Getting new clientele on the books should always be one of brands’ top goals, but 2014 might be the first time online businesses devote more resources to retaining existing customers, rather than finding new prospects. According to a study by BIA/Kelsey and Manta, 62 percent of marketers plan to spend a greater portion of their marketing budgets on tools and campaigns that keep their clients in the fold.
Building relationships = keeping business?
As Brafton reported, it’s a lot easier to make money when you’re targeting past clients, rather than new customers. In fact, existing customers give companies success rates between 60 and 70 percent, while deals are closed with leads between 5 and 20 percent of the time. So it’s no wonder brands want to hold onto what they’ve got – and potentially make an upsell.
The kerfuffle surrounding Amazon Prime’s price hike demonstrated social marketing isn’t just a brand awareness tool – it’s a way to maintain dialogue with customers to keep them from bolting at the first sign of an unpopular policy. BIA/Kelsey and Manta’s study found the most popular tool for customer retention strategies in 2014 appears to be Facebook, with 52.1 percent of marketers citing it as the best customer loyalty channel.
Social media communities are good for business
Organic Facebook visibility is dropping, and the network is encouraging paid advertisement. This week, the official FB blog announced that ads would be more prominent in users’ News Feeds. This is a fine way to get new business, but it also means sharing organic content on the platform may be less successful than in the past.
That being said, past customers who already know and Like businesses online can purposefully go to a brand page to voice concerns and view content. This makes Facebook an excellent community tool for staying in touch with regular customers and sharing information with repeat clients.
Twitter, email and other channels might naturally become the focus of prospecting campaigns. Email is already more effective – perhaps 40 times better – at garnering new business. Social media networks are diversifying in their strengths anyways. Google+ gives an SEO boost while upping engagement for its growing user base, Pinterest appeals to B2C ecommerce shoppers and LinkedIn helps B2B professionals connect. Facebook is potentially becoming one of the better methods for retaining customers, so brands should take note and adjust their social strategies accordingly.