How to be great at targeted messaging for your members

Most fitness businesses are feeling the pinch of higher cost and lower conversions with Facebook ads and YouTube videos. Its been 7 years since Facebook launched custom audiences – The targeting tool that helps you target people based on interests. But organic reach has dropped drastically in the last few years and fewer people are logging into Facebook these days. There has also been a growing distrust with online advertising among users. Brands and businesses have been addicted to social media growth and now its time to break this addiction.

The way to break this addiction is to offer better CX – customer experience, and shift your thinking from advertising to marketing to customer experience.

Customer experience for small business has an online component and offline component. I’m assuming that you have been running a small business for some time and hence you can speak to the offline component of customer experience better than me.

The online component of customer experience requires a commitment to more personalized interactions and messaging. More than selling to a user, you will need to engage with the user in a two-way conversation and provide them value through your marketing content.

How do you do this?

More than a single marketing tool, you need a system where you’re using your customer data to target your members at right moments in their customer journey. You are already collecting all the data you need on the customer on your POS system. What is missing right now is a system to use that data, engage users and reduce your churn.

So how can you drive consistent personalization in an age where you have all the customer data that you need?

Timing is everything

Whether you’re retargeting a member who has not visited the gym in a while or sending someone an upsell message, it’s widely understood that customer data that’s been sitting for too long unattended goes stale. (In fact, a distinguished direct marketer once told me the highest-yielding ROI tactic he’d ever implemented was removing dead people from his company’s mailing list!)

Conversely, while not universally true, it’s very often the case that, the sooner you’re able to act on customer data, the better. Your current problem is that all the customer data sits in your POS or ERP without being touched until you decide to start a marketing campaign manually.

The Gleantap solution

Gleantap integrates with your POS and ERP system and the data on Gleantap gets updated every day. So you can set up an automated campaign on Gleantap and it would get executed when a customer meets the specific conditions that you have set.

For example, if you want to send an up sell message to a member who has checked in for two weeks consistently, you can create an automated campaign that sends your custom message to every member who has checked in for 14 days in a month or 14 days straight.

This way you don’t have to wait for man hours to be freed up to run critical marketing campaigns. You can set it up, automate it and then analyze how your campaign is doing on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

How do I measure the value of automation and integrations?

You can measure the value of these automated campaigns and the integration with your existing systems in two ways:

  1. The response rates and conversion rate of the campaigns that you are running
  2. The value of running campaigns that would not have been possible with such an automated system

The second part is really important because an automated customer engagement platform gives you the power to run interesting campaigns that would not be possible without it. We’ve seen our customers engage with people using fitness tips and suggestions that keep them highly engaged and keeps the brand on top of mind

Top 5 Easy Ways To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing

A lot has been written about the importance of general marketing automation in 2019 but not enough has been written about a marketing channel that is enjoying a revival – Automated text message marketing. When customer attention is short and more personalized messaging is the order of the day, text message marketing has proved to be a reliable channel for many small businesses.

How To Be The Best At Automated Text Message Marketing

These are a few principles to get the best out of text message marketing in 2019.

1. Be compliant to increase conversion rates

It is quite rare that regulations around marketing favour businesses, but this is what has happened in the case of text message marketing.

Text message marketing is a form of permission marketing. The people you are texting are already interested in your business in some way – They may be loyal customers, they may be interested in your content, etc. Permission marketing is more persuasive than most outbound marketing because of the principle of consistency that Robert Cialdini writes in his seminal work that has become the bible for many marketers:

“People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.

Consistency is activated by looking for, and asking for, small initial commitments that can be made. In one famous set of studies, researchers found rather unsurprisingly that very few people would be willing to erect an unsightly wooden board on their front lawn to support a Drive Safely campaign in their neighborhood.

However in a similar neighborhood close by, four times as many homeowners indicated that they would be willing to erect this unsightly billboard. Why? Because ten days previously, they had agreed to place a small postcard in the front window of their homes that signaled their support for a Drive Safely campaign. That small card was the initial commitment that led to a 400% increase in a much bigger but still consistent change.”

By getting permission from users to text them, you are getting a small commitment from them and you can build on this commitment by providing them useful information and tips at the right moment in their customer journey

You must have the permission of users to run a successful text message marketing campaign, apart from being in compliance with local laws and CTIA recommendations. Twilio has an excellent short SMS compliance blog that will help you be on the right side of the law.

2. Understand customer journey and automate text marketing

Understanding the journey of your customer can make your text message marketing more efficient and hands-off. The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.

If you’re in the fitness business, your customer journey would look something like this – A potential member visits your facility, and they leave without making up their mind on joining (ping. At this moment you could use the big TVs at the reception to give them a number to text to if they want to join, along with a clear shortcode to use). Once the member joins you can use text message marketing to prompt them to leave reviews for your business if they have visited for 30 consecutive days. You could automate a text message to send to them if they have not visited for a long time.

If you are a business looking to scale or become sustainable, you want to do text message marketing efficiently – without using a lot of man hours that are better used elsewhere. It is also the kind of job that automation can do better than people. A person would have to sort through different scenarios and shortlist customers while you could just automate that process when you set up text message marketing.

Here’s an excellent blog from SurveyMonkey about how to build a customer journey

Gleeantap makes it easy for you to automate text message marketing and you also get the added advantage of our experience working with 1000s of similar companies. We know what works and what doesn’t, so you can spend less time reinventing the wheel and more time focussing on running your business

automate text message marketing  automate text messages

3. Promote at the right places, in the right moments

“How much should I promote my text message marketing service and the options that my customers have?” is a question that we get a lot, and the answer is that it depends on your customer journey and the type of outbound marketing that you do.

If you have a TV inside a store, it would be a good idea to promote the number to text you on and shortcodes to use for various purposes. For example, if you are a gym you can use it to promote premium plans or limited offers that you are running for which people can sign up for by just texting a shortcode. If you are a restaurant, you can use it to promote remote reservations.

Text Messaging - Referrals Text Messaging - Referrals

In the above use cases, it would also be advantageous for you to have two-way texting. It helps you interact with your customers and provide a better user experience than a bot. It also allows you great flexibility in your responses. Gartner says that about 89% of companies believe that customer experience is as important as other factors in choosing a business

Learn more about how you can take advantage of two-way texting and get more users to visit your store


 Two-way texting - Text Automation

4. Use segmentation to your advantage

Text message marketing has been revived in the last couple of years due to a number of little automation that have made things easier for a business to get started and use it effectively. Segmentation is one of the most important automation in text message marketing.

Imagine being a small business and spending precious man hours segmenting users and figuring out what text messages to send to them. That would be quite a nightmare.

Instead of this, you can segment users based on what part of the customer journey that they are on. If you’re a shoe store, you can segment all users who purchased a pair of shoes from you 12 months ago and target them with a specific message on an offer you’re running. If a customer checked out a specific shoe and left without purchasing, you can send a list of customers an offer on the high demand shoe that they checked out.

In an era where competition from big online retailers are stiff, you can use your smallness to your advantage to be more personal and more targeted with your marketing. It’s not just fancy mobile apps or offers that will bring in customers, text message marketing is also an effective channel in your omnichannel strategy

5. A/B test your campaigns (but be judicious)

A/B testing has been a buzzword in marketing for some time but are you using it properly?

With the availability of better technology and automation, it has become way easier to A/B test your text marketing strategy. This means that you could test a number of different campaigns side to side, but question is, should you be doing that?

A good model to go by when deciding the frequency of text messages is – Will I personally like it if these messages sent to me? Remember all the times you were solicited with offers you had already refused or the time that brand sent you 2 emails per day.

The best way to not bombard your users with text message marketing is to use segment them into as many small units as possible, and run A/B tests on these segments. This way you will be able to run A/B tests concurrently without sending too many messages to the same person.

Automated text message marketing

Text Message Marketing - Still A Reliable Marketing Channel In 2019?

5 years ago, most marketers decided that text message marketing and email marketing are dead. Social media was the new twinkle in every marketer’s eye and we put all the effort into growing our Facebook audience and building followers on Pinterest and Instagram.  In the years that passed by a couple of things have happened that has changed the online marketing landscape.

  1. Organic reach on Facebook has consistently gone down. Gone are the days when you could build a million followers and reach them through quirky FB posts
  2. People are slowly getting tired of online ads. Scams, potential election interference and the sheer creepiness of targeted ads have made people wary of them. 
  3. And most importantly, your customers and potential users don’t have the option to opt out of this barrage of online targeting. Its inescapable and does not provide a good experience for the customer.

Text Message Marketing  – Opt-in and Opt-out anytime

Text message marketing software gives people the power to opt in and opt out of the messages that they get from advertising. The same goes for email marketing. The unsubscribe button is the most powerful tool for the customer right now.

Text message marketing - sms opt-in

The last couple of years have seen the fast growth of email newsletters like Skimm for this reason. People can choose what they want to see and it is easy to opt out of the messages they don’t want to see.

The same thing is happening in Text message marketing. By the law of the land, you are required to ask permission from users before sending them opt-in marketing messages, and you also give users an easy option to opt out of text message marketing. 

With the power of text message marketing comes….

Responsibility of-course.

If you spam users with too many messages, they would unsubscribe. If your messages are not interesting, they would probably unsubscribe. So it’s on you to make sure that you define the right moments to reach out to the user and it is critical that you reach out with the right kind of text messaging. 

These are a couple of things to keep in mind when you invest in text message marketing:

  • Become mindful of the customer journey

All businesses have a different customer journey, For a gym, this would basically entail

The customer joining → the number of times he visits the gym in a week → the customer cancelling / the customer renewing membership.

Text Message Marketing

These are some of the touch points around which you could do text message marketing for small business. Most gyms would do 1 and 3 quite well but miss out on two. Asking the customer for feedback or nudging him to visit the gym if he has missed it for a couple of days are things that may help you avoid cancellation and increase customer retention.

What are the different stages of the customer journey in your business? What are some stages for which most people in your industry don’t do any marketing? Find it and use it to increase growth and retention of your customers

  • Push limited offers for a limited time

Most businesses make the mistake of pushing too many offers or pushing too few offers. If you push too many text message marketing offers, chances are that the customer will get fatigued and stop paying attention to the messages.

The right strategy would be to run limited-time offers 2-3 times in a year or depending on the customer journey in your industry.

For a gym, this would be – Beginning and end of the year where people are motivated to stick to their goals, summertime when customers who have kids have some time for themselves etc. Again, identifying different points in your customer journey becomes the core.Text message marketing has been around for a long time and it feels like it is a getting a new resurgence with better technology that helps you do it faster, cheaper and more efficiently. 

5 More Tips for Skillfully Collecting Customer Feedback

In 2018, the best way to serve your customer base is to find out what their needs are and do your best to provide a valuable solution to those problems. At its core, this is what customer retention marketing is all about. However, without the right tools and tactics for collecting customer feedback, it can be difficult to know what those needs are and the best way of fulfilling them.

Back in January, we put together a post on customer feedback and how to reach your audience in order to gather insight. With this article, we are going to examine 5 more tips for skillfully collecting customer feedback to further round out this incredible important part of the marketing process. Before we begin, let’s first quickly review why customer feedback is so important in the first place.

If you haven’t already read 7 Best Practices for Collecting Customer Feedback, read it here.

Why customer feedback matters

As we mentioned, collecting customer feedback is one of the best ways to understand your audience, but what you might not realize is that there is more to it than that. For a long time in the world of marketing and advertising, brands have tried to build trust with customers through promotions and other gimmicks. However, what we are realizing now is that customers want to be asked about how their experience can be improved.

By simply asking customers their opinions and collecting customer feedback when they provide it, you are establishing a relationship that is beneficial to both parties. The customers are able to receive a better experience from you, the brand, while you are able to better serve your ideal customers. If you can begin collecting customer feedback with this mindset, you will be putting your best foot forward when it comes to both customer experience and service.

Tips and best practices

Now that you have the right mindset for gathering customer insights, let’s go over a few different ways of collecting customer feedback with actionable goals in mind. Although you are attempting to establish a sound relationship, it’s also important to remember why you are requesting feedback in the first place. With this in mind, let’s look at tip #1 that deals with this exact concept.

1. Create surveys with detailed goals in mind

Our first tip for collecting customer feedback is to create your surveys and feedback exercises with specific, detailed goals in mind. Although these are tools that you are using to learn about your audience, you should have a certain level of knowledge going in that can guide your efforts to make sure you are receiving insight that is relevant.

For instance, if your customers are getting stopped up at a particular point in the customer journey, you can tailor the questions around that. This way, instead of being too general or even too specific, you can ask customers how your team is doing on guiding them through the process. This will give far more valuable and actionable items for you to add to your to-do list than a general survey.

2. Make it easy to provide feedback

Another way to collect customer feedback efficiently and with optimal results is to make it easy to provide feedback. While surveys are good, the average response rate for email surveys is roughly 24%, meaning you will need more than just email to get the job done well. Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can do about this.


While email has a notoriously low engagement rate, SMS Marketing boasts a 98% open rate, leading more marketers than ever to use SMS for customer feedback. In fact, you can use marketing automation to set up short surveys with your customers that feel like a conversation rather than a formal interview. Consider using SMS to make this process simpler and faster for your audience.

Comments and reviews

According to Zendesk, 30% of customers share positive reviews via social media, while 63% of consumers read negative reviews via social media. Not only does this show how important it is to stay on top of the comments and reviews you receive, but that you monitor these comments to make sure potential customers aren’t getting bad information on your brand. Customers will use these avenues whether you monitor them or not, so make sure you are on top of it.

3. Offer incentives

Despite your best efforts to reach your customers through mobile marketing and other feedback avenues, sometimes it can be difficult finding the engagement you are looking for. This is where offering incentives to collect the customer feedback you need can be the difference between good data and great data.

However, keep in mind that you don’t want to skew the information you are collecting, so make sure that you aren’t just paying random people to take your survey. Incentives like reward points toward your customer loyalty program are the best way to ensure you are getting helpful feedback from actual customers.

4. Track all customer interactions

Now, so far we have mainly spoken about collecting customer feedback through traditional means, but there is often an untapped way of gathering data on your customers you may not have tried yet: user engagement metrics. By tracking customer behavior, you can actually learn far more than a survey where someone knows they are being asked about your business. Customers may say one thing, but the data will often tell a different story.

The way to get ahead of this is to begin tracking all customer interactions. Everything from session time on your website to abandon cart rates can have open your eyes to areas of improvement for your customers. Don’t forget about these unique ways of collecting customer feedback when starting your campaign.

5. Ask consistently

Finally, our last piece of advice for collecting customer feedback, especially with surveys, is to ask consistently. We mean this in two ways: first, ask repeatedly for customer feedback. Like we mentioned earlier, surveys often have very low response rates, so it may take multiple asks to even reach your customers. But secondly, keep your questions and tone consistent when collecting feedback to get the best possible results.

Which brings us to our final thoughts: Remember why you are collecting feedback in the first place. As a marketer in 2018, it is your job to understand the needs of customers and then find ways to meet those needs with your product or service. Collecting customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to do this, so remember these tips and you will have a much better experience moving forward!

How to Optimize the Customer Journey at Every Step

In today’s competitive market, customers have more choices than ever before. Due to this, keeping prospects engaged through the customer journey all the way to conversion has become more difficult, which is why more brands are choosing to optimize each step of the process. By acting as a helpful guide along the way, you can engage with customers in meaningful ways and create an exceptional customer experience.

With this article, we are going to break down the customer journey and show you how to optimize each part of the process. Our hope is that you will be able to create a well-oiled customer retention machine that brings in new customers and provides value at every point. That being said, let’s first discuss exactly what we mean when we talk about a ‘customer journey.’

customer journey

What is the customer journey?

Put simply, the customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. However, like customer personas and segmentation, this doesn’t need to be a perfect view, but more of a fictional idea that you can then base decisions off of. That being said, both personas and the customer journey should be based on actual data.

Now that you know what the customer journey is, the next step is to begin mapping out each step of the process. As you do this, you will be able to see things from a large perspective and then focus on each area and how you can offer a better customer experience along the way. If it helps to think of the journey as a funnel, that is perfectly fine, as the same rules apply.

With this image in mind, let’s look at the first part of the journey i.e. the top of the funnel.

Establish a robust online presence

The first step in most of your customer’s journeys will be finding your brand through some form of online advertising. In order to cast the widest possible net or have the largest opening to your funnel, establishing a robust online presence will be a necessity. Thankfully, with the wide array of digital marketing channels available, this has never been easier.

Tools such as social media and having a mobile-friendly website will help make sure that you are making yourself easy to find. You can take this a step further by optimizing your branding so that customers know exactly what you provide and don’t have to look far in order to get in touch. Like we mentioned earlier, part of improving the customer journey is being there to guide them through the process.

Use good design to open the door

As you begin to establish yourself online, more customers will begin to interact with your business. This first impression will be vital to earning their interest and keeping them engaged throughout the customer journey, so invest in good design to open this door. According to BCS, a user’s judgement of the credibility of a brand is 75% based upon aesthetic quality, meaning you should be doing everything you can to improve this.

Not only can well-planned design help make the right first impression, but user experience and customer experience are very closely linked. By employing UX design principles across the customer journey, your customers will understand how best to engage with you. This is one of the best assets for you to have when attempting to earn their business.

Plan out touchpoints

So far, we have spoken about ways to bring in more customers through good design and online marketing. However, once they are on the customer journey, you still have work to do in order to move them forward from a prospect into a customer. Along the way, there will be different touchpoints where you can meet and engage your customers. By planning these out early in the process, you can begin to optimize them for the best performance.

For instance, if a customer takes a next step and requests additional information, you can send them a quick SMS message with the exact info they are looking for. This sort of marketing automation can be the difference between a conversion and letting a lead slip through your fingers. Be sure to look into SMS marketing for providing value to your customers efficiently and effectively at every point.

Take advantage of opportunities

Now, once you have begun to plan out these touchpoints and receive interest from your prospects, make sure that you are taking advantage of these opportunities. Marketing, and mobile marketing in particular, is all about providing the right solution to the right people at the right time.

When customers reach out to you, they want you to impress them by meeting their needs in a timely manner. By not pursuing these opportunities, you are shooting yourself in the foot and missing out on potential revenue.

Track everything

Another essential part of optimizing the customer journey is to track everything along the way and then use that data to continuously improve the process. User engagement metrics and analytics will be essential here, as many marketers have to alter their approach once they review how customers actually interact with the brand. This is a perfectly normal part of the journey, so don’t worry, just remember that data-based decisions are always recommended.

Convert and sell

The final step in the process is what the whole customer journey has been building up to: converting and ultimately selling them your product or service. The good part is that if you have already optimized the process, this is simply the next logical step. The problem is that far too often brands fumble the ball right here at the goal line. Our advice is simple: ask them for their business.

Unless you are straightforward in asking that they convert, they likely never will. However, by spending time establishing yourself as a helpful guide, this will come from a place of trust and not appear salesly. Whether you do this through email, over the phone, or through calls-to-action is not necessarily important. You just need to remember to take the chance and ask them to join. If your customer journey is working, they won’t have an issue saying yes.

Final thoughts

As a business owner trying to lay out your customer retention strategy, it can feel as if losing or retaining customers is out of your control. Our hope is that by reading through this guide, you will be able to have a better understanding of both the process and your control over it.

Remember, this is going to be a constant quest to better the experience of your customers, so as long as you are working on it, you are on the right track. Now, what are you waiting for? Start optimizing today!

How User Experience and Customer Experience Go Hand-in-Hand

When you first start to plan any marketing strategy, you often try your best to imagine how your campaign will be received. Questions such as “How will this best reach our target market?” and “What is the best way to get our message across?” will likely be running through your head. Now, in 2018, there are one or two more questions you should be asking, including “What is our user experience like and how can we improve it?”

In this article, we will cover how user experience fits into customer engagement marketing in 2018. Along with that, we will discuss the merits of both UX design and focusing on the customer experience, as well as the differences between these two approaches. By the end, we hope to have guided you through how best to optimize both your user experience as well as the larger customer experience for your audience. This way, you will be well equipped to take on the age of the ‘experience’ that find ourselves in today. Let’s get started.

user experience

The age of the ‘experience’

Over the last few years, companies like Amazon have revolutionize the customer service industry to the point that consumers are now more interested in a positive customer experience with a company than actual products or services. In fact, according to ThinkJar Research, 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience, with the operative word here being ‘guaranteed.’

For years, large brands have been able to get away with the promise of a good user and customer experience without the need for follow-through. Now, with social media and online reviews, brands have to invest in the customer experience in order to stay competitive. Otherwise, their lack of follow-through can end up severely damaging their brand reputation. With this in mind, let’s take a further look at how UX and CX fit together to make this possible.

UX vs. CX: What’s the difference?

Now, if you aren’t already familiar with the differences between UX and CX, User Experience is all about the interactions customers have with your product, while Customer Experience encompasses everything about your relationship with the customer. For instance, if a phone has good UX, then it is easy to use, but good CX would mean that when you call customer service to ask about your phone, that is an easy process as well.

While focusing on the user experience is important, whether you are developing a mobile app or creating a physical product, without the larger context of CX you can only go so far. However, if you can approach the user experience design of your product with knowledge of how it will affect the way customers interact with your brand, you have the chance to stand out from the crowd.

User Experience basics

You may still be wondering how user experience and customer experience work together. In order to better understand this, let’s take at some UX design basics and see how they can be applied to improving the customer experience. Two of the main UX principles are to be contextual and be human. This means that whenever you are developing an experience, you want to walk through how it will affect the user within the context of the situation.

The same goes for planning out the customer experience. From the time that they show interest in your product until you hopefully win their business, you should be thinking: how would I want to be treated? This empathy puts you into the place of the end-user and allows you to tap into what your customers want. That being said, user engagement metrics and other analytics should be used, not just your gut feeling.

Empathy and the end-user

It will be this empathy for your customers that sets you apart from your competition. As more companies invest in customer experiences, those who can provide value to their customers through each interaction with a brand are the ones that will be set apart. Organizations need to begin investing in marketing automation and other programs that seek to make customers’ lives painless and efficient.

Not only that, but once you begin to make customer experience a focus, your audience will come to trust your company. As you develop this trusting relationship, customers will be more willing to share their thoughts with you as well as participate in new programs. By putting them first, you are flipping the paradigm, something they will come to appreciate as they see the value you provide.

Customer experience marketing

In the end, this is what you are aiming for with customer experience marketing: to create an environment where customers want to be a part of your brand. For far too long, companies have been focused on products instead of experiences, but as user experience continues to show customers how much better they can have it, this will continue to change.

For your own company, try to analyze each aspect of your offering and find areas that can be improved. The best time to get started on a strategy like this is right now. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools like SMS marketing now available to you that can be used to optimize the customer experience. Take advantage of these tools whenever you can, that way you can take things into your own hands instead of playing catch-up with your audience.

How to get the most out of both strategies

As we wrap up this article, we wanted to leave you with some final advice on how to get the most out of both user experience and customer experience design. It all begins by taking time to get to know your customer, what they need, what they want, and what the value. Each of these will tell a story, one that you can address on a micro level with UX, and a macro level with CX.

By optimizing, tweaking, and perfecting your customer experience, you are setting out to be the exception. This won’t be easy, but once you start to see how your customer retention efforts are affected, you will see that your investment will be worth it.

7 Best Practices for Improving the Customer Experience

Over the course of the last few years there has been a subtle but prominent shift in the way marketers think about customers. As this shift has occurred, customer retention marketing and customer engagement have gained traction as strategies for improving the customer experience. So much so, that today, customers are more interested in the customer experience that brands provide, even more than the actual product or service.

According to Deloitte, 62% of companies view customer experience delivered by brands as a competitive differentiator. This means that unless you are focusing on the experience of your customers, you could be falling behind or working from a disadvantage.

In order to help you improve the customer experience for your business, we have put together 7 best practices for doing exactly that. With these best practices in mind, you can provide an exceptional experience at every interaction with your customers and keep them around for life. Let’s take a look at exactly how you can do that.

customer experience

1. A customer-first approach

In today’s market, the first step in improving the customer experience is to make sure that you are promoting a customer-first approach and culture at your company. This may sound like the old adage, ‘the customer is always right,’ but in truth putting the customer first doesn’t mean they are always right. It means considering their values, needs, and ideals first as a jumping off point for the rest of the experience.

For some businesses, this will mean looking at user engagement metrics to get a better understanding of their customers before launching a campaign. For others it could mean a complete rework of their current marketing to turn the focus back on the customers. No matter what approach you take, make sure that you are always keeping the customer first.

2. Putting yourself in their shoes

Now, a focus on customers first is nice to say, but until it is put into practice it is essentially meaningless. This is why the first part of your strategy should be putting yourself in the shoes of a customer. By reading through customer feedback or speaking with customers you have a sound relationship with, you can start to create an idea of how they operate and what they need.

Growing up, we were taught the Golden Rule, “to treat others the way you want to be treated.’ A solid foundation for any marketing plan is to take this idea and turn it into a reality. Think to yourself, as a customer, ‘would X appeal to me?’ Whether it does or doesn’t, analyze the ‘why’ of the issue and you will develop a clearer picture of where the customer experience can be optimized.

3. Cover all your bases

Once you have taken time to consider the question of “What value can we provide to our customers?” the next step is to figure out the best way of delivering that value. Some will tell you it is through SMS marketing, others will say email, and still some will mention social media. In reality, the best approach is all of the above, something known to marketers as an omni-channel approach.

While it is true that some methods work better than others, like text marketing’s 95% open rate, the best way to improve the customer experience is by covering all of your bases. In fact, the Aberdeen Group claims that companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.

4. Optimize both sides of the process

So far, we have mainly talked about best practices for putting customers first and thinking about them. However, there should be a good amount of time spent looking at the other side of the process, meaning the people who are responsible for creating a great customer experience. After all, without them, there would likely not be any customers to retain in the first place.

Take for example the Washington Post. When Scot Gillespie, CTO at WashPo, was asked to create a better customer experience across 26 products, he focused just as much on the people behind the process as those experiencing it. What ended up happening was a complete 180 in regards to the Washington Post’s customer experience and the creation of a more satisfied team. Unless you boost your own staff as well as your customers, it will be incredibly difficult to create an optimal customer experience.

5. Collect feedback, always

Once you get started with omni-channel marketing, you need to make sure that you are collecting customer feedback whenever possible. This is important for many different reasons in regards to the customer experience. First, when you are trying to improve your omni-channel marketing, you need metrics to figure out what is and isn’t working.

However, more urgent and vital to the customer experience, you need to create customer feedback loops in order to continue learning from your customers. Unless your audience knows exactly how to get in touch with you and you have a constant way of receiving feedback, you will soon find yourself chasing outdated ideas and trends. Stay on top of things and always be collecting, analyzing, and using data to create a better customer experience.

6. Be proactive instead of reactive

Something you may soon discover after reviewing customer feedback data is common trends that lead to customer churn and user dissatisfaction. Use this as an opportunity to get your customer journey in tip-top shape and take a proactive approach to customer experience instead of a reactive one.

Far too often companies only improve when they receive backlash. By going the extra mile and making changes before a problem arises, you will not only create a better customer experience, but reduce the amount of problems and complains along the way. Customers that start off on the right foot are much more likely to stick around than when you begin the relationship trying to win them back.

7. Under promise and over deliver

Our final best practice for delivering an exceptional customer experience is to under promise and over deliver. While we don’t believe in selling you or your brand short, you should always set realistic expectations for your customers and then try your best to exceed them. Customers will be happy if you meet their expectations, but blown away if you take it one step further.

The value of customer experience in 2018

It is clear from these best practices and general market trends that the value of customer experience has never been higher than in 2018. In fact, according to Gartner, 89% of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience. With this in mind, best practices like the ones we just reviewed can greatly transform a business and set you on the right path toward total customer retention.

The only thing that stands in your way is getting started. As you can tell, most of these best practices have little to no cost associated with them, so you can start employing them today. So, what are you waiting for? Get after it and start creating an amazing customer experience for your audience!  

5 Customer Retention Strategies that Actually Work

Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic shift in both the amount of digital marketing channels as well as level of competition for small to medium sized businesses. With large companies driving prices down and customers having more choices than ever before, it can be difficult to create the right retention strategies to reach your audience and keep them coming back to your business.

As customer engagement and retention professionals, we understand the need for sound retention strategies in our current market. In today’s fast paced economy, you no longer have the luxury of trial-and-error, so you need to know your campaign will work the first time through. This is why we have put together these 5 customer retention strategies that have been proven to actually work and can help you take your retention marketing to a whole new level. Let’s take a look.

retention strategies

Why do we need retention strategies?

Although you may have heard that there is a need for retention strategies, unless your own business has struggled in this regard, it can be hard to comprehend. However, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to this need. For example, only 32% of customers will make a second purchase after one year. That’s two-thirds of your audience that is walking out the door.

On top of that, these customers are actually easier to sell to than first time customers, with some reports claiming it is anywhere from 3 to 12 times simpler to resell existing customers. Additionally, a 5% increase in retention can increase profits by up to 95%. Not only do these stats show the importance of customer retention, but they may even make you wonder why you haven’t been focusing on this before.

Now that you have a better understanding of the need for these retention strategies, let’s look at 5 tactics for improving customer retention and reducing customer churn.  

1. Make a good first impression with onboarding

The first of our retention strategies focuses on one of the largest areas of customer churn: the onboarding process. Unless you have a sound strategy in place, up to as much as 75% of your customers will be gone within the first week and by the end of the first month only 4% of customers will have stuck around. This is obviously a huge problem. However, with the right tools and focus, you can make a last first impression that keeps them around.

The important area you want to focus on here is avoiding creating roadblocks that hinder your customers’ progress. These might include asking too many questions, requesting too much responsive action too soon, and many other annoyances that might lead customers to churn. Typically, by referring to your user engagement metrics, you will be able to identify and target the specific areas where customers are dropping off. Once you get over this first hurdle, your retention strategy will already be greatly improved.

2. Guide customers through the process

Now, what often happens when businesses start to employ retention strategies focused on onboarding is that they forget to take care of customers further through the process. Instead, you should treat each are of the process like onboarding and always be aware of where your customers find themselves and how you can improve their experience.

A powerful way to do this is with marketing automation and SMS. By establishing triggers and touchpoints along the customer journey, you can deliver tailored messaging and content directly to your customers in order to keep them engaged and remind them of why they came to you in the first place. Through a multi-channel approach, customers will be less likely to churn and may even make more repeat purchases.

3. Empower customers to meet their full potential

As you help guide customers through their journey, it is up to you to give them the tools they need to reach their full potential when working with your company. Without your intervention, customers may come and go without ever realizing all the capabilities of your product. Ideally, this should never happen, but unless you are actively pursuing a relationship with them, they will fall through the cracks.

Depending on the type of business you have, there will be a few different ways you can do this. For instance, customer-facing businesses that rely on repeat visits or purchases have found that customer loyalty programs can help their customers to discover new areas they might not have found previously. The important part is that you find what your customers love most about their experience working with you and then do your best to improve that experience whenever possible.

4. Never give up

Now, you may believe that the customer journey ends when a client churns. However, as long as they are still receptive to your brands messaging, there is always a chance to win them back with targeted retention strategies. By never letting go and pursuing these customers persistently and respectfully, you can win back customers that others would have let go.

For example, I still received win-back campaigns from Blue Apron and Dollar Shave Club. While I only used each of their services for a short time, I still receive monthly emails letting me know about the latest deals. While some might see this as annoying, I know that if I ever wanted to join their program again, I could very easily do so. By keeping yourself within arm’s reach, you make yourself accessible to these customers and who knows, they might be looking for that extra nudge in the right direction.

5. Measure twice, cut once

As we mentioned earlier, you should always be measuring the success of your retention strategies in order to analyze them and learn how to better treat your audience. It goes back to an old saying my grandfather had: Measure twice, cut one. If you can consistently track user engagement and analytics, you can create better campaigns that lead to higher success rates.

However, this is often easier said than done. In order to get the measurements you need, you will want to map out your customer journey and pinpoint areas where analytics can be taken so that you can continue to improve. If you are just starting your campaign, building in these tools from the ground up will do wonders for you in the future, so make sure to keep this in mind.

Overhauling the entire campaign

At this point, you can see that each of these retention strategies should be used in combination with each other for a fully optimized campaign. Unless you have already put these strategies into place yourself, this will call for a complete overhaul of the entire campaign. That being said, you shouldn’t worry about this. In fact, you are likely due for an overhaul.

Thankfully, now that you have these retentions strategies in your tool belt, you are well on your way to retaining more customers, creating better customer engagement, and offering an exceptional customer experience. From there, the rest is up to you.

Client Retention Tips: How to Deal with Difficult Customers

In 2018, whether you know it or not, you have probably participated in some form of customer retention marketing, either by running a campaign yourself or as a customer. When you are first getting started, client retention seems like the obvious choice for reducing churn rate and keeping your customers engaged. However, even with the best tactics and strategies, there will still be difficult customers that come your way.

Since these clients will come eventually, it’s best to be prepared before this happens instead of struggling to keep up when they come. In this article, we are going to offer a few client retention tips for dealing with difficult customers. Once you have mastered the ability to retain even the toughest customers, your client retention marketing will be unstoppable. Let’s get started.

client retention

Understand and listen to them

The first client retention technique that should come naturally in this situation is to take time to understand and listen to these customers. Oftentimes, these customers just want to be heard. Especially when you consider that 67% of customers mention bad experiences as a reason for churn, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain.

What this means is that if someone comes to you with a complaint, you should take them seriously. Do everything you can to fix the issue, because statistically 25 other customers have experienced the same problem and won’t tell you. Listen to the customers who complain, try to understand the issue, and then do what you can to find a solution.

Show that you care

Although listening and understanding difficult clients is important, you need to make an effort to show these customers that you care. In order to have them feel like you are actually helping and not just crossing off items on a list, go the extra mile and offer them something as a way of saying thank you for their patronage.

For instance, if you have a customer loyalty program, you can offer them rewards or points toward future discounts. By keeping customers engaged throughout this entire process, you solidify the relationship and prove that you care. On top of that, engaged customers are five times more likely to buy only from the same brand in the future. Not only can handling difficult customers improve retention, but you may end up with a better relationship in the end.

Stay consistent

While dealing with customers, difficult or not, it is important for your brand to stay consistent with both customer service and marketing messaging. In fact, 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience. Since you can only control what you do and not how your customers react, consistency is key to serving the largest part of your audience well. Others will just have to take it or leave it.

One of the best ways to maintain a consistent message is through marketing automation. By setting up triggers linked to client retention messaging, you can stop churn in its tracks. For example, fitness clubs that notice their members coming to the gym on a less frequent basis can set up a trigger to offer a free class after 2 weeks of not seeing a member at the gym. Little tactics like this go a long way when it comes to client retention and engagement.

Focus on solutions

Along with staying consistent, it’s also important to stay positive and focus on solutions. While there should be a certain level of empathy when speaking with a difficult customer, you also need to stand behind your business and product. Instead of spending the majority of the time asking what went wrong, focus on providing solutions and remaining positive. If customers still end up churning, it’s like not you, but them.

This is another vital aspect of client retention and working to reduce churn rate: it’s OK to let customers go. Far too often, companies will work tirelessly to try and retain a customer that has no interest in being retained. By focusing your efforts on customers that are willing to speak with you and are interested in sticking with you, you can spend your time more efficiently, both for you and your customers.

Exceed expectations

Again, this is a fairly obvious idea, but if you can come back from having a dissatisfied and meet them with solutions that exceed their expectations, you can win them for life. One way that businesses can do this is by meeting their customers where they are, which is on mobile. Not only that, but if you can do it well, you will stand out as 90% of customers say they have had poor experience seeking customer support on mobile.

If you can focus on creating a mobile marketing experience that exceeds customer expectations, you will be among the 10% of business that get this right. Imagine what that will show to your customers. This is just one of many use cases for SMS marketing that you should consider when focusing on client retention.

See what Text Message Marketing can do for you!

Monitor entire process

As we have stated before, client retention is about the entire process, not just one tactic or strategy. This also means that you need to monitor the process from start to finish in order to glean best practices for next time this happens. Tools that track user engagement metrics should be used to see where in the customer journey clients are not having their needs met.

After tracking these mobile metrics, you will be able to lay out each part of the customer journey and optimize it for future users. For instance, if there is a part of your process where clients are becoming frustrated or are prone to churn, you can meet them there and provide solutions. This sort of proactive approach will set your client retention program apart from the rest by sampling making sure the same mistakes are not repeated.

Follow up

Once you have gone through this entire process with a difficult customer and they still aren’t convinced, it may be time to let them go. However, you can win them over, this is the best opportunity to solidify your relationship. Far too many businesses will celebrate winning back the customer and then won’t use that momentum to make a difference. This is why our final client retention tip is simple: follow up.

Part of showing your clients that you care is going the extra mile and following up with them about their experience. You can even ask them to fill out a survey based on their experience and how it can be improved in the future. The most important part is simply putting in the effort. If you can do this, the rest will come.

customer segmentation

A Beginner's Guide to Customer Segmentation

For anyone who is trying to step up their marketing in today’s economy, finding the right target market is vital to the success of the marketing campaign. Fortunately, new technologies and strategies are making it easier than ever to follow user engagement metrics and find members of your target audience within your existing customer base. This practice is called customer segmentation, and it has the potential to radically transform your business.

In this article we are going to take a look at customer segmentation, along with the benefits of segmenting your audience and best practices for doing so. It has been said that “marketing to everyone is synonymous with marketing to no one.” Our hope is that through customer segmentation, you will be able to market to your exact target customers instead of no one at all. Let’s get started.

customer segmentation

What is customer segmentation?

So, what exactly is customer segmentation? Simply put, segmentation is the process of dividing your customers into distinct groups based on their needs and characteristics. By dividing up our customers, we can better serve each group with messaging particular to them. For example, you wouldn’t want to treat customers about to churn the same as newly acquired customers.

On a larger scale, however, customer segmentation is designed to find your core audience or ideal customer base. Typically, this core audience is loyal to your company and as long as you treat them well, they will return the favor. Keep in mind that even those these are your ideal customers, each segment plays a part in your overall strategy. Let’s take a look at those different segments now.

Creating buyer personas

When you divide your audience into segments, you should also create buyer personas for each distinct group. These buyer personas are fictional representations of each segment, each with different characteristics and preferred methods of communication. For instance, while your millennial audience might respond well to a text blast, older customers might prefer a good ol’ fashioned email.

Each of these personas will value different aspects of what you offer, and thus will need different marketing messaging to attract and retain their business. Part of creating these personas will putting together a plan of action for each. After all, it’s one thing to begin customer segmentation, it’s another to use it to make a difference.

No such thing as “one-size fits all”

Unfortunately, for businesses who have until now subscribed to the “one-size fits all” approach to marketing, that strategy will no longer work. In the same way that advertisers no longer have to guess which members of their audience are receiving their messaging, marketers can no longer treat all customers the same. Thankfully, tools like marketing automation can make this process less complex and easier to tackle.

That’s not to say that certain tools like social media and blog posts can’t be used to make a difference since they are more general knowledge. However, even with these tools, customer segmentation improves the process and makes more of a difference to your customers when you are targeting them specifically instead of lumped together.

customer personas

Benefits of customer segmentation

Now that you understand a few basics about customer segmentation, let’s talk about the benefits of segmenting for your company. Each of these benefits is possible if you are able to properly segment your audience based on analytics and then use those segments to better serve your customers. Let’s take a look.

Increase engagement

Customer segmentation increases engagement from your customers across the board. Since you are now able to provide catered experiences to different segments of your audience, you can deliver deals that they love directly to them. You can even use customer segmentation in combination with your customer loyalty program to help your customers earn rewards.

This is something that many companies are desperate for in a market where customer engagement is hard to come by. One of the best ways to keep customers engaged is to provide value to them at every turn in the customer journey. By segmenting your audience, you can better serve each part of your audience, leading to a better overall strategy.

Targeted marketing

Which leads us to the next benefit of customer segmentation: targeted marketing. Although targeted marketing has been popular before, with the internet and mobile app analytics, targeted marketing has reached new levels. Now, not only can you deliver deals that your customers will love, but you can select your time and method of delivery that best suits them.

As we mentioned earlier, a powerful and popular means of communicating with your audience is SMS marketing. Not only are you able to reach most of your target customers within minutes, but you can craft particular messages to strike the deal home. Use mobile marketing tools like this to boost customer segmentation and take your retention marketing plan to a whole new level.

Retain more customers

Finally, the last benefit of customer segmentation is the goal of most marketing plans: to retain more customers. By focusing on treating your customers well with different customer retention techniques, not only will you save money on customer acquisition, but you can grow your business through word-of-mouth referrals as well.

Customer segmentation is simply one tool in a series of others when it comes to customer retention. However, when you are able to put each of these tools together into an overarching plan, your marketing is that much more potent and powerful.

segmenting customers

Final thoughts

Through this beginner’s guide to customer segmentation we have been able to take a closer look at this exciting customer retention strategy. We have also been able to see some of the benefits of customer segmentation, as well as best practices for using mobile marketing tools for success. By segmenting and then treating each of these customers well, you might never have a problem with customer churn again.

We’ll leave you with this thought: if you were a customer, would you want the same messaging as everyone else, or would you want something just for you? Seems like a simple choice, right? Well make that choice for your customers. Commit to customer segmentation and give your audience the experience they deserve.