Every business owner knows the Golden Rule: It’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than go out and get a new one.
The Rule has been proven by many studies throughout the years, but what the studies don’t tell you is how to actually retain your valuable customers.
Companies that take the time to focus on customer retention — and do it successfully — can keep their bottom line stable while growing their business.
But repeat customers are harder than ever to come by, thanks to competition both offline and online. Customers have plenty of options for most purchases — so how will you keep them from leaving you for someone newer, faster, or cheaper?
Here are 3 unique and creative customer retention ideas to consider:
1. Create and distribute a “Customer Champion Kit”
When your best customers do something worthy — perhaps posting an positive review online, or giving you top marks on a customer feedback survey, or maybe even making a series of regular purchases — you could reward them with a gift package with company-branded items.
You could include company-branded items such as…
- a bumper sticker
- a USB flash drive
- a medication/pill box
- cell phone cover
- reusable shopping bag
- and more
2. Contribute to charities and local organizations on behalf of your customers
Imagine getting a letter or email from a company that you purchase from regularly, saying something like this:
“We bought a commemorative brick on the Children’s Hospital entrance path on your behalf! Please let us know what name(s) you’d like on the brick, and you’ll be recognized for many years to come at this wonderful facility. It’s just one way of showing how much we appreciate your business, AND it’ll help our community — a win-win!”
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a brick — you could do a variety of good deeds in your customers’ names, depending on which charities/organizations you’d like to support. It’s a great way to demonstrate both your gratitude and civic-mindedness!
3. Include your customers in your marketing (Note: Get their permission first!)
If you’re lucky enough to have frequent customers who truly appreciate what you have to offer, it’s worth asking them to help you spread the word! You can feature them in a variety of marketing tactics, both online and in the real world.
Maybe you could post a photo and profile of them on a “Wall of Fame” in your physical location and/or on your website. Or a regular “Customer of the Week” (or Month) feature on your social media accounts. Or a simple flyer would suffice. Of course, you can also compensate them for allowing you to use their name/image with discounts or freebies!
There’s no greater marketing tool than a satisfied customer. If you can successfully integrate them in your marketing efforts — and make it rewarding for them — you’ll be strengthening your business relationship, as well as your bottom line.
Harley David Rubin is a freelance creative director and copywriter who has worked for both ad agencies and corporate marketing departments. Over the past 20+ years, he’s put his talents to work for companies of all sizes, in almost every industry there is — helping them to communicate to their customers and prospects with strategy, creativity and passion. He is also a frequent contributor to TalentZoo.com, an employment/recruitment website for communications