We’re going to let you in on a little secret. Well—less of a secret and more of a lesser recognized fact. Your customers are the single most important factor of your business’s long term success. So, why is it that more often than not, we place more of an emphasis on generating and converting new leads into buyers, rather than focusing on retaining our existing customers?
Truth is, we’re not really sure. Maybe it has something to do with our innate natural instinct as humans to go after what we can’t have, or maybe our sales team really is just that driven by the thrill of the win. And hey—this isn’t a bad thing by any means. But, what if we told you that there was a much faster, more efficient, cost effective way to drive success? Would you buy in?
According to research by Bain & Company, as little as a 5% increase in customer retention can boost profits by 25% to 95%. Simply put, customer retention is key to the ultimate success of your business. So how do you keep your customers coming back for more? You have to keep them engaged long after deals are marked closed-won and contracts are signed off on. And this all starts with your events.
One of the best ways that you can drive customer retention and strengthen brand loyalty is by hosting events. A recent finding by Marketo reports that “events can offer high levels of engagement with customers, which helps to retain and grow your customer base and allows marketers to realize a bigger ROI.” The same study showed that “95% of business professionals say face-to-face meetings are essential for nurturing and retaining long-term business relationships.”
AKA, happy customers = more moolah.
Here are 5 ways that you can drive customer retention through events and maintain brand loyalty:
1 Provide networking opportunities
Whether it’s at the hotel bar or virtually from your living room couch, there’s nothing professionals love more than building connections (aside from talking shop at the dinner table.) Going virtual? Set up 1:1 virtual networking rooms, allowing your customers to connect with like minded professionals, sponsors, and speakers. Hosting a large event in person? Send out a pre-event survey and create intimate groups for customers with complementary missions, strategies, and skills to connect. Aiding them in their networking efforts will also highlight your commitment to accompany your customers on their journey to success and have them pre-registering for your next event.
2 Offer unique experiences and incentives
Nothing drives customer loyalty more than making customers feel ~ special. Offer your customers a unique experience or incentive that they can’t receive as a regular attendee. Whether that comes in the form of an in-room gift bag, exclusive trip, or VIP networking opportunity—create personalized experiences for your customers to show how much you value them. Hey, we’re not going to call it bribery—but by providing these incentives for your customers, it’s likely that they will associate your brand with positive memorable experiences, thus increasing the likelihood that they’ll renew year after year.
3 Analyze how to improve your product or service
Events serve as an incredibly valuable platform to better understand your customers needs and work to improve your offering. Let them know you care. Bring them along for the ride and include them in on important conversations regarding their experience using your product or service. Work to understand their challenges—where your product or service falls short and where you are winning in the space. Feedback from those who directly interact with your product or service on a day-to-day basis will provide inestimable constructive insights on how to improve for future customers.
4 Exclusive access to new offerings
Never underestimate the power of exclusivity. In fact, exclusivity is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have under your belt. I mean who wants to sit in General Admission when you can be in the VIP section? Host an exclusive event for your customers surrounding the launch of a new product or offering. This demonstrates your willingness to invest in your customers and also shows that you genuinely value their loyalty to your brand. Further, this helps you build a band of loyal advocates for your brand, also known as free walking billboards. *Cough, cough* Customer referrals anyone?
5 Keep customers engaged through content
Drum roll, please. This one might seem like a no-brainer, yet it’s one of the most critical ways in which to retain customers through events. Engage customers with valuable content during every step of the event lifecycle—all the way from pre-event communications to post-event surveys. Create foolproof, engaging content that drives conversations and provides continued added-value to customers. Looking for some content inspiration? Check out our latest webinar, How to Drive Revenue Through Events for some insider-tips on how to produce valuable content that stands the test of time.
Got a case of the Monday blues? We’ll leave you with some key actionable takeaways to employ when planning your next customer event.
- Aiding customers in their networking efforts will highlight your commitment to accompany your customers on their journey to success.
- Offer your customers unique experiences or incentives that they can’t receive as regular attendees to show how much you value them as clients.
- Use your events as an opportunity to better understand your customers’ needs and work to improve your offering.
- Never underestimate the power of exclusivity.
- Engage customers with valuable content during every step of the event lifecycle.