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You Better Be Thinking About Retention Marketing

PostedFebruary 22, 2021

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You know that getting new customers is hard. I know that getting new customers is hard. And on and on and on.


So, why not instead focus on the lovely customer base that’s already been earned and nurtured? This is retention marketing. 


SaaS giant HubSpot defines retention marketing as: “The activities a store uses to increase the likelihood of a customer purchasing again, while focusing on increasing the profitability of each repeat customer.”


Not bad. A little confusing, but not bad. Let’s define it more simply as: A store’s ability to keep proven customers happy and ready to purchase again.

Two Pillars, One Juicy Result

You might still think the only way to grow is by getting new folks onboard to purchase your product or service. And if you do, you are sorely mistaken.

In this brief, beneficial article, we will discuss how a balanced combination of acquisition marketing (getting new folks onboard) and retention marketing (rewarding the folks already onboard) will give you the very best results. 


Infact, these two approaches are forever mingled so to focus only on one would be like hitting a home run and forgetting to run the bases.


One of our kickass partners Smile.io recently published a remarkably useful article on repeat customers. In this article, they found that the average ecommerce shop spends nearly 80% of their marketing budget on acquisition marketing.


Which means these shops are tossing out retention marketing like 2 month-old Cheesecake Factory leftovers from the way way back of the fridge. That’s not a proportionate marketing spend.

Pillar #2: Retention Marketing

Of course, you can’t retain customers until you’ve got them in the first place. Hence, why acquisition marketing is pillar #1. So, if you need some concrete acquisition marketing examples, gently press the down arrow on your keyboard for a couple seconds.


Now, let’s focus on retaining these gracious folks who gave us a shot in the first place.


And these folks are gracious. The same smile.io article from above notes quite surprisingly that for a typical ecommerce shop, 41% of the revenue comes from a puny 8% of its customers. Your handful of super fans are more like ride-or-die loyalists.  


 Smile.IO survey results regarding customer loyalty.Graphic by smile.io



Retention marketing isn’t all that hard. The legwork of getting these customers to purchase once has already been done. Now that the metaphorical ice is broken and you’ve proven your worth, keep them excited about your brand.


Emails, Texts, Rewards!

Communication is key. Use customized email sequences that trigger to start sending after a customer has made their purchase. This keeps them in the loop with sales, updates, news, and new product offerings.


Give these a glance if you need razor sharp, modern emails: Klayvio, Drip, or Shopify Email


Try implementing SMS marketing. With a little thought, you might be able to text customers without pissing them off. SMS communication is emerging as a hugely relevant channel for brands who can pull it off. 


Follow up with customers and politely ask for feedback, then reward them with loyalty points for their next purchase. Other than writing really bangup articles, our friends over at Smile.io also offer a killer rewards program that can be easily plugged into your Shopify store.


Be sure to implement swift simple solutions for customer support. One-on-one attention, smart chat bots, and elegant methods for handling issues can have a pleasant effect on making customers feel valued and taken care of even if something goes awry with their purchase.


The same smile.io article reveals data that after one purchase a customer’s chances of returning is 27%, not horrible. But if a customer returns a second or third time, their chances of coming back launch up to 54%. Hurrah for the loyalists!

Track That Retention!

Once you start reengaging your customers and showing them why they shouldn’t go anywhere else for their needs, then get smart about tracking what worked and what fell flat. 


For your Shopify site, we recommend apps like Retention Optimizer and Retentify.


These bad boys will allow you to set up alerts for abandoned cart recovery, understand customer trends, whip up KPIs that show how your retention is going, and identify loyal customers and ones you might be losing soon if you don’t get their attention. 

Pillar #1: Acquisition Marketing

Need help getting to pillar #2? We got you.


Here’s a handful of common acquisition marketing examples to get the juices flowing and get the customers onboard: 


a referral system, 

customized email campaigns, 

social media promotion, 

interactive content,

SEO ranking and optimization, 

targeted ad campaigns, 

building a community around your brand, 

free trials and incentives.


Build up these two pillars and see enormous customer loyalty and steady growth for months and years to come. Need help implementing this stuff? It can get tricky at times! We’re always here to offer a helping hand.

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