Many of us are guilty of focusing on acquiring new customers via digital channels, and when we have them, taking it for granted that they’ll just come back. But the chances are they wont!

Sure you’ve invested in a winning digital acquisition strategy and driven your customers to you via a paid search campaign, you’ve caught their attention with a beautifully created website and a first class user experience. You’ve even made the checkout super easy and offered free postage! So naturally you’d expect them to come back. But for many sadly this simply isn’t the case.

Acquisition is far more expensive than retention so it makes complete sense to invest in a strategy that reengages your customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Build loyalty

Your business must be reliable and credible, and if you can, go above and beyond the call of duty. Whatever you do don’t make promises that you can’t live up to. It is far better to promise less and deliver more than expected. For example with delivery, you may stipulate a 1 day delivery and failure to meet that will be very disappointing and may well result in customer defection. However, if you offer 3 day delivery and your goods arrive in just 1 day you have exceeded expectations, so it pays to consider where you can exceed customer expectations.

Be customer focused. But don’t just say it – do it and prove it!

Monitor social media for mentions and respond quickly. Hootsuite is a great platform that allows you to manage multiple social platforms in one place including monitoring mentions, retweets, keywords and more. It also allows you to assign a message for a particular team member to deal with.

Show you care even after the purchase. Notification emails to confirm shipping and tracking of delivery are a huge winner. Why not try asking for feedback with a note at the bottom of the email? Even just a simple “Were you happy with your purchase?” and a Yes/No option. If they answer no follow it up. While this comes at a time and management cost, ensuring customer satisfaction helps you to improve your service and build brand loyalty and avoid customer defection.

Re-engage with your customers

Many businesses operate in a fragmented market, especially online, and it is easy for customers to use an alternative company. For example, I always forget which photo printing company I last used because I only print every couple of years. There are several solutions to this that will help your customers to remember your brand. This includes all of the above plus a few digital tools:

  • Google Display advertising is a great tool for remarketing. This platform allows you to place an advert on relevant websites that only shows itself to people who have visited your website previously. For example, you are a photograph print company offering good value prints. You want to remarket to people you know who have used you before so you show them an advert that encourages them to return to your website. This is a very cost effective way to retarget your customers and is generally cheaper per click than running a search campaign.
  • FBX (Facebook Exchange) is similar to Google display ads. FBX is a new way of buying ads on Facebook through the use of real time bidding. Through FBX, you can target your audience on Facebook using data collected outside of Facebook from browsers. For example if a Facebook user has been on your website or viewed products on the internet relating to yours your ad will show on their Facebook page when they log in and view their timeline. Essentially it is like Google Display advertising but on Facebook. And with some 1.31 billion users worldwide this can be a very effective remarketing tool.
  • Email marketing. It is relatively cheap and easy to build up a database of customers who have previously purchased from you and a great opportunity to reach out to them again. Imagine it is January and generally speaking people will have been taking lots of photographs at Christmas time while they enjoy the festivities. Perhaps it is a good time for the print company to send an email to encourage people to print their Christmas photos? A photo book might be a nice memento and why not order several copies to distribute around the family while they are on special offer?!

This blog post goes a small way to helping you drive online customer retention although there are many methods and tricks of the trade. Key things to remember are to exceed your customer expectations and use remarketing tools to revisit existing customers and drive repeat purchases.