A recent study by Forbes Insights in association with Coremetrics reveals customer retention is becoming a greater marketing priority. In fact, more than half (52%) of the marketing executives cited customer retention as the top priority, and 39% of those plan to dedicate the largest piece of their budgets in support of customer retention.
As marketers, we know the best place to increase sales is from current customers. So what’s the best way to market to your current customers besides loyalty/rewards programs and promotional pens?
1. Custom Publishing. Consider developing custom content in the form of a publication dedicated to your current customers. Develop a regular publishing cycle, pre-plan editorial calendars and seek feedback from customers on how to make the content more relevant. The key is to create content that is mostly non-promotional. Share content that meets a common need or solves a common problem faced by the same customers that use your product or service. And make sure your publication is free and easy to access, depending on the customer’s preferences (print or digital.)
2. Continuing Education. Whitepapers, webinars, tip sheets, instructional videos and even in-person workshops are all great ways to provide your customers with more information on how they can use your products or services. If customers are already using your product and happy with the results, show them how to get even better results to they will turn to you for advice next time they have a problem or need to purchase a solution.
3. Events. You probably attend trade shows to meet with distributors and media; and you probably host events for prospects. But consider hosting an event exclusively for existing customers. This provides an opportunity to express your gratitude for their loyalty, honor any outstanding partners or clients, facilitate conversation among customers about your brand and communicate information to a highly engaged audience on new products and services that will enhance their current experience with your brand.
A live event not in the budget? Consider hosting regular Twitter or Facebook events that provide a venue for customers to connect and share with one another. This will provide a “fly-on-the-wall” view of conversations taking place in the marketplace about your brand as well as industry issues.
4. Sneak Previews. Provide the latest information on new products and services to your loyal customers before making a public announcement. Make sure your customers know they are getting first dibs. For example, one of our clients is launching a new online resource. Before making the official announcement, the company offered100 of its most loyal customers the ability to test the new service . In addition to giving his customers a “sneak peak”, it also opened the door for customers to provide feedback that contributed to revisions in the final stages of development.
This can be successful even if you are not introducing something new. Instead, offer an exclusive behind the scenes about your company that your customers might find interesting or useful. For example, local candy shop, winery and brewery tours are typically popular. And the tour strategically ends right in their retail store.