11 Tips for Retaining Customers for Life
You already know that it’s far easier to sell to a customer you already have, than it is to get a new customer.
Then again, it can sometimes be easier to get a new customer than to retain the old ones, depending upon the mistakes you’re making. But if you can avoid the mistakes and do things right the first time, your job will be that much easier and customers will stick with you through thick and thin.
Here’s how to hook those customers you’ve worked so hard to win over, so they become loyal fans and die-hard buyers for life.
1: Get Their Email Addresses
I’m sure you’re already doing this, right? But just in case you’re not, capture your customers’ email addresses through any means possible, including bribes (known as lead magnets.)
Then stay in touch via email, keeping them updated on new products, showing them how to get the most out of the products they’ve purchased, sending special tips and gifts and discounts, and basically staying in their level of awareness until they are ready to make their next purchase.
2: Share Their Values
Being generic milk toast is not going to cut it these days. You’ve got to have a personality in your marketing as well as sharing your values to attract customers who feel the same way or look at the world through the same lens as you do.
According to one study, 64% of respondents said they continue to patronize the same businesses in part because of shared values. Tell them what you stand for and let your fans come forth and follow you and your brand.
3: Use Social Proof
Always, always, always be collecting customer testimonials and stories from your customers of how your products have improved their lives.
Social proof is perhaps the very best way for new prospects to learn about your products and services because it breaks down sales barriers and almost instantly takes you from unknown to trusted expert.
4: Provide Awesome Customer Service
This one is so basic that we shouldn’t need to say it. Then again, maybe we better. When a paying customer writes to you with a question, complaint or even suggestion, ANSWER them. It doesn’t much matter if it’s you or your virtual assistant, so long as they hear back from you and get awesome service.
Is there a problem? Fix it. It doesn’t matter if the problem happened because of the customer’s mistake; fix it anyway.
Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you with a clearly displayed email address, phone number and social media account. Wow them by going above and beyond. And never, ever get into a conflict of any kind on social media with a disgruntled customer.
Fix the problem beyond the customer’s expectation and you’ll never have to worry about legitimate negative word-of-mouth.
5: Be Transparent
Is the product not going to ship on time? Is there a problem or some sort of bad news? Did you get sick and can’t do the live training?
Be transparent and tell your customers what’s happening. Everyone knows that stuff happens, and by keeping your customers in the loop you’ll also be keeping your customers happy.
6: Create a Tribe
More than just a random jumble of customers, you want to create a tribe with a real sense of community. Apple’s products are not necessarily better than others, but because of the sense of being a part of the tribe, they enjoy extremely loyal followers who will stand in lines for hours to pay princely sums for products with the Apple name.
Ask your customers to share stories, testimonials and pictures of themselves using your products. Give your tribe a name, as well as a name for members of the tribe.
Encourage your customers to act as your own brand ambassadors on social media and let them feel like they are part of a community of like-minded people.
7: Exceed All Expectations
You’ve heard the term, “Under promise, over deliver.” Strive to always exceed expectations. If you’re selling an info product, include a special unadvertised bonus. If you’re answering a customer service email, reply back in 2 hours instead of the stated 24 hours. If you’re offering a service, offer more service than you advertised.
Find small but meaningful ways to exceed the expectations of your customers and they’ll be happy to buy from you again and even tell their story on social media.
8: Be Painfully Honest
I say ‘painfully,’ because sometimes this hurts. But if you made a mistake, own up to it immediately and then correct it.
If you’re called out on social media for making a mistake, don’t get sensitive about it. Own up to the mistake by taking full responsibility and correct it immediately.
Does your product have a shortcoming? Admit it and then find a way to fix it.
“It’s been pointed out to me that I forgot to cover ‘how to set up your payment system’ in the course. For everyone who has sent me a message about this, you’re right. I totally forgot to cover this crucial step of the process, and that’s why I’m recording a brand new video that answers all your questions about taking payments in your new business. Thank you everyone for letting me know about this omission. I’ll be sending the video out to you tomorrow morning, so please watch for it.”
See how easy that is?
9: Be the Expert
You can be a sales person or you can be an expert. Frankly, being an expert will get you many more sales than simply being the sales person.
Let’s say someone wants to purchase a course on how to successfully publish on Kindle. If you’re simply putting your sales letter out there for your course, you’ll get a few sales.
But if you’re also teaching and answering questions through blog posts, social media posts and webinars, people will get a chance to see that you really are the expert.
Now making sales to both new and established customers gets a whole lot easier.
10: Make Your Content Interesting
You might be able to grab the first sale by simply stating facts, but to keep customers interested and reading your content and buying more of your products, you’re going to have to be interesting, too.
Think of dating – anyone might be enamored of you on the first date (or the first sale.) But if they realize you’re boring, they’re soon going to tire of you and move on.
However, if you’re interesting, they’ll want to keep seeing you (and buying your products.)
11: Establish an Insider’s Club
This is a simple concept that can dramatically increase sales to existing customers.
Once someone makes a purchase, they are now in your insider’s club. From that day forward, they get discounts on every product you offer. It could be as small as 10% or perhaps as high as 50% or more – it’s up to you.
The benefits here are:
First, they feel like they are part of the ‘in’ group or tribe, and they stay tuned to your emails and offers because of it.
Second, knowing they’ll get a discount on future products can incentivize them to make that first purchase.
Third, they’re more likely to purchase from you than from an affiliate.
Fourth, you can offer your new products to your insider’s club members first to get testimonials which you’ll use when you launch to the general public.
Fifth, those insider’s often make great affiliates and brand advocates.
All 11 of these tips are dynamite for customer retention, but did you notice the last one? It’s especially potent and done correctly, it can grow your business exponentially with only a very little bit of extra work on your part.