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A Checklist to Improve Customer Retention Using Inbound Marketing

By John McTigueNov 9, 2011

Let's face it, your customers have a lot of choices these days, and thanks to inbound marketing by your competitors, they know about them. How can you hang on to your customers in these challenging times? Check in periodically? Put some FAQ's and how-to's on your website? No, you need to do a lot more than that, and it starts on day 1 when the sale is made. Don't forget, you have a great toolbox in inbound marketing to help you retain your customers.

Why do customers stay with you?

  1. customer retention through inbound marketing is like a group hugIn general, they are happy with your product or service.
  2. They feel connected and supported. Issues get resolved quickly and customer service is polite and helpful.
  3. Customers feel that the product is constantly improving or the service is showing sustained, positive results.
  4. They feel that you are leading the way and ahead of the competition.
  5. They don't see the value in quitting or switching.

Here's a checklist to retain more customers and reduce churn via inbound marketing

  • Stay Connected by putting the right tools in place - you need closed loop marketing, i.e. a direct connection between a good CRM system and your inbound marketing lead generation tools. This enables your sales and marketing team to monitor customer communications, progress, support issues and milestones, such as trial expirations and renewal dates.
  • Stay Connected by reaching out early and often - schedule regular review meetings to answer questions and provide best practices to improve performance. Send montly newsletters with product/service updates, new content, new personnel. Let them know that you are growing better as well as bigger.
  • Be available online and offline - make sure that your customer service "lines" are open and people can either submit a support ticket or reach a human being to resolve issues and provide advice. You don't necessarily need to be open 24/7, but be transparent in your hours and make sure your customers know when and how they can reach you.
  • Leverage social media - your support team should have a Twitter account that is monitored at least during business hours, preferably more. Set up hash tags for your different products or service lines, and publish them on your support channels. Respond quickly to all inquiries, even if it means referring them to a support page. Do the same thing with Facebook and Google+.
  • Work the channels constantly - to stay ahead of your competitors in the "attention wars". This means consistently good content published often. It means participating in forums, chats and regularly commenting on blog posts. Offer guest posting on your blog and seek guest posts on influencer blogs. Look for opportunities to syndicate your content. By doing all of this you stay "top of mind" with your own clients while you are attracting new ones.
  • Track your retention rates - inbound marketing isn't just about traffic and leads, it's also about retention. Track your customers through their interactions with your website, blog and content marketing efforts. Use advanced marketing analytics to track them and reach out to them via behavior driven communications. Identify problems early - for example negative comments made in social media or blogs. Reach out to them directly, but privately, to address their issues.

Be the most responsive kid on the block

By making customer retention as important as customer acquisition, you benefit from enhanced customer lifetime value, increased referrals and reduced customer replacement costs. By using inbound marketing for both new sales and retained sales, you benefit from using one set of resources for two important business goals. You can beat the competition just by establishing yourself as the most responsive, most agile option among the many that customers have.

Photo credit: CarbonNYC

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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