Attracting people to your website is often treated as an isolated objective, whereas it should really be viewed as the start of a journey. A first-time homepage visitor who immediately departs will count towards your unique visits total, but that’s meaningless if they don’t stick around to absorb key messages and add the site to their Favourites list.
Attracting new clients costs five times more than retaining existing ones, according to marketing statistics, while the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is up to ten times higher than selling to a new one. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to achieve these goals. Here are ten key things you can do with your website to increase customer retention:
- Make the site easy to navigate. If people can’t determine what content your website contains from a glance at the navigation menu or headers, they’ll depart without clicking through. A user-friendly interface will encourage them to read on and stay longer.
- Promote new content. First-time visitors need to be incentivised to return. Customer retention isn’t just about a single visit – it involves repeat custom and bookmarked pages. Use blogs, news pages and social media to keep content fresh and topical.
- Answer questions or solve problems. Nobody wants to spend five minutes reading PR puffery about how amazing a brand claims to be. They want solid evidence of your expertise with awards, Q&A sections, downloadable product guides, etc.
- Simplify purchases. Streamlined checkout functionality is vital nowadays, with various payment options and a robust ecommerce interface that securely completes transactions. Boost customer retention with smooth and straightforward transactions.
- Streamline account management. There are loads of ways to do this in order to welcome customers back. Store their card details on file, make curated recommendations, keep them logged in, and allow one-click reorders of frequent-use or short-life items.
- Build communications. Purchases or orders can be the start of a lasting relationship, rather than a one-time deal. Automated order acknowledgements and tracking are vital, but also encourage on-site feedback such as reviews or integrated Twitter feeds.
- Offer deals to existing customers. Target anyone who’s dealt with you before with time-limited discounts, freebies or rewards. Occasional offers can boost customer retention, but don’t overdo the marketing missives and make it easy to unsubscribe.
- Offer existing customers deals for recommending new ones. Build on point 8 by encouraging people to recommend a friend online. It’s worth a substantial discount or gratuity to do this, since word-of-mouth custom is perhaps the most valuable of all.
- Learn from your mistakes. If your customers tell you to do something better (or differently), acknowledge it publicly. Few people expect perfection, but they will respect and trust a brand that openly apologises for failings and strives to do better.