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By John Brackett, founder of Smash Balloon. Smash Balloon provides social media feed plug-ins for WordPress.

Customer retention is one of the most important factors you must consider as a small business owner. Getting new customers is a great feeling, but plenty of advantages come with retaining people who’ve already made a purchase on your website.

Repeat customers are more likely to do the following:

• Spend more per order (increased average order value)

• Leave testimonials on your website and social media

• Subscribe to other marketing channels (social media, email, etc.)

The average retention rate varies by industry. On the high end, media and professional services see an average rate of 84%. Travel and hospitality are on the lower end of the spectrum and retain about 55% of their customers.

In other words, if you’re not trying to keep existing customers invested in your brand, you could miss out on a significant chunk of potential sales and engagement.

My goal is to help you avoid this situation. Today, I’ll share a few tips you can use to improve your retention rate and save more lost sales.

Deliver on your promises.

The first way you can improve your retention rate is simply by delivering on your promises. As business owners and marketers, we are tasked with convincing customers that they need our products or services.

We get this message across through our blog posts, paid advertisements, social media posts and other community interactions. But if you promise your brand can do things it’s not capable of doing, you will see more users churn.

In this case, churn is the opposite of retention. Retention represents how many customers you kept after a predetermined time, and churn is how many discontinued their service. If you over-deliver on your promise, the opposite may become true. Customers will stick with your brand despite a rising sea of competitors because you went above and beyond and delivered on your promises.

Start a loyalty program.

A loyalty program can also help you convince customers to return for multiple orders. We encourage all new customers to sign up for our marketing and loyalty emails so they can get rewarded for shopping with our business.

The type of reward you choose can vary greatly depending on your resources and product availability. Businesses offer discounts, reward points and gifts to win loyalty and improve retention.

A surefire way to convince customers to join your loyalty program is to give cash back on each order. For example, if someone spends $100 on your site, they get 10% of that back in store credit.


This system ensures that customers always have a little “bonus money” they can use on their next order. We saw repeat sales skyrocket after implementing this system on one of our websites.

Make it easy to stay in touch.

A common mistake I see businesses make is they only have one main communication channel. I’m here to tell you that this is one of the quickest ways to make customers leave. You have to develop a diverse marketing and communication strategy that encompasses your website, emails and social media.

Imagine you decided to buy a new tech product. Instead of joining their email list, you just follow them on social media. If something comes up, you figure it will be easy to reach them there. Only you soon find out they don’t have an active customer support team on social media.

So you go back to their website only to discover that you need to sign in and email a support ticket. I don’t know about you, but my guess is a lot of people would feel like they wasted a ton of time to get an answer to a simple question.

Don’t put your customers in this situation. At the very least, you should have options to talk to your customers through live chat on your website and direct messages on social media. These extra communication channels will make it easier for customers to stay in touch, which can result in sales and traffic.

Remind users that they abandoned their cart.

There’s nothing worse than seeing customers abandon their shopping carts. These users were close to becoming customers but changed their minds for some reason. A shocking number of business owners would chalk up their losses and move on.

Ignoring the problem is not an actionable solution.

Instead, you should develop a cart abandonment strategy. Create an email series and on-screen pop-ups to reach users who put things in their cart but leave before they check out.

You won’t convince everyone to follow through on their order, but you can get enough people on board to make this strategy worth your time. I suggest offering these users exclusive discounts they can use if they finalize their purchase from the link in your email.

Fight for customer success.

Finally, let’s talk about fighting for customer success. After a user buys something from your site, do you check in and see how they feel about their purchase? What about a little message to make sure they don’t have any questions or concerns?

The truth is, most people won’t contact you if they are unhappy with their order or have questions about your product. You have to proactively reach out to your customers if you want answers.

Reaching out to your customers is a great way to improve your existing products and help customers in the event of a misunderstanding. For example, if a user can’t get a feature to work, you can put them on the right path. When customers see that you’re willing to help them find success with your product, they are more likely to stick with your business.

If you fight for customer success and implement a few other strategies mentioned today, you should have no problem boosting your retention rate and improving customer satisfaction.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.


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