Digital marketing via a website and social media is one of the most cost effective ways to cultivate an audience, which makes it ideal for small businesses with a limited marketing budget. But even though digital marketing is so cost effective, business owners – especially those seeking local customers – need to maximize and optimize their online strategy.
Churn and turnover are a part of any business, but content marketing can help alleviate excessive churn rates to retain more customers. After all, it takes a lot of work to acquire a customer, and after the customer has finally been persuaded to take action, it only makes sense to maintain the relationship between your business and customers to earn repeat purchases.
Hook Visitors with a Content Series
One of the chief aims of any successful content marketing strategy should be to provide something of value to your customers for free (education, recommendations, how-to content, maintenance tips, etc.). But it's one thing to offer a visitor something of value once, and a completely different matter to keep them coming back for more.
If you have been able to successfully earn the credibility of an authority figure in your industry, one of the best ways to retain customers is to keep them coming back for more content. As such, it only makes sense to build a narrative around a series. For instance, instead of making one-off videos related to your product or industry, create a series of videos that the user can subscribe to.
This way, you'll catch their attention through marketing channels like YouTube each time you post new content. But this strategy isn't only limited to videos. It is applicable to just about any content medium imaginable, including podcasts as well as blog posts.
Reward Long Time and High Value Customers with Special Offers
Another way to retain customers is to implement some sort of loyalty program. The possibilities are endless, and could include everything from access to exclusive content to special savings promotions. However, I would advise you to be a little more creative than the hackneyed (yet tried and true) punch-card-style loyalty program.
I've seen some websites and YouTube series offer to enter their most loyal customers into a drawing or raffle for free merchandise as well as electronics (branded headphones, tablets, t-shirts, etc.). The type of reward really depends on the demographics of your audience and the industry your in, but there are plenty of ways to give back to customers, such as the following:
Exclusive discounts and special rates for valued long term customers
A chance to appear on a YouTube channel via a pre-recorded video or live Skype chats
Build Your Subscriber List to Retain Customers
To build a list or not to build list? That's not the question. Just about every website should be building a list of customer email addresses to engage in direct email marketing, with few exceptions. If a user was engaged enough to surrender their precious email address, you can (and should) use direct email marketing to inform customers of new content and offers.
It's yet another way to reduce churn by contacting the customer after the initial sale. While it's true that email marketing isn't a medium with the highest click through rate (CTR), it is still an effective way to repeatedly reach out to your audience to cultivate repeat customers. Just make sure you give them a way to opt out!
Voting Promotions and Requests Opinions
Social media has given anyone with Internet access a voice among friends and followers, and good marketers can use that to their advantage. Most people with a social media account love to make their opinions heard, which opens doors for small businesses to retain customers by establishing a personal connection with their audiences.
Many businesses have turned to social media to ask their followers to vote on various promotions. For example, a business that's about to come out with a new product might ask users to vote on which new potential product version they find most appealing. A prime example is candy or soda brands inviting users to vote on which flavor they would like to be created next.
Not only is this a great way to test the market before launching a new product, it's also a way to engage customers to increase retention. These types of events keep your business in the forefront of visitors' minds and empower them to feel as though they have a direct influence on the outcome of a new product.
Blank-Of-The-Day Types of Content
Human beings thrive on cycles and repetition. It's true – we are certainly creatures of habit, and many websites have been able to cultivate massive audiences and reduce churn by introducing a content schedule. The human need for structure and order can be witnessed on any social media channel. A prime example includes Facebook users posting old pictures of themselves on “Throwback Thursday.”
As a business owner, you can participate in these types of events by posting old pictures of your business, such as a picture from the day your doors first opened. If your business occupies an old building, you could use it as an opportunity to show local pride by posting decades (or even centuries) old picture of historic buildings, which is a great way for local boutique businesses and restaurants in historic local community downtown locations.
The idea is to marry an industry or business related theme with a time, day, month, season, or other type of cycle. Yet again, you are only limited by the boundaries of your imagination.
Perhaps a hair products business that targets male customers could introduce “Manscape Mondays” (the alliteration isn't a necessity) to highlight how its products improve customer's hair styles. This type of content is also an opportunity to highlight positive customer reviews.
Keeping users engaged over time is an effective way to make sure you don't fade from the forefront of your audience's minds.
It takes a lot of work to warm up a cold lead and convert a visitor to a customer. After all the time and energy spent reaching your target audience, it only makes sense to try to retain that customer. Use these tips to help reduce churn so your audience doesn't stagnate.