Q&A With Industry Expert Jacqui Genow
A smart holiday marketing strategy works overtime to attract new customers from Halloween through the end of the year. But if you stop there, you may not be getting the most out of your marketing investment. Make sure you’re also thinking ahead to the strategies that encourage those customers to return once the holidays are over.
In the following Q&A, we asked Jacqui Genow, a Marketing Consultant who helps small businesses develop brands and increase new customers, what small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need to know about using retention marketing to turn holiday customers into year-long customers.
ON THE EVOLUTION OF CUSTOMER RETENTION AND ADVERTISING CHANNELS
Cox Media (CM): How has customer retention changed since the advent of mobile, social and other channels?
Jacqui Genow (JG): Retention used to be primarily handled by customer service departments and sales teams, either in person or over the phone. With technology, especially social media, there are so many more touch points where brands can interact with customers. It’s no longer just about customer support calls. Every employee is now a brand representative.
CM: Yes, and that means you should empower those employees to communicate the brand effectively via mobile, online and social media as well as in person.
CM: You say that retention marketing has become more critical, but also easier than ever. Tell us about that.
JG: We’ve started referencing “shiny object syndrome” lately. It’s something we may laugh off, but the results are no joke for businesses. Not only are there more choices, but it’s easier than ever to find alternative solutions. With a few clicks, customers can find a new service provider down the street or on the other side of the globe. So once you have a customer, it’s vitally important to keep them satisfied. Many businesses miss the boat on this, focusing so much time on acquiring new customers that they forget about maintaining the relationships with those they already have.
CM: Right. Geotargeting is one great way to maintain those relationships with customers who’ve recently made their first purchase from you,
JG: Yes, and social media supports your ability to build relationships with recently acquired customers.
ON CUSTOMER RETENTION CHALLENGES OF SMBS
CM: What are the core challenges facing SMBs when it comes to retaining customers? Is it more difficult to stand out?
JG: SMBs have an advantage over larger corporations when it comes to retention marketing. I recently had a conversation with someone from a big box retailer who talked about the misalignment between corporate and what’s actually happening with employees when it comes to engagement via social channels, because they haven’t set a social strategy and figured out how to communicate expectations to their in-store staff. When you have a smaller team, it’s much easier to communicate goals and ensure that everyone is speaking from the same brand position.
ON THE POWER OF MOBILE AND SOCIAL WITH CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
CM: How can SMBs combine the power of mobile and social to create a comprehensive retention marketing strategy that builds long-term customer relationships?
JG: Get social. I’m surprised at how many small businesses aren’t harnessing the power of social media. Twitter is a great platform. Follow your customers, use listening tools to see what your community is saying about your product and your brand, follow what’s trending in your industry, and then engage. Respond to people’s questions and complaints. (It’s better to get into the details of a complaint offline.) Congratulate clients on their successes, and share their news.
CM: And of course, this is a great time to send special offers and alerts to customers who opted in to receive text messages when they visited you during the holidays.
Click here to download our checklist of “8 Tips to Turn Happy Holiday Customers into Loyal Customers All Year Long.” You can read more of Jacqui Genow’s insights in her blog here and follow her on Twitter here.
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