalty scheme. This allows customers to earn points as they shop, and when the points hit a certain number, these can be redeemed for in-store buys. 

4. Ask Customers for Feedback

You may not always know what your customers are thinking - so ask them! This isn’t just a good strategy in terms of customer retention, but it’s particularly important in this area. You can find out why people are not returning to your business, as well as ask ways in which you can provide a better service overall. Asking for feedback additionally demonstrates that you care about your customers’ opinions, and may lead to a few outstanding testimonials, which can be shared via social media.

Feedback won’t always be positive of course. And it’s equally important to look at the negative comments as the positive. You can check if there are any common trends, and work out which strategies to avoid in the future.

5. Don’t Forget to Follow Up

In order to retain customers, you have to be proactive. One of the simplest ways to do this is to set up an automatic follow-up cycle, which will ensure that your audience remains engaged, even after they’ve made a purchase. Email newsletters are fairly common, though do bear in mind that there’s a fine line between following up and spamming your customers with communications! 

If you don’t currently have a follow-up cycle in place, there are all sorts of platforms you can use to set one up. Many of these platforms allow you to customise the settings, so that you can send personalised messages to customers, depending on what they purchased and how long ago. Following-up with your audience is a great way to remind people of your services, and can be one of the most effective marketing tools at your disposal.