Is acquiring new customers better than retaining existing ones?

Putting this question in different contexts will give us different answers. If a company is in its early start-up stage, then customer acquisition will be their most priority concern.

However, customer retention is a much more lucrative path for a business’s sustainable growth in the long run. So why should we need to focus on customer retention and incorporate it with the business’s marketing strategy?

Here, I compiled a list of 6 practical examples of customer retention that can work with most businesses to keep their current customers engaged and happy.

Let’s get started!

Why does customer retention matter?

First thing’s first!

For ones who don’t know, customer retention, as its most basic, is the act of keeping existing customers engaged with a brand. 

Its purpose is to build a long-lasting relationship with current customers to continue buying products from that business, leading to increased sales.

And that’s just the surface of customer retention. The benefits of it to businesses don’t stop at driving sales only. The best customer retention tactics can turn one-time purchase buyers into the most loyal customers, and higher are brand ambassadors.

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Looking at those statistics below, apparently, focusing on loyal customers is always a smart investment when it comes to sustainable growth:

  • 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of the existing customers
  • The cost of recruiting new customers will be 5X more than retaining existing ones
  • A 5% increase in customer retention drive 25% in profit or even more 
  • Retaining customers by 2% can lower costs by as much as 10%

If a customer is an essential asset of a company, then customer retention strategies turn them into the most competitive advantage a business can own.

Once you understand the indispensable role of customer retention for a business’s success, let’s have a more in-depth look at 6 practical examples of customer retention that you can implement at your company.

Best 6 examples of customer retention for your business

1. Follow-up more than one (Chris Spooner) 

The newsletter is one of the most cost-effective and straightforward ways that several businesses use to retain their customers. And follow-up more than one is the key. 

Usually, after the first purchase, businesses can get that customer’s email address, especially when it comes to online shopping. Via those collected data, companies can build an email list for their retargeting strategy. 

And “follow-up more than one” is the tactic that should never be left out on email marketing to retain customers. It reminds customers of your brand every time they open their inbox. 

Though it’s not a new tactic, not any company can make use of its benefits.

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Chris Spooner is an excellent example of using the “follow-up than one” tactic on his subscribers. It’s a website that does business via selling multiple graphic tutorials. 

Have a look at the number of emails I received in September as one of his subscribers. The latest email I got is on 23rd September.  

That’s 8 emails in a month, meaning average 2 emails per week. Probably too much? 

Chris Spooner knows exactly how to sell and create a good impression on his audience.

  • Out of 8, only 2 are promotional emails (the one on 2nd and 16th September)
  •  2 aims at premium member’s benefits to receiving discounts or free download (on 4th and 18th)
  • Half of the newsletters focus on delivering valuable information relevant to his customers (from inspirational Christmas collection to free design intrusion video)

Things we can learn from him:

  • Avoid sending promotional emails with high frequency (consider sending only 25% emails in the total emails sent per month) 
  • The time waiting between 2 emails should range from 3 to 5 days 
  • Focus on email delivering additional value to the readers rather than promotional ones
  • Make sure the content is always relevant to the customers’ interest and concerns 
  • Segment your email lists to send personalized newsletters

Just keep in mind that, if you want to create a long relationship with the customers, give them things that they find helpful and valuable first.  

2. Reward loyal customers (Amazon Prime)

Customers’ loyalty is any business’s ultimate goal. But it’s not something that comes for free.

No doubt that loyalty can be earned when businesses offer customers high-quality service and dedicated support. However, most customers will expect more than that. To keep being engaged with a brand, they need an incentive. 

Amazon Prime will be a great illustration of how powerful the loyalty program can be. Have a look at the below statistic, their success is undeniable: 

  • Has over 150 million Prime members around the world by the end of December 2019
  • Increase 26% to &75.5 billion in sales revenue in the first quarter of 2020
  • 20% of Prime member shop on Amazon a few times per week, with 7% saying that they did it on an (almost) daily basis

Prime is how they differentiate themselves from other competitors and entice customers to buy products through Amazon exclusively. The program covers several types of services, from free two-day (or even faster) shipping to music and book. 

Things we can learn from Amazon’s Prime:

  • Your loyalty program’s objectives should be customer-centric. Make a win-win relationship with the customer and create them an exceptional experience
  • Focus more on customers instead of promoting products or services
  • Leverage data to have a deep understanding of customer’s expectations, then use a retention program to deliver what they desire, not the things you have
  • Don’t waste your business’s resources and focus on bringing the best value to only your right loyal customers. If with Amazon Prime, customers pay a subscription for exclusive privileges, you can try something else like asking them to scan a card or downloading an app, etc.)

Rewarding users is an easy way to increase customer retention and say “thank you” for their time and money spent engaging with your brand.

3. Corporate social responsibility (TOMS)

In some exceptional cases, a brand can inspire loyalty not through tactics and system, but through what they stand for. 

TOMS is a handiwork of Blacke Mycoskie, a young entrepreneur whose business model puts a new wave on how modern businesses can corporate social responsibility. 

The ways TOMS incorporate social responsibility into their business are:

  • Do the “One for One” policy. Give one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair of shoes they sell
  • Partner with several non-governmental and other non-profit organizations to demonstrate ethical behavior
  • Stand out and fights for human rights, combat bullying, and so forth

What they did is build their entire business model around turning the world into a better place. As modern consumers, we are more concerned about our buying habits’ altruistic and environmental effects beyond consumption. 

That’s why a company that cares about those problems tends to have a high reputation and receive better concern from average consumers. 

Things we can learn from TOMS:

  • Find something that your customers care about and positioning your brand to it
  • Attach a meaningful story to your brand mission and communicate your values clearly for the customer to understand and able to love it

4. Offer personalized product recommendations (Amazon)

75% of digital-savvy customers say that they expect a personalized shopping experience. That’s also the reason why product recommendation is used widely in the e-commerce industry. 

Based on buyer data, businesses can learn about their customers’ wants and needs. Thanks to advanced technology, collecting and analyzing data from the consumers are much more accessible. Companies today can take advantage of that information to entice customers to come back and rebuy from them.

Amazon is an excellent example of using their customer insights to create a list of product recommendations that they might be interested in. This tactic’s mechanism is based on the customer’s past shopping activity (bought items, clicks, etc.).

And if you don’t know, 35% of Amazon’s revenue comes from its recommendation engine.

Things we can learn from Amazon’s product recommendation engine:

  • Personalize product recommendation based on customer’s browsing habits and web behavior
  • Display the item that have been purchased together in the past to increase the average order value through up-sells and cross-sells
  • Make the name of your recommendation widget most effective as it is a clue to customers the reason to show up and inspire them to click on
  • Using real-time recommendations to deliver the most convenience and satisfaction when customers are browsing
  • Send personalized recommendation email to suggest your current customers about the new product list that they might be interested in
  • Display your recommended products with its reviews on your promotional emails as social proof to boost your sales

5. Reward referrals (Evernote)

The most effective form of advertising sometimes isn’t your own. In fact, customers are more likely to trust others’ opinions like their family, friends, and especially other consumers more than what the sellers say.

And that’s where referrals come in. Rewards make your customers return to your brand, but they can also be used as a tool to acquire new customers. 

It’s a great idea to have a referral program that rewards customers for suggesting their friends and family to your business. It can make up a win-win relationship, which is beneficial to both businesses and their existing customers.

Look at how Evernote does their referral program to get more sales. They attract their referrals via compelling reward – the free trial of Premium for inviting a required number of friends 

Things we can learn from Evernote’s referral program:

  • Your rewards worth your their time and effort
  • Create a noticeable presence so that customers can find your referral program
  • Integrate your referral program with popular social media networks and make the sharing process of your brand as easier as possible 

6. Utilize thank-you emails (Allbirds)

Thanks words may seem like a simple thing, but it matters to your customers when you show your appreciation to every smallest support that you receive from them.

The most common time to send a thank you email is right after a purchase is made. However, there are several times for businesses to say thank you to their current customers:

  • After a purchase is made 
  • When your business hit a milestone (such as a company’s anniversary or achievements)
  • Send when the customers hit a milestone (used for loyalty members)
  • At the end of a product’s life

Saying thank you is the most simple customer retention technique, but an effective one to enhance your brand’s customer experience

Have a look at how Allbirds deliver their thanks message in the confirmation email. Instead of receiving a boring receipt, what customers see is a warming thank-you message. 

Tips to make your thank you email most effective on customer retention:

  • Keep your thank you emails simple and short. Customers will not read everything you write on emails if they are too long, so avoid complex messages
  • For the confirmation email, consider sending them some suggestion that they might be interested in, such as a discount for further purchase going under the thanks words
  • Recommend them to connect with your brand on social media 
  • Ask buyers for feedback after purchasing 
  • Give your current customers a list of offer with the product photos so that they can view it without being directed to another web

It’s your turn!

Building a successful business isn’t only about attracting new customers. It is worth investing in your existing customers rather than wasting your efforts on nailing down new customers. 

Take action on these tips for improving your business’s customer retention rates. 


Author bio

As a content executive at Avada Commerce, Binh understands the value of content marketing lies in the engagement between the customers and companies. Her wish is to bring a unique voice, different perspectives, and new light for every audience. She’s also a cat-lover and a person who cares about the environment.