Search Engine Land recently ran a nice article on the 5 Important Trends Affecting the Local, Social, and Mobile Industries. One of the things that jumped out while reading this article was the section on shifting from acquisition to retention.
This prompted some digging on various ways that local SEO consultants could help small business owners actually retain customers, not just get them. Here are ten ways your local SEO consultant can help you.
Establish a Regular Newsletter
E-mail marketing is a great customer retention tool if it is used correctly. Your Local SEO consultant can help you turn your campaign from a haphazard collection of buying pleas to a real tool that customers will look forward to receiving.
For example, the consultant can help you customize the content to become important to your customers. For example, if you’re a heating and cooling contractor your January newsletter could cover ways to locate expensive air leaks in the home. Your July issue could cover how to increase natural air flow in your home just as the summer heat is making such a topic relevant and useful.
Develop Strategies for Gathering Customer Feedback
In a recent post I covered how a simple follow-up e-mail could help you get more reviews. However, these reviews don’t just help you push up your rankings and make more sales.
When customers leave it is often because they believe they aren’t getting good service. Creating an effective strategy for soliciting honest customer feedback means you hear about problems and can respond to problems more quickly, ensuring a high level of service that keeps customers coming back for more.
Develop Loyalty Programs
Some small businesses struggle with loyalty programs. However, they can be as simple as a great offer sent to customers through the existing e-mail newsletter.
If you are a gutter contractor you might think about offering a heavy discount on regular gutter cleaning services. If you’re a driveway contractor you might offer customers the same sorts of discounts on driveway re-seals. Think of ways that you can make regular maintenance more pleasant and affordable for customers so that they get a longer lifespan out of the items they bought from you in the first place.
Help Craft an Effective Welcome Campaign
When it comes to your e-mail newsletter your welcome letter is probably more important than any other e-mail you might send. It sets the tone for future e-mails and determines whether or not customers will still be listening when you send out your tips 6 months from now.
There’s definitely an art to crafting these kinds of e-mails. They start simply though: by thanking the customer for choosing your company.
Customers have a myriad of choices, including doing nothing at all. It’s always nice to be conscious of that fact.
Talk to Lost and Inactive Customers
Your e-mail list shouldn’t just cater to the fully engaged, loyal customers. If possible you should create a list that helps you cater to lost customers and inactive customers, too.
It could be as simple as sending out an e-mail to customers you haven’t seen in 6 months to say “Hey, we miss you.” It could also involve posting a survey on your website that asks customers how you might improve.
Create Content that Makes an Impact
It’s always nice to be able to give more than you get. It’s also nice to give customers a reason to visit your website again and again. A local SEO consultant can typically help you out with some blogging services to keep your website looking fresh and new.
A Local SEO consultant can also help you put together some additional special reports or free resources that really help your target customers. If they learn that this content will be available on a regular basis they’ll come back again and again.
Promote Your Customers
The online world has become increasingly cooperative. People get the most help when they help others.
If your small business serves other small businesses then you have a unique opportunity. Your Local SEO consultant could, for example, help you create a “This is the face of an ABC Plumbing Customer” video campaign.
Everyone does testimonials, but you don’t have to follow the pack. Instead you could invite the owner of each company who has worked with you to spend 2-3 minutes talking about his or her business. He never has to talk about yours: it’s evident he used the business and liked it by virtue of simply being there.
Then you’re not just the company that fixed XYZ Consulting Group’s toilets. You’re the company that has contributed to XYZ’s success. You’re now in a relationship, a partnership, with that company, one that will typically lead to that company staying with you over the long haul.
Develop Awards Programs
Awards programs are extremely effective. Everyone loves bragging rights.
Whether it’s ABC Lawn Company’s Most Creative Yard Awards or the ABC Plumbing Company’s Excellence in Community Service award you can bet that the winners will feel a real sense of goodwill when you offer it. They’ll also post it on their websites, mention it to their friends, talk about it on Facebook, and mention your company every single time they do it.
Develop A System for Suggesting Additional Products or Services
Did your customer last come into your dentist’s office for a tooth cleaning? It probably makes sense to suggest a teeth whitening service too.
Suggesting additional products or services isn’t pushy, it’s helpful. That’s why the model has been so enormously successful on Amazon.com. eBay has now adopted the same model.
If customers can schedule the additional service or buy the additional product right online, at your website, then you’ve won an even greater part of the battle for customer retention.
Remember, it is much easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to sell to a new customer. It’s also less expensive. Seize every edge when it comes to using your local SEO consultant and internet marketing services to keep every customer you can.