Acquiring new customers can be a tough grind. Part marketing, part sales, part customer relations - and that’s all on top of the work itself. That’s why loyal and returning customers are the gold standard for business owners. They provide a steady stream of work and cashflow security, but can also help grow your business and boost revenue. So, what strategies can you adopt to help improve your customer retention?
Stay front of mind
Staying in touch with your existing customers can be a great way of being present and keeping them up to date on your offerings. Given that on average, folks spend around two hours per day on social media, social channels offer a great opportunity to connect with your customers. Full disclosure though, social is fast-moving and a competitive space. So if you really want to use it to nurture relationships with customers, you’ll need to dedicate the time (and bring the enthusiasm).
Another way to stay connected is to start a regular newsletter. Whether you have a small or larger customer base, a monthly or quarterly newsletter can help you to stay in contact and communicate relevant updates and news with existing, past and even future customers. It’s worth noting that setting up a newsletter will initially call for some elbow grease - but once the process is in place, all you’ll need to do is draft the content and hit send. Did you know about FreeAgent’s newsletter? Join our mailing list for a monthly fill of inspiration and business tips in your inbox.
Motivate with exclusive discounts
Who doesn’t love a great deal? Offering exclusive discounts to your existing customers can give a tempting incentive for customers to spend or hire again. There are countless types of discounts you can offer. For example, 10% off project fees for returning customers, buy one get one half price for repeat orders, 15% off a monthly subscription or a 25% discount on annual contracts. Choose a discount offer that works best for your business and cashflow, but also offers an enticing incentive to your customers.
Reward customer loyalty
If you’re a tea or coffee lover, you may have a multitude of stamp cards in your wallet. There’s something about the incremental satisfaction of a rewards programme that can attract customers to return again and again. They’re also a great way to show appreciation for loyalty. If it makes sense for your business model, consider launching a rewards programme. Oh, and remember that newsletter idea we mentioned? That would be a great way to share and promote a rewards programme.
Physical or virtual stamp cards and point systems are popular options for reward programmes. Alternatively, you might want to combine a rewards programme with earning exclusive discounts. Or, get creative. For example, you could take a more ad hoc approach and delight your customers by sending some branded goodies and a card in the post to thank them for being a valued customer.
Amplify the word of mouth with a referral programme
A referral programme is a win-win as it encourages customer retention and helps you acquire new customers. Similar to a rewards programme, it incentivises customers, but by rewarding them for recommending your business and bringing in new customers. In FreeAgent’s referrals programme, users share a unique referral link. Then, if anyone they refer goes on to subscribe to FreeAgent, they'll both earn 10% off their subscriptions. If you’re looking for more advice on how to set up your own referral programme, check out this helpful guide we created.
Keep the admin to a minimum
Once you have a loyal customer who pays you on a regular basis, it’s worth making the admin of working together as easy as possible (for both of you). Once they’ve signed up for a subscription or agreed a contract, lean on automation to do a lot of the admin for you. With FreeAgent, you can set up recurring invoices, which can be automatically sent to a customer. And you can make the payment process as easy as possible with online payments, including one-click payments or Direct Debits.
However you choose to encourage customer retention and reward loyalty, remember customers choosing to work with or buy from you again is also a testament to the great work that you do - so give yourself a well-earned pat on the back!
FreeAgent is here to help you nail the daily admin for your business. From managing invoicing and expenses, to business insights and even filing tax returns directly to HMRC. But don’t just take our word for it, try it for free with a 30-day trial.