Customer retention should be a primary focus for all online businesses. Unfortunately, many online marketers overlook this important activity in an endless quest for more traffic and new customers.

But the truth is that an existing customer is more likely to be your best buyer. In fact, studies have shown that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. So how do you retain those happy 20% and make them feel valued? The answer is by speaking their language – that is, understanding their needs in relation to your niche or industry so that they feel understood, not just talked at or to.

Brand Loyalty

Many businesses sign people up for email lists and loyalty programs, but rarely follow up as much as they should. This is a shame, because they really do want to hear from you – if your messaging is relevant to them. Creating high quality information and great offers that make them feel valued can stimulate sales more than thousands of automated social media messages cranked out by a bot.

Branding as a Shortcut

Buying by the brand is a shortcut for a lot of people, an almost automatic purchase that they think very little about and are not usually too price sensitive about. They know what they want and they will pay to get it. This is because they have tried other brands but prefer, for example, Hellmann’s mayo to Miracle Whip and would never consider buying any other brand. It is of course a matter of personal taste.

It can be difficult to get people to buy a different brand. This is why the Sunday papers are full of coupons, to try to get people to buy something new. The coupon lowers the price and makes the purchase less of a risk.

The Emotional Connection

But people also have an emotional connection to brands. Emotions enter into purchasing decisions a lot more than most marketers might think. Studies have shown that consumers buy based on emotion, and then try to justify their choice with logic, not the other way around.

Choice Support

The emotions that caused a person to buy in the first place can keep them coming back for more, a phenomenon known as choice support. It triggers people to become repeat customers, because once they have purchased from you, they will continue to do so to “prove” they made the right choice in the first place. If your marketing messages reinforce their choice support by speaking their language, you can retain your customers easily.

Knowing their “pain points,” that is, what they struggle with most in relation to your niche, helps them feel understood, and as if your products are really designed for them (which they should be). Asking for feedback such as reviews, testimonials and survey response will reinforce the idea that you care. Them seeing their reviews posted, or your new product being the one they voted as their first choice in your survey, would also indicate that you’re speaking the same language.

Showing the Customer They Are Valued

Email marketing list subscribers should be treated like the valuable customers and prospects they are. Reward them for being on your list with various items that show you care, including:

  • Surprise gifts
  • Thank You Cards, send a hand written thank you card.
  • Perks like exclusive members-only content, discounts and offers
  • Invitations to create user-generated content, such as guest blogging
  • Great bonus items with each package, which can be sent a day or two after their purchase
  • Responsive customer service
  • A detailed FAQ page
  • Access to you personally, such as on webinars or in a closed Facebook group

All of these will strongly influence your customers to be loyal to you because they create the perception that you care about them.

Customer Retention: Speak Their Language
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