It costs 5X more to get new customers than it does to build lifelong customers.
Can we just sit on that for a moment? 5X more money, 5X more work and a lower conversion rate for someone who Has never purchased from you before.
This is why retaining customers is the most important marketing strategy for your business. So how do you retain your customers? While I’m sure there are a million ways to do this, I’ve based my brand strategy and the strategy of all my clients around 4 main themes.
- Customer Service
Create a Quality Product
It all starts with a quality product. You will never have a returning customer if they don’t love what you are selling. Whether that’s fair trade clothing, sustainable beauty products or a service that supports their health and wellness. It doesn’t matter. Quality needs to be behind the brand. In simplest terms, it needs to do what you say it does.
Invite Your Customers Into The Story
Of course, story would be in the foundations of building lifelong customers. It’s the tale as old as time, literally. For a customer to become a lifeline customers they need to be a part of the story. They are the hero here and you are the Yoda directing them to the final battle where they will receive all the glory. That’s the kind of story they want to be a part of.
As a sustainable brand you have the perfect position for this kind of story. You’re inviting your customers to change the world. To fight fast fashion by buying something that lasts forever. They get to take care of the planet with your zero waste packaging. Maybe you even allow a few lifelong customers come on trips with you to meet the entrepreneurs that make your products around the world.
Your customers came for the quality product, but they stuck around to be a part of this story.
Provide Value To Your Customers
This could be as simple as creating a quality product but in most cases it also means educating your customers. Giving away whatever knowledge you have for free. You want to leave your customers smarter than when you found them, more confident when they walk away, and excited to tell a friend about what they just learned (that’s social currency right there).
Free giveaways, knowledge about your product, how to use it or the history behind it. Support in anything they need even if that has nothing to do with your brand. That’s providing value. And it also leads into my final theme–Customer Service.
The Customer is Always Right
This can be a hard to swallow, mostly because our ego’s get in the way. But when you are truly focused on providing excellent customer service and making sure your customers walk away happy, you’ll agree that the customer is right. But it goes much deeper than that.
In Company of One by Paul Jarvis, he tells the story of a Trader Joe’s. When an elderly man couldn’t get out of his home due to a snowstorm, his out-of-state daughter called around to all the grocery stores trying to find someone who could deliver groceries to him. None of the stores would comply until she got a hold of Trader Joe’s. Like the other stores, Trader Joe’s didn’t actually offer this as an option to their customers, but due to the circumstances, the man who answers the phone said he would take care of it. He took down the address, got the list of groceries, and packed everything up for the elderly man. He even added in a few of his favorite things from Trader Joe’s. A few hours later he called back the daughter and told her that the food was delivered and that they were all squared away. He wouldn’t even take her credit card information to pay for the groceries.
Now that is an amazing story.
How many times do you think that daughter told this story? And now it’s in a published book being told to millions along with being referenced in blog posts like this one.
Amazing customer service and a small cost to the company has lead to die hard customers who tell this over and over again because it’s amazing.
Customer service is one of the biggest ways your customers will talk about your business. When you treat them like people and take care of them, it goes a long way. When you don’t, you’ll hear about it. Whether that’s word of mouth or terrible reviews online, it will always come back to bite you.
How to Retain Your Customers
Create a quality product. Invite your customers in to be a part of the story. Provide value through education and entertainment. Give the best customer service anyone has ever heard of.
It’s simple in words, it’s harder in practice.
But these four steps will help you create lifelong customers and save you 5X’s in cost and time by not having to convert new customers. Actually, you’re lifelong customers will do that work for you!
If you’re looking for more ways you can up level your brand strategy and build lifelong customers, sign up for any of my 1:1 strategy packages. We’ll work together to get clear in your brand and connect with your audience so you can build lifelong customers. Sign up today!