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Customer acquisition can be one of the largest yet most significant expenses businesses absorb on an ongoing basis.
The ability to consistently bring new clients into the fold can produce a meaningful return on investment, depending on the cost valuation of marketing plus product or service sales. Many companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, per year to keep the acquisition cycle churning month after month.
While bringing in new customers has a place in every business model, competition and the vast array of options in many industries makes it increasingly more difficult to retain customers for long periods of time. Customer value over an extended period yields seven times more than customer acquisition. This means most businesses should focus as much, if not more, attention toward how to maintain their current client base, rather than constantly seeking out more clients.
To keep customers loyal to a particular brand, there must be a tremendous amount of value placed on the relationship. Gone are the days where customers simply enjoyed the ownership of a new purchase. Many customers today are seeking exclusivity, engagement, loyalty, and communication.
Here are just a few tips on how to maintain customers for a lifetime.
1. Engage on Social Media
It’s not enough to simply present your company online anymore—you must engage. Customers seek out online channels in order to have their voices heard with regard to personal experiences with brands they love. That commentary should be shared and appreciated, if the experience went well, or if the experience was less than exceptional but was acknowledged and corrected . Customers love to know that they are being heard and valued, and there is no better way to make that happen than through the vastness of social media.
2. Create Loyalty Programs
Everywhere I go now, there is some type of loyalty program offering—from grocery chains to clothing stores. These programs are a great way to build a community of devoted customers. Loyalty programs offer rewards, discounts, appreciation, and gratitude for repeat business, which in turn gives the customer validation for acquiring more goods and services. Everyone, no matter who they are, loves to be appreciated, and when you invest in those you value, it will return to you in countless ways.
3. Be More Convenient Than Your Competitors
Most customers have limited time and attention. There are scores of companies who are in business simply to be a model of convenience, despite the cost. You want to give your customers the opportunity to experience your goods/services in an adaptable, user-friendly environment. Be sure to offer online auto-billing, refills, text or email reminders, all of which make the customer experience that much more enriching and enjoyable. Convenience is a key component in winning your customer base over your competitors, even if it’s placed at a higher price point.
The lifetime value of customers is well worth the work in the long run. Just remember that it is far more advantageous to build brand evangelist, than it is to amass new patrons.
Tiffany Fulcher is the CEO and Founder of Momspace an online membership community for entrepreneurial moms who want to become moguls. Learn more about Tiffany via her website at TiffanyFulcher.co and follow her on Twitter @tiffulcher.