A 5 percent increase in customer retention can result in a 25 to 95 percent increase in company profits, Marketing and Selling to the 50+ reports. And one of the best ways to retain customers is to keep in touch with them after the sale.
Here are five ways to communicate with existing clientele long after they’ve made a purchase.
1. Email — Email remains one of the most productive and cost-effective ways to market to customers, notes Arthur Middleton Hughes in a blog post for the Harvard Business Review. But it has to be done correctly. According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report [PDF], only a third of marketers sent emails that contained the four elements of a successful email strategy: relevant content, sent in a timely manner, to a segmented audience, with a clear conversion goal.
2. Phone Calls — Sending email is a quick way to communicate, but picking up the phone can be a better way to build business relationships. By calling people, you’ll not only make more personal connections (which are increasingly rare in today’s high-tech world), but also may be able to gain insight into your customer’s frame of mind by listening to their voice inflections and spontaneous responses.
3. Surveys — Asking for feedback is one of the best ways to stay in touch with customers, because it shows that you care about them. It also can stop small problems from becoming big ones by making you aware of issues you might not have otherwise known about. Here are five things you need to know before you create a survey.
4. Social Media — Social media open up a two-way communication channel that few other marketing methods can. According to Social Media Examiner, you can approach existing customers in two ways: You can use social media to improve your customer service, which has been shown to be invaluable in customer retention. You can also use social media to increase the value of the customer’s experience by offering exclusive sales, timely news, and interactive communication. If you’re not already engaging your customers this way, check out these statistics.
5. Gifts — Everyone loves to get gifts. And when you give gifts to your customers, you’ll express your appreciation for them while achieving your goal of staying in touch. Make sure that the gift is something they’ll use and appreciate, whether you send a holiday present, a note that celebrates their personal accomplishments, or some other token that lets people know that you value their business.