Companies are often hyper-focused on growth. It strikes me as misguided. Sure, you need to acquire brand new customers, but you should not forget about retention (getting your current customers to come back)

I’ve been in situations where we would bleed customers. We’d pump crazy budgets into getting more & more new customers. Rather than focus on retention and solving the root cause of why we were bleeding customers, we focused on vanity metrics, like how many users we got by throwing promo codes (free money) at them. These hoards of new users never stayed for long; they bounced once they had their first terrible, all too common, experience. Plus we alienated our small but mighty crew of power users, who were never rewarded with a nice discount or ‘thank you’ for their loyalty. 

The customers you already have took time and money to acquire. Go invest in their experience. You don’t have to “sell” them on your company; they literally already bought it. By designing an experience that creates brand affinity and rewards loyalty, you have the chance to make them life-long (very valuable) customers. 

Some signs you are doing it wrong

  • If you reward new sign ups with discounts and perks but don’t do something to reward long-time loyalty. 
  • If you pump money into new customer acquisitions but haven’t dug into why most churn.
  • If you haven’t looked at the small subset of very successful, long-time customers, and asked: “Why are they doing so well?” “What makes this group different?”
  • If you don’t talk to your power users and brand advocates. 

Signs that give me faith

  • I’ve seen a resurgence of the hand-written thank-you note.  
  • Focus on customer marketing, customer advocacy, and a realization that word-of-mouth and referrals are hugely valuable. 
  • Coupons and rewards for long-time users or high spenders. 
  • The focus on actual relationship building. Uniting the brand to the actual people who use it. 

What are you doing to invest in the people that are already rooting for your brand?