4 Programs to Help You Retain Your Customers
There are key areas that contribute to increased revenue. Each of these customer-focused areas are important for business growth and need to be developed when creating and implementing a solid marketing strategy. The three areas are:
- Customer retention, keeping those customers that you worked so hard to acquire
- Customer growth, expanding the products and services that your customer buys from you
- Customer acquisition, growing market share by expanding your customer base
Marketing departments must reevaluate and determine where best to deploy their resources to support sales and revenue goals. An emphasis on the third area above, customer acquisition, will be the most challenging and resource intense. Competition, awareness and budgets have all been turned upside down in the last 90 days.
Growing customer business, the second area above, will also be challenging but not impossible. We’re reading many articles of printers offering new services, like banners and signage and more.
Retaining your most valuable asset
Your customer base is your most important asset. Retaining your customers, the first area in the list above, should be your priority at all times. Executing a sales and marketing strategy to maintain your customer base is critically import in rapidly changing business environments. Customer retention is your first plank in marketing strategy.
You’re a partner not a vendor
You have an obligation to continually communicate and educate your customer base. Not to create a heavy-handed selling approach but to listen, understand and uncover their issues and concerns. If you haven’t already, develop strong customer partnerships throughout all areas of your business including – regular communications, sales and customer service contact.
Your sales and client service team should reach out to your customers just like they check in on friends and family. Listen to what customers are saying and how your business can support them in the short term and long term. What are you seeing in your business and with other customers that can improve their business? Anticipate their needs today. Help your salespeople pick up the phone and call with concern and yes, the overused word, empathy. And most of all understand that each customer is in a unique situation and their business is very personal.
Four Programs to Help You Retain Your Customer Base
Update your website
Have you updated your website recently? Is it responsive, informative, and clear? Can people find the information they need? Do you focus on the value you provide to customers or promote features and technology?
In March 2020 there was a 35% increase in internet usage, and this will surely continue on the upswing. Your customers are visiting your site, especially if they log in to a services portal or Web-to-print portal. Are you effectively promoting your capabilities that they may not be aware you offer? Many salespeople tell me that their company’s website is not updated and does not reflect the current requirements of their customers.
Create a loyalty program
Research shows that loyalty programs are effective. Loyalty leaders in their industry grow revenues roughly 2.5x as fast as other companies. These programs need to be well thought out and applicable to your specific audience. You’ll need to consider if the program benefits apply to the business or individuals. Also consider the type of redemption you will provide; discounts on future services, gift cards, selection from a gift catalog, etc. Create an easy to understand and quick to redeem program. There are many businesses you can engage that manage loyalty programs. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate and promote your focus as a customer-centric business.
Host an event
Yes, live, in-person events are a great way to start building and maintaining relationships. You should plan for this, in the future. Today, start to organize an online event. Instead of promoting all your services, create an educational event. Consider educational topics like training your customers to prepare files for offset and inkjet, providing information for different finishing and binding capabilities to enhance their deliverables, or help them understand the benefits of the usps.com incentive programs. Talk to your production department, they’ll share issues they are experiencing with customer files. This is a great time to fix those issues.
Implement a Multichannel Outreach Program
Promote your new website, introduce your loyalty program, launch your educational event through email, direct mail, and social channels. You likely have many customers that have done business with you but may not fully understand your capabilities. Their needs may have changed in the last quarter and they are looking at other print services providers to support their current business requirements. Demonstrate your company’s offerings with a strong marketing program that lets your customers know that you are available for them.
Reach out. Your customers need you.
Kimberly Meyers is the principal at Kimberly Meyers & Associates, a marketing consulting firm. Kimberly is a Marketing VP for hire. She develops marketing solutions based on strategic assessment of her client’s business, sales and marketing requirements. She lives by the philosophy of ensuring the appropriate message and content is delivered to the target audience – always, focusing on customer needs and satisfaction. Kimberly welcomes your connection at firstname.lastname@example.org.