Do you know how large, multimillion–dollar companies grow their businesses? They focus on client retention. And while these companies may have huge budgets, the premise is very simple. Keep in contact with your current clients. Earn loyalty.

For those who feel that customer retention plays a relatively minor role in helping a company grow a healthy bottom line, here are a few statistics you might be interested in. According to Bain and Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. And if those numbers don’t impress you, Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. Still not sold on customer retention? One final statistic provided by Lee Resource Inc. should give you plenty to think about: Attracting new customers will cost your company 5 times more than keeping an existing customer.

Alex Lawrence, 5 Customer Retention Tips for Entrepreneurs, www.forbes.comAnd it can be accomplished at little to no cost!

Blogs

A blog is a regularly updated webpage written in an informal style. And by regularly, I mean whatever time frame you are willing to commit to. Professional bloggers update daily, while the rest of us are weekly, monthly, or quarterly.  Topics should be of interest to your current clients such as seasonal safety tips or grooming tips. Most websites are already set up to include a blog. If you are uncertain how to proceed, contact your website host. If you don’t have a website, you can set up a free blog with such services as WordPress, Blogspot, Wix, Weebly, and Typepad, just to name a couple. While the style may be informal, you still have to have correct sentence structure, spelling, and make it an easy read. Grammarly is a good site to run your blog through to catch errors and improve readability.

Newsletters

There are federal regulations regarding how you contact clients via email. You have to include your physical address and means of easily unsubscribing. In addition, you must not give access to everyone’s email in a mass send out. Meaning your entire email list cannot be in “To” bar. Most email providers will block mass emails from even reaching your intended client and will be marked as spam. To top it off, mass emails look unprofessional.

There are many newsletter services such as Mail Chimp, Aweber, and Constant Contact which range from free to low cost. They are easy to set up, compliant with federal regulations, and recognized by email hosts.

Elements of a newsletter could include: a personal message from you, your blog, any specials or new services, highlighting a retail item, and linking a short instructional video uploaded to YouTube.

Facebook

Facebook is still the reigning king in the “it’s for free” marketing world. It’s free in the sense that you don’t pay to have a business page, but if you want your posts seen by everyone on your business page, then you need to consider Facebook ads.  If done correctly, Facebook ads can be cost effective. With the changing algorithms, Like Ladders can be detrimental to your business page. A Like Ladder is when a group of people like each other’s pages even though they have no real interest in it. As Facebook uses engagement to rank pages, that lack of participation can lower your ability to be seen in the news feeds of your clients.

You need a business page. If you continually post about your business from your personal profile, you will be violating Facebook’s terms of service. The penalties can range anywhere from being in a 2 week Facebook jail to having your profile removed.

One of the nicest new features of a business page is the live feature.  From your phone you can record a tour of your facility, a demonstration of brushing and combing, show off your retail, interview a client for a testimonial, to name a few ideas. The possibilities are endless. In addition, you can share the video on your personal page as well.

To use the live feature:

  1. From your phone, go to your business page.
  2. Click on Publish.
  3. At the bottom, click the bar for Live Video.
  4. An informational blurb comes up.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Title your broadcast where it says Describe Your Live Video.
  7. Click Go Live.

Another nice feature of a business page is that you can set an automatic message when someone messages your business page.

To set an automatic return message:

  1. On the top of your business page, click on Settings.
  2. On the left side bar, click
    on Messaging.
  3. Scroll down to Response Assistant.

There are two sections I utilize: The first is Response Time. I set mine to “Typically responds in minutes.”

The second is Send Instant Replies to anyone who sends you a message. You can customize this. Mine says “Thank you for your inquiry regarding my pet grooming services. I am currently with a pet or driving.” I also include my website and cell number.

Other Social Media

There are so many other choices: Twitter, Periscope, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, Google Plus, and Blab to name a few. By tomorrow, there very well may be more. You can spend hours trying to cover all your bases. If you are not sure, ask your clients which platforms they prefer and go from there. It doesn’t make sense to spend time on a platform that your clients don’t visit.

Once you decide on the platforms, the most important thing is consistency. It can be hard to be consistent when you have a business to run and a life afterwards. Online planners such as Hootsuite and Buffer offer both free and paid services where you can schedule posts in advance. Hootsuite and Buffer offer tutorials on how and when to post for maximum engagement. Neither is very good about posting to Instagram. There is another planner called Grum, which is specific to Instagram. At the time of this writing, I have just started using it, but seems to work well. Facebook has its own Post Planner, but it works only on your Facebook business page.

So take a page out of the large corporation’s book; keeping in regular contact with your current clients results in loyal clients, referring you to their friends and family. And that’s how we grow our businesses. ✂