Most marketing firms focus on things like lead generation, brand recognition and conversions.
These are all very good numbers. If your branding or content marketing partner is boosting your numbers in any of these categories, they’re earning their fees.
But one of area of the business that is frequently overlooked is retention.
How do you keep the clients you already have for LONGER, increasing their value. Inarguably, this is MUCH easier than going out and finding new clients every 2-3 months when someone moves on.
As a business owner with a number of month-to-month clients, I tackle this question a lot, always looking for ways to extend the duration of a contract and ensure my clients stay happy as long as possible.
Here are just a few of the things I have found to work like gangbusters to keep people on board:
- Make Them Feel Like a Member of the Team – Speak in the plural, reminding people that you are invested in their success. Bring them in on your strategy meetings, get their feedback and offer suggestions in a way that is respectful but insightful. Remember who you are working with and what they expect – your expertise.
- Ask for Feedback and Reviews Early and Often – As soon as you finish even a small early project, ask for feedback and reviews. Get a testimonial, get a review on Google Places, and ask for a survey evaluating your services. Create a sense of ownership in your customers and give them a reason to want to contact you again in the future.
- Get Referrals As Often As Possible – When someone refers a friend or colleague to a business, they WANT that business to succeed. They want to validate the referral they made, so they will be that much more likely to hire you again, and to refer more people.
- Thank Them for Choosing You – Make your customers feel special. Send them holiday gifts, cards on service anniversaries, thank you notes with discount codes, and loyalty programs that they can enter and save money with.
- Create Content for Clients Too – Most content I see being put out, even by smart content-focused businesses, is for prospects. Create a certain amount of content for the people who have already hired you. Show them how to use your product or service, answer common questions, and be a partner in their success.
- Speak to Every Client Often – Make sure you never go more than three weeks without taking to your clients, even if there are no active orders. If you are a plumber or HVAC service company, get people on an email list to keep the cost of these communications down. If you offer a product or service that can be reordered at any time, followup after 3-4 weeks of silence by phone or email just to say hi. Facebook, email, Twitter and your blog make this constant multi-touch contact much easier too.
These are things I have done for a long time and we have a very high retention and recurring client rate because of it. More importantly, I feel like we’re a true partner in the success of our clients – not just another hire and fire marketing firm that does a few things and moves on.
If you can do the same for your clients and customers, whatever industry you are in, you can create true evangelists – people who will follow your success and feel like they are part of it.
That sense of ownership makes them more loyal than you can possibly imagine and will make client retention so much easier as a result.
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