For digital marketers, there are, broadly speaking, two areas of focus when it comes to customer relationships. First, the marketing plan must work to acquire new customers. This process includes areas such as advertising, paid search, social media, and other channels focused on reach. The second area of focus, client retention, pertains to the user experience and the subsequent relationship that the brand cultivates with its clients in order to keep them around.
These dueling yet complementary areas of focus can present a formidable challenge for a marketer, and sometimes it can be easy to let the retention side of the house fall by the wayside a bit. After all, the customer got their foot in the door and spent some money with the brand — isn’t that one of the main objectives of acquisition marketing?
Absolutely. However, this does not mean that the customer should simply be “dropped” as soon as they’ve been attracted in. The customer experience is just as, if not more, important than the acquisition process. Recurring revenue, customer referrals, and brand loyalty are three areas that are drastically affected by a company’s client retention strategy. In an environment in which every cent and every customer matters, client retention should be a bigger focus in order to reach brand sustainability.
Not to say that client acquisition does not matter, or that it matters less. This is an ongoing challenge for marketers, isn’t it? Digital marketing professionals are busy individuals, and their time is valuable. For many businesses, bringing new customers in the door is the most important objective. But if a customer has a poor experience, how likely are they to become a loyal customer and recommend that business to their peers?
Customer retention is a marketing metric that should be measured regularly. While different businesses will have different measurements of success, having an idea of the state of customer satisfaction can help marketers determine the best approach to internal marketing.
Internal, customer experience-centric marketing is comprised of many different elements. For one, social media content is one area to focus on for both acquisitions as well as experience. Sure, social media can be productive for bringing in new customers — and this is something that brands can really capitalize on.
However, the content pushed out on social should not only be focused on new, unfamiliar customers. There should also be a healthy mix of content geared towards retaining customers mixed in. Content such as “how-to” tips for new users of an app, for example, can go a long way in retaining customers. These customers will feel more seen and not just forgotten about once they handed over their hard-earned money.
Another way marketers can work on their customer retention metrics is to solicit feedback regularly. Feedback from customers can provide insight that sheer numbers won’t always translate. Perhaps customers would be more engaged if they saw more content relevant to their own experiences. Without this knowledge, marketers are often reaching in the dark and hoping to land on an idea that resonates with the existing customer base.
Both client acquisition as well as client retention matter for the success of any business’ marketing venture. But it’s important to focus just as much on retention as acquisition, as loyal customers represent recurring revenue and referrals via word of mouth to feed into the acquisition side of the house.
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