Everyone loves the excitement of starting a business. However, staying in business is where the problem begins. This struggle for survival is real, as a whopping 18% of businesses fail in the first year. At the base of this failure is the inability of businesses to keep and grow customers. Any business that doesn’t prioritize customer retention and growth is setting itself up for failure.
To stay afloat in business, you must put all hands on deck to ensure you get your fair share of customers, retain them and keep working on getting more. Keeping old customers without getting new ones amounts to stagnation, hence the importance of both new and old customers to business growth. Here, you will learn time-tested strategies for retaining and growing your customers.
What is customer acquisition
Customer acquisition is the process of getting new clients or customers for your company. It involves convincing people to buy your product or service. Customer acquisition is about the entire buyer’s journey – when someone becomes a lead and progresses to become a paying customer.
To acquire customers, you need a customer acquisition strategy. This strategy uses a combination of engagement and media tools to gain new clients by targeting and reaching them through customer journeys, both online and offline. A solid customer acquisition strategy must include the following components:
- Setting goals
- Finding leads
- Attracting leads
- Nurturing leads
- Converting them to customers
- Retaining customers
What is customer retention
Customer retention is your ability to turn buyers into repeat customers. It is your way of ensuring you keep satisfying your customers so that they don’t switch to your competitors. To retain your customers, you have to put in place strategies that allow you to keep maintaining and increasing the value you provide.
In addition, you must build and nurture the customer relationship. This involves being genuine, reliable and considerate of your customers. A strong buyer relationship leads to brand loyalty, such that your customers will keep choosing you even when presented with options.
To develop a thriving customer relationship, try these tips:
- Understand your customers’ values
- Communicate efficiently
- Encourage feedback
- Build trust
- Reward loyalty
- Adapt to their pace
- Make your interactions consistent and timely
8 approaches to help you acquire and retain customers
We have established the importance of customer acquisition and retention for business survival and growth. How do you then acquire, retain and keep getting customers in the sea of fierce competitors? Find below surefire ways of achieving these goals.
- Produce quality products
This is the first step in keeping and increasing customers. Regardless of how much you invest in marketing campaigns, if you’re not offering quality products or services, you’re wasting your efforts. Many repeat customers have stated quality products as the main reason for continuing to buy from a brand. Any other customer acquisition and retention strategy is an add-on to quality products. Invest in the production of quality deliverables and watch your customer base grow.
- Offer new customers discounts and incentives
To get customers, you need to entice them. You can do this by offering incentives for new customers alone. When you do this, you give them an opportunity to test your product or service. Chances are, if they like what you’re selling, they’ll continue buying from you. Coupons, trial versions and discounts on a first purchase are ways you can lure newbies into giving you a chance.
- Make sure your onboarding process is solid
The first impression, they say, lasts long. You need to build a solid onboarding experience system for your clients. People always remember their first encounters and these initial experiences shape their perception of a brand, product or service. If you’re going to get people to buy from you, you must put in the work to create a memorable first-time experience for them.
A customer onboarding process is a process a new customer goes through to prepare and begin to use your product. This process encompasses the entire journey of signing up, activating your product and using it for the first time. The main objective of this stage in your customer’s journey is to deliver as much value as possible and encourage them to continue doing business with you.
When you get your onboarding process right, you set a good tone for a continuous relationship with your customers. When you get it wrong, you limit or remove the possibility of a relationship.
- Create great customer experience with POS hardware
If you’re into retailing, one of the best ways to create a good customer experience is by investing in POS hardware. The payment process is one of the most frustrating experiences customers have and it can make them stop doing business with you if not well-managed. This hardware makes the payment process seamless. Lightspeed’s POS hardware for retailers ensures a smooth payment process that lets you give your customers the most pleasant experience.
- Personalize customer experiences
While rolling out generic solutions to all your customers is tempting, avoid the urge. Personalizing each customer’s experience makes them feel special and better-endeared to your brand. This is where the buyer’s persona comes in. Creating personas for the different segments of your clients makes it easy to give them personalized experiences. This personal touch gives you an edge over your competitors, making your customers choose you repeatedly.
- Cultivate good people skills
To get and retain customers, you must invest in excellent customer service and relations. For people to patronize you, they must know, like and trust you. The liking and trusting part is highly determined by your people skills. People skills are skills used to interact and communicate with people efficiently.
One of Maya Angelou’s famous quotes states that people can forget every other thing you do to them, but they’ll never forget the way you make them feel. People skills involve making people feel good about your brand and products. Do well to invest in them.
Here are some people skills you must cultivate to keep and grow your customers.
- Knowledge of your audience
- Listening skills
- Genuine interest in people
- Persuasive skills
- A sense of humor
- Ask for referrals
Referrals are a great way to increase your customer base. However, referrals don’t just occur. They are a result of providing excellent products, services and experiences. No one refers people to a brand with poor-quality products or ill-mannered customer service personnel.
To refer someone to a brand is to be confident the person will get excellent value from such a brand. The point is, focus on delivering quality products or services and the referrals will roll in. However, don’t wait till clients take the initiative to refer your brand to others; take the bold step and ask for it.
If you’re sure you’ve done your best to produce premium products and treat your customers right, you will be confident to ask for a referral. To make this even better, include an incentive for referrals. Additionally, learn the different ways of getting referrals from your customers.
- Study your competitors
A good way to approach customer acquisition and retention is to remember you don’t exist in isolation. You’re not the only brand serving the target market and you can bet your competitors are not resting on their oars. Competitor analysis should not only be done when you’re starting a business, it should be a continuous exercise.
Check out your competitors to see what they’re doing to get and retain their customers and consider trying some of their strategies. Find out what marketing campaigns they’re using. Research the kinds of customers they attract. What are they offering that is different from what you’re offering? What are their customers’ experiences like? How strong is their digital presence? Are they more digitally visible than you? The answers to these questions will help you finetune your marketing strategies and attract more customers.
Ramp up your customer acquisition and retention strategies and witness unprecedented growth
Customer acquisition and retention are the backbones of any successful business. Without them, a company is as good as dead. To ensure your business does not join the statistics of failed ones, step up your game on strategies to acquire and retain clients.
Getting and keeping customers is hard work, but if consistently correctly, the dividends are worthwhile. To keep and increase your customers, produce quality products, offer new customers discounts, have a solid onboarding process, provide great customer experience through POS hardware, personalize customer experiences, develop good people skills, request referrals and study your competitors.
Moyofade Ipadeola is a Content Strategist, UX Writer and Editor. Witty, she loves personal development and helping people grow. Mo, as she’s fondly called, is fascinated by all things tech.