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For many SMBs, trying to expand their potential customer base is a major concern. What started off as admirable ambition can quickly have disastrous consequences, though, as around half of startups cease operating within the first couple of years. This is why new businesses should focus their marketing efforts on their existing customer basis initially.

This is commonly referred to as retention marketing. Retention marketing deals with focusing your efforts on improving the experience of your existing customers rather than quickly abandoning them to chase new ones. In an age of instant messaging and social media, people talk more than ever. Sometimes the simple things like listening to what customers are looking for are the best strategies to a successful business.

How It Works

The most popular way companies employ retention marketing in the digital age is by sending personalized content offers via email. This is a good way to engage with your audience while also keeping the costs down, but it’s important that the customer doesn’t feel like the company is being too pushy. What started life as a thank you can quickly become another spam message destined for the junk folder. Don’t completely neglect the idea of traditional mail either. A personalized card can make a big impact, especially in the holidays. Consider offering a seasonal discount or other incentive to visit your website or store.

Another popular way to encourage repeat spending is to create a loyalty scheme. This is most commonly in the form of “points” which can be used to reduce the price of other products or services. These have been proven to increase spending amongst your existing customer-base, sometimes by as much as 33%. Gift cards are another way you could grow your business. Not only by selling them in your own store, but getting other stores in the local community to stock them.

Businesses new to this area should consider taking advantage of independent companies that specialize in improving customer retention. Many of us lead busy lives so any added convenience is appreciated. Companies like management software provider Phorest could get you started by implementing the technology needed to give your customers email or SMS alerts regarding your service. These could be reminders of an upcoming appointment, a thank you message with an option to leave a review, or a special offer to a customer who hasn’t been active in a while. Depending on the customer information you have on offer, these messages can be targeted to the age, gender, or any other metric available, to ensure they are relevant to the customer.

In every aspect of your company, you should pinpoint what makes your services special and focus on constantly refining them. Your marketing strategy should follow suit. Focus on delivering the best service you can to your existing customers and the rest will follow.

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