How to Think About Website Retention
Our last bucket for managing customers after they have completed a desired action is called Retention. At this point, the holy grail has been attained and the customer has converted per our major KPIs.
Again, this is highly dependent on the business model but for many companies a major conversion is usually purchasing a product, downloading an app, or requesting more information. This signals the customer is ready to buy, has purchased already, or is willing to engage beyond a casual visit.
This is indeed a major milestone for marketing but our work is far from over.
As marketers we are constantly tasked with growth. Which usually translates into gaining more customers. This of course has a cost associated with it – our infamous CPA. So, we put our heads down and work feverishly on developing new ways to earn attention and drop CPA.
Sadly, those that have passed through the funnel and are now on the other side as customers or users are quickly forgotten. They do not receive any attention for recognition for taking a chance on us.
Now this scenario may reek with a bit of hyperbole but for many companies it is a reality. Out with the old and in with the new. If a business is highly dependent on growth, such as in the case of venture capital backed startups, current users or customers are old news. The question becomes, “Yeah but how many new users signed up today?”.
However, a wealth of insights and data are at our fingertips with current customers. First of all, we know they bought or opted-in from us once. If the experience was superb and the brand stands behind all its promises, we will likely have a good shot of earning a repeat purchase or engagement. Over time the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) can be extended and as we saw way back with our online shoe company, the CPA will continue to fall with repeat purchases or usage.
Here is where the digital marketer must go the extra mile to guarantee this scenario happens. Retaining current customers is all about listening, rewarding and where appropriate promoting. Not all customers want this type of attention but those that do have to be treated differently.
A quick checklist for ongoing Retention:
- Do current customers receive ongoing special treatment? This doesn’t have to be discounts or coupons. It can simply be a dedicated email campaign with exclusive insider tips and copy that explains why they are receiving this as an expression of gratitude for buying from you. Make sure you deliver true value here or they will feel like they received a digital white elephant gift.
- What are you doing for those that love you? Invite your “evangelists” – those that sing your praises – into your product development mix. Ask them why they love you and focus exclusively on what you can be doing better to build better products or experiences. Build these relationships and you’ll eventually have a volunteer sales force spreading the word on your behalf.
- Do they get insider access? Exclusivity is a powerful motivator. We all want to feel part on some level as part of the cool kids club. Pre-releasing or giving insider access makes these current customers feel vested in your company’s success. They’ll stick up and defend you online in forums. On blogs. On social media. They want to see you succeed because they are part of the club. When the chips are down they come to your aide.
- Why did you leave? Strive to get in touch with those who have dropped off or have quit purchasing. Offer a simple gift card in exchange for their time to collect their feedback. This can sting a bit but sometimes the truth hurts. If you are bleeding customers at a growing rate, you must get to the root cause on why Retention is failing.
Key takeaway: In your quest to produce growth, don’t neglect those that are already on board. Brainstorm ways you can make them feel special and prove how much you appreciate their attention or business. Focusing on Retention can be one of the most economical and yet powerful ways to grow positive word of mouth and build brand momentum.