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How to retain customers into 2023 and beyond
December 9, 2022
In this article, the mobile marketing specialists at Remerge discuss how to retain customers and drive loyalty by outlining the different kinds of retention strategies that brands can use to bring in repeat business – even in the quieter months of the new year. Here, we give you our top four tips on customer retention and retargeting campaigns, to help you meet and exceed your retention goals.
Why retention is just as important as attracting new customers
As the end of the year looms nearer, many marketers will be focusing their time and efforts on seasonal campaigns – and for good reason. For most industries, the final quarter from October to December typically sees some of the highest sales volumes of the year, so ramping up your marketing spend makes perfect sense. However, a seasonal spike in sales isn’t necessarily the mark of long term business success. Knowing how to retain existing customers and maintain monthly sales revenues into the new year and beyond is a stronger indication of stability that all brands aspire to achieve. What’s more, selling to existing customers who already know your brand is a lot easier than acquiring entirely new customers who have never purchased before.
Generally speaking, ‘retargeting’ is the main method of reaching previous customers and compelling them to keep paying for a product or service. Many of today’s marketers will be familiar with this concept through online channels such as email marketing, social media, push notifications or ad placements across apps and websites. Whether you’re selling a physical product via a web store or a digital service via an app, the data points that brands collect about their customers are the key to reaching those customers again with retargeting campaigns. Simply knowing someone’s device ID or email address is enough to help brands retarget their customers with messaging that can maintain brand awareness and drive further purchases.
Personalization - Use data to tailor your messaging
Historical data provides brands with valuable insights about their customers. It doesn’t just reveal purchasing and behavioral trends of the past, but it helps to anticipate future purchasing triggers as well. These insights are essential components of retargeting campaigns and are the key to creating personalized messages that will drive up your conversion and retention rates. A classic example of personalized retargeting would be Amazon’s campaigns. If you’ve ever viewed a product on their app or website but never purchased it, you may have received ads for it in the days that follow. Or maybe you’ve purchased an item from Amazon and were retargeted with ads telling you about other products to buy that might compliment your previous purchase. These ads are targeting you based on how you (or similar people) have behaved before.
Gamification - Hook your customers with challenges
Another way to retain and engage customers beyond peak seasons and into the new year is to use elements of gamification in your retargeting campaigns. A lot of gaming apps do this by retargeting users with messaging about their progress in the game. For example, an app gamer may have become inactive for several days after failing to complete the third level of a game. Retargeting the player with ads that challenge them to reattempt the level are a good way to bring them back to the app, especially if clicking the ad takes them directly to where they left off in the game. Getting them back into the app increases the chances of them making an in-app purchase or renewing their subscription, for example.
The language learning app Duolingo has found gamification so successful that they’ve gone a step further and natively incorporated it into their product. Every day that a user returns to the app to practice a language, they build up a ‘streak’ of repeat visits. This earns them points and encourages them to use the app on a daily basis, which in turn drives retention. If they are in danger of losing their streak, Duolingo retargets users with push notifications that remind them to practice for the day. Building a committed audience of daily active users provides the perfect opportunity to upsell them paid subscriptions because they are already invested in the product.
Incentivization - Give customers a reason to come back
Another popular retargeting strategy is to use incentivized offers to keep your customers engaged. This approach can be applied across many industries, and exists in several different formats. A popular example that simultaneously engages both current and new customers would be referral schemes, where an existing customer receives a benefit for bringing in new customers. In most cases, both parties are incentivized which is ideal for retargeting campaigns because it re-engages your current customer base while leveraging them to promote your product for you.
Discount marketing is also a good incentivization technique for your retargeting campaigns because it drives revenue via a direct push for sales among customers who already know your brand. However, there are pros and cons with this approach. Discount amounts should be kept small, and the promotion of discounts should be limited to only certain groups of customers. This is because offering your product for less money can negatively impact your customer’s perception of your overall brand value.
It’s also worth noting that a discount alone may not be enough to bring back former customers if the price of your product wasn’t an issue for them in the first place. Customer insight surveys can help to determine why they haven’t purchased for a while, and you can use this to your advantage when running discount campaigns. When price is not the issue, we’d recommend promoting the discount in combination with the launch of a new product feature so that the customer sees added value when they purchase while still being able to buy the product for less than it usually costs.
Choose the right channels for your retargeting campaigns
Most brands will start their retargeting efforts with self-service advertising networks such as Google and Facebook, or by using their owned channels like their email marketing databases. Another important channel for retargeting is through ad placements across apps and websites. Ad space like this is managed by third party advertising partners called Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) who provide the technology and infrastructure to bid on millions of available ad placements across apps and websites. DSPs use intelligent algorithms to optimize the bidding process and ensure that a brands’ ads are retargeting their former customers in the right place, at the right time, with the most compelling messages.
Remerge, for example, specializes in helping app-based businesses to retarget their existing users via ads that are shown across other smartphone apps. This gives app businesses, (and the agencies who represent them), access to enormous pools of app users – of whom some will inevitably be existing customers they can retarget. Speaking of the retention opportunities offered by mobile retargeting campaigns, Steve Massaro, director of channel alliances at Remerge explains:
“There’s never been a more important time to ensure you’re using your budget wisely to tackle the full funnel by layering retargeting into your mobile campaigns. App businesses can’t just rely on user acquisition to drive loyalty. The majority of people visiting your app or website aren’t necessarily going to sign up and make purchases without additional touch points, so pushing all of your budget towards acquisition or brand-focused ads is going to be very limiting. Having a great retargeting strategy is pivotal for retaining and maximizing the value of your existing users – and this is one of the services that Remerge provides in order to support its clients across the entire funnel.”
A summary on how to meet your customer retention goals
1. Leverage customer data to deliver targeted and personalized messaging. It’s the most effective way to address key stages in the customer lifecycle, and will help you to determine what types of retargeting campaigns are most suitable for achieving your retention goals.
2. Tap into the competitive side of your customers by using gamification in your campaigns as a retention driver. Challenge your customers to gamify their experience with your product in a way that will keep them coming back.
3. Incentivize dormant customers with offers and promotions that will re-engage them and generate sales revenue – but be sure that your offer contains a genuine value proposition.
4. Use a mix of different channels to reach more of your existing customers. Don’t rely on owned channels such as CRM or self service advertising networks like Facebook. Consider working with third party advertisers to broaden your exposure via mobile and web placements that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.