Customer Retention Management – How to Keep Customers Coming Back

Keep Customers Coming Back

We discussed in a recent post how daily deal sites help drive both customers and business, but the real challenge is getting those new customers to remain customers and keep coming back. If you’re an online business it’s up to you to provide not only a great first impression, but continued positive experiences that will keep your clientele loyal.

Below are just a few ideas to help get you started. We’ve tried to include things that are fairly inexpensive (keeping costs down is a big priority when you’re a small business on a budget, or you’re just getting started, or you’re hesitant to spend a lot on an idea that’s unproven). Keep in mind that many times it’s a matter of trial-and-error, and what’s going to work best for your business may not necessarily work for someone else’s.

Tailor Customer Communication & Support

When a customer makes his or her first purchase, it’s not a bad idea to follow-up with a phone call and/or email to offer up help or answer any outstanding questions. Keep track of your customers (the date of their first purchase, the types of products they are buying, how frequently they make purchases, how often they need assistance) and check in with them periodically. Schedule your outreach for times that make sense – when you unveil a new product, our on the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase.

Customer Spotlights

Ask some of your more loyal customers if you can feature them in a “customer spotlight,” which you’ll post on your site, across social media, and maybe even in an email newsletter. There are many different ways that this can be done- in a Q&A format, video submission, or blog post. Sweeten the deal and reward them for their help. Begin slowly, with one or two spotlights a month. We guarantee that within time your customers will begin asking you to be included (instead of you reaching out to them).

Incentivize

Loyalty and referral programs are great to get customers to stick with you because there is something in it for them. This is going to vary from business to business, but create an incentive program that works with what you’re selling. Buy nine, get the tenth one free, tiered discounts, and/or freebies will all encourage repeat purchases. Tweak these based on your different customers (see “tailor customer communication & support” above).

Social Media & Email

Stay active and engaged both on social media and on email. Post frequently and give updates, send out weekly/bi-weekly/monthly email newsletters. Vary your content so that you’re not repeating the same things over and over again – conduct polls, asks questions, run little contests and giveaways. Respond quickly to questions and feedback. Let you’re customers know that you’re there for them!

These are just a few of many tips that your business can use to keep customers coming back.

7-Step ‘Small Business’ Website Checklist

Having a website has become a necessity for any business’s overall marketing and growth strategy. It has also become common for sites to have attractive and interactive styles that encourage people to buy into what a business is selling. Take a look at the list below for ideas to create a successful website:
 

1. Appealing Heading & Logo

 
Keep your logo simple and to the point. If you’re resource-constrained and are unable to hire a designer, make sure you keep your header’s design consistent with the rest of your site. Don’t use ‘flash’ technology as it has become outdated and doesn’t work on many smartphones. This means keeping your heading static so it stands out on your homepage.
 

2. Simple Navigation

 
If you decide to keep your navigation bar at the top of your homepage, make sure it stays that way across your website. Readers want an easy-to-read navigation bar so they can easily search through your siteDrop-down menus for different pages are a great way to keep your navigation bar organized and neat.
 

3. Opt-In Offer

 
Pop-up forms that give site visitors a great introductory offer will incentivize them to return. This is also a way to get customers to give you their email addresses to receive future offers. If you’re a yoga instructor who wants to create a website for your business, share your tips and tricks through an e-book. It’s an easy way to promote yourself through health tips, etc. If you’re a small boutique owner who wants to reach a broader audience, offer new customers 25% off their first online purchase. These two examples are easy to implement and help personalize your website.
 

4. Conversion Focused Pages

 
Sign-up pages, webinars, and focused call-to-action text encourage visitors to come back regularly. Any of these three techniques will engage users with content-rich information. Actively monitoring whether sign-up pages versus webinars produce better results will also allow you to rotate these techniques to see which engages users best.
 

5. Blog Section

 
A blog is a great way to discuss what your business is all about and it allows you to build a personality that readers can relate to. Write about your experiences as a small business owner and as an entrepreneur. Build a community of like-minded bloggers by actively searching for blogs that relate to your product or service. Connect with those bloggers and share your business with them. You’ll be surprised to find how many small business owners and entrepreneurs want to engage and share their ideas!
 

6. Social Media Integration

 
If this isn’t an obvious tip, it should be. By integrating your social media pages to your website’s homepage, you’re showing new visitors how many people are interested in your site. It helps customers share your website on their Facebook or Twitter pages in real-time and the best part is that it’s free!
 

7. Contact Information

 
Even if you don’t own a storefront, it’s always a good idea to share contact information with your customers. This gives your business identity and makes customers feel secure knowing they can contact a real person if they have questions or concerns. If you do have a local business, make sure you share your store hours, a map, and even directions to easily find your business.
 
We hope you find these tips and tricks valuable! If you have any that we’ve missed, please share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
 

PPC on Social Media Platforms: Comparing Your Options

By now, most of us are familiar with Google Adwords and its massive hold on PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. But did you know that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also have their own PPC programs? Broadening your ability to target your social media ads to specific audiences can be easily achieved if you’re armed with the right knowledge and a good game plan.

Social Media Management

Tailored ads on social media platforms are a relatively inexpensive, low-risk way to drive new and repeat visitors to your site. But before deciding on which social media route to go, it’s worth asking yourself – who am I going after? Targeting the right demographic will be crucial to the success of your PPC campaign.

According to the Pew Research Center, here’s a brief breakdown of who’s using social media:

Age: Around 83% of 18-29-year-olds use social media, followed by 30 to 49-year-olds (73%).
Education: Social media usage spans across all education levels, with 65% of users holding a college degree or higher.
Gender: Approximately 71% of all women engage in social media, compared to 62% of men.
Location: People living in urban areas are slightly more engaged (70%) than people in suburban areas (67%).
Glancing at these numbers, there is huge potential to reach a wide audience through PPC on social media platforms.

Your Options:

The most extensively used and the most popular (not unexpected since it is the most well-known social network) is Facebook. A great option if you’re looking to reach a significant audience across multiple demographics, or a smaller, more segmented audience. Pay for impressions (CPM) or for clicks (CPC) and set a minimum budget as low as one dollar per day. Facebook is a good choice for advertisers who want a large reach on a small budget, a more specialized reach on a large budget, or anywhere in between. Plus, Facebook’s extensive help center leverages you with the tools you need to successfully create and manage your ads.

Slightly more expensive than Facebook, Twitter offers both sponsored tweets and sponsored hashtags for advertisers. But don’t let the price tag deter you – Twitter’s concise format and fast-paced model is perfect for campaigns that promote a limited-time offer or hot, new product. Quickly build buzz via Twitter with strategically placed sponsored content. Similar to Facebook, Twitter’s help center answers most questions about the strategy that will be best for you.

If you hadn’t thought of it before, you should consider LinkedIn as a place to target business professionals and/or specific industries. LinkedIn is perfect if you offer B2B or employment services or products. With a minimum daily budget of about $10, this is an affordable option with the ability to reach an audience that may not be actively engaged on more of the mainstream social channels.

Test and compare each platform to determine which network works well for you. This may result in advertising across multiple channels or sticking to just one. Run campaigns simultaneously or consecutively across each platform (tweaking content and budget as you see fit), and see which one performs the best. Take the knowledge you learn and develop a plan, optimizing future campaigns so that they perform even better.

Instagram and Your Small Business

Instagram is a photo-sharing social network that has grown to be increasingly popular, particularly among younger generations. Compared to other social networks, Instagram may appear to have limited potential due to its heavy focus on beautiful images, few video capabilities, and users preferring little to no text. The truth is, though, that these restrictions make Instagram the perfect place to showcase your business.

 

Meant for “quick” consumption while scrolling through the feed, Instagram posts are precise and to the point. You won’t find ten-minute videos or rambling walls of text on this social network. Instead, visually appealing and instantly gratifying posts rule supreme. Ready to start your small business’ Instagram profile? Follow these beginner tips to get the most out of your Instagram presence.

 

Let your audience know who you are. First and foremost, add your company’s URL to your page’s description. Should a user stumble upon your profile and decide to explore further, they have your website in an easy, accessible spot. This also helps with your page’s credibility. A short description of your company or your company’s tagline in the bio wouldn’t hurt either.

 

Showcase your products and your company culture in your posts. Your products are the stars of your company and also happen to be some of the best content for Instagram. If you think your product isn’t interesting enough, think again. Get creative like Post-it does on their account. Their products are sticky notes and office supplies. When was the last time you got excited about your office supplies? Post-it excites and inspires followers every day, creating a real brand connection. Don’t have a tangible product (like us here at Domain.com)? There’s still a ton of content to be posted! From weekend trips to daily office life, you can always find something interesting, exciting, or beautiful to share. A quick word of warning about your products and Instagram: this is not the social media network to actively sell or pitch your product. Instagram is about building a community and connections. If you push your product too hard, followers will abandon your page. Instead of selling, find ways to build your company’s personality and brand.

 

Share user-generated content and interact with them. Followers are sometimes the best content creators and can come in handy when you’re out of ideas. Sharing follower content or liking a photo shows users that you value them, are interested in how your brand influences their lives, and appreciate their business. For the most part, users enjoy having their content highlighted with a shout-out and tag, but always ask permission before you repost. Don’t be scared to engage in posts that have nothing to do with your business either. Commenting on a photo of someone’s vacation helps your company look genuine and human.

 

Use text overlays when necessary. Have a message to communicate and want it to stand out? Text overlays are your answer. Text overlays add to the visual aspect of your post, grab users’ attention while scrolling through their feed and make your message the focal point. There’s no guarantee a user will read the text below your post on Instagram, but they will see the text if it’s in your post. Use this technique sparingly, though. Remember that Instagram is a visual social network.

 

Utilize hashtags! Similar to Twitter, Instagram content is categorized using hashtags. Many hashtags are able to make the crossover from Twitter to Instagram and vice versa, helping with brand consistency across networks. Take advantage of trending hashtags when possible to put your post in front of a larger audience. Further, hashtags are a great way to attract new followers to your profile. The more hashtags you use, the more likely it is you’ll gain more followers.

 

Be consistent. One of the hardest aspects of Instagram isn’t choosing a filter. It’s gaining followers. Using a handful of hashtags on a post isn’t enough. You will need to consistently post a few times every week. You’ll eventually find a schedule that works for your business, but it’s necessary you stay on top of your Instagram efforts to see results.

 

Don’t think only women are on Instagram. In the United States, around 50% of users are men [1]. This means that almost any product, brand, or business can find its audience on Instagram.

 

Instagram is one of the more creative social networks, so it is important to have fun with your content. Embrace your creativity and always have your camera ready to ensure a constant stream of intriguing, visually appealing content. Once you get the hang of it, Instagram should become one of the more fun social networks your small business is on.

Automating Social Media Marketing with Hootsuite

Social media marketing is a full-time job, and if you’re like us, you need the right tools to help automate some of the more repetitive tasks. As you might have guessed (from the title of this post), we’re talking about one of our favorite social media management systems: HootSuite Enterprise.

HootSuite’s user interface takes the form of a dashboard and supports social network integrations for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, WordPress, etc. (Wikipedia). The platform also provides custom analytics, message management, and a user-friendly mobile app to help teams stay connected at all times. HootSuite’s plans and pricing vary depending on the features needed. Individuals and small businesses can use the basic plan for free, whereas larger businesses with multiple social media channels, which need more in-depth analytics and scheduling capabilities, might be more interested in HootSuite Enterprise.

If your business has a strong presence across multiple social media channels, having a plan in place ahead of time allows your marketing team to gauge real-time reactions. Once you are ready to execute your social media marketing plan, you can take advantage of HootSuite’s easy to use the platform through the various techniques we’ll explain below:

Social Media Support

HootSuite supports multiple Facebook profiles and pages, along with multiple Twitter accounts. It works for small businesses as well as larger companies that might have different subsidiary brands under their umbrellas. The basic service is free and users can upgrade to premium accounts based on their needs.

Team members can schedule weekly reports through the platform, which provides custom analytics on how posts are performing. These reports are emailed to team members, which is a handy feature to reference when trying to understand where your social media traffic is coming from.

Hootsuite Mobile

Hootsuite’s mobile app is convenient and easy to use. It’s available on IOS and Android, making it accessible to most smartphones. However, the mobile app has a few limitations- it only supports Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter accounts, personal LinkedIn accounts, and Foursquare.

The app is helpful when it comes to receiving notifications on user activity for Facebook and Twitter accounts. If a customer has a sales question, comment, or support issue, it’s helpful to get this information in real-time.

How We Use Hootsuite

Domain.com schedules posts through HootSuite to send to Facebook and Twitter, two of our main marketing channels. The Auto Scheduler is very handy when we have weekly deals, coupons, giveaways, or challenges that we want to share with both new and existing customers. It’s important to note the limitation with the bulk scheduler. Because Microsoft Excel doesn’t integrate well with HootSuite, bulk uploading of posts must be done manually. This is something to keep in mind if you have multiple social brands on multiple social platforms.

With minimal limitations, HootSuite serves its purpose as a social media management platform. It provides easier management of our brand’s social accounts, schedules our posts at the click of a button, and has built-in real-time notifications. HootSuite is a great tool for any business or individual looking to organize the more repetitive tasks on social media.

Your New Year’s Resolution: Starting Your Own Business

Did you know that 45% of Americans usually make a New Year’s Resolution every year? That’s over 143.5 million people! These people are making their resolutions with good reason. January 1st is often viewed as the best time to make a resolution- to do something different, exciting, or to self-improve.

Unfortunately, more than half of New Year’s Resolutions fade away as the months go on, but don’t let this statistic discourage you. After all, everyone has to start his journey somewhere. Why not use the beginning of 2022 as a fresh start? The top ten resolutions are what you would expect: attempting to lose weight, get organized, and live life to the fullest. But there’s one resolution that didn’t make the cut- becoming an entrepreneur. We believe that you should take that leap and start that business as your New Year’s Resolution. We encourage aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to declare 2022 the year they make their dream business ventures a reality.

Starting a small business will not be easy, but the benefits of doing so can be very rewarding. You probably have a million ideas, thoughts, and fears running through your head. Don’t worry, though! We’ve created a basic step-by-step guide for you to follow throughout 2022.

Make the commitment!

The first step is often the hardest and most critical step. Decide that this is the year you’re going to pursue your business venture. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with all the details right away. Instead, start small. Brainstorm and begin to sort out your business ideas. Most importantly, make the promise to yourself that you will make it happen. Starting a new business will be challenging. Before you’re in too deep, make a list of all the reasons why you’re starting the business so you can empower yourself when times get tough.

Determine your business.

Take all your brainstorming and turn it into a single idea. Get all your basics sorted out: what the product or service is, who you think your target audience is, and where you want to sell your product. Then start to question what your challenges and setbacks could be. Document all of this in the rough draft of a business plan so you can stay on track during the next step.

Research, research, research.

Now that you have a preliminary business plan, start researching. Do not skip this step! It’s impossible to successfully move forward without knowing the landscape of your industry. What should you be researching? At the minimum, you should look into:

  • Potential competitors
  • Viability of your industry and its regulations
  • All aspects of your market and target audience
  • Product research, including whether your product is in demand or fulfills an unmet need, necessary production equipment, and initial inventory investments
  • Finances, including start-up costs, availability of business loans or investors, and the state of the economy
  • Lifestyle changes for you as an entrepreneur

Once your research is completed, you should have a clear picture of your new business. You will be able to fully understand what your product is, who your target audience is how to reach them, and what your financials should look like. From here, you will be able to make a formal and reliable business plan.

This step may make or break your business idea. Don’t continue on if the results of your research aren’t promising. Entrepreneurs and small business owners need to take risks in order to reach success but trust your gut instinct. If there are too many red flags, go back to step one and try a new idea.

A quick disclaimer for when you think your business plan is “finished”: a business set on growing never stops researching for new innovations or shifts in demand. Just because you researched once doesn’t mean you should never research again!

Fund your business.

If you completed your research and are moving forward with your new business, the next step is securing funding. You should have explored your options in the research phase, but funding sources can include a business loan, investors, or using your own personal savings. Review all your options along with the pros and cons of each. Every business will have a different funding strategy. Choose the strategy that works best for you and your business.

Get ready to launch!

Finalize all the details so you can open for business. This includes building inventory and finding retail space. Develop your brand so you can start producing marketing materials. Set up your social media accounts and, most importantly, get a website! Choose a . COM domain name or explore your nTLD options, such as.CLUB, DESIGN, or even geo-domains like. The US. Social media and a branded website are relatively easy ways to build hype around your opening. Spread these links around your network and begin advertising to your target audience. Throw a Grand Opening event to formally announce that you’re ready for business.

Build your brand and grow your business.

Now that (mostly) everything is established and open, you’ll need to continue to build your brand. This involves tweaking customer service operations, establishing loyalty reward programs, and other marketing initiatives that provide value to your customers. The more value you provide to your customers, the more they will value your business in return. This is how you foster long-lasting and profitable relationships. Expand your network and explore new opportunities to grow the size and scope of your business. If you find yourself in awe of your accomplishments in this step, congratulations! Your business is in motion and you’re living your dream.

Becoming a business owner maybe your New Year’s Resolution for 2022, but don’t panic if you’re still working on researching or securing funding well into 2023. This is a basic guide, so each step has hidden questions and undertakings that will pop up. Launching a business with a solid foundation takes time. You’ll never launch a business, though, if you don’t make that commitment on January 1st. Take the leap of faith for 2022. Make it the founding year of your business.