We can all agree that finding new clients is an important business priority. But how much time do you spend making sure that your current clients keep returning for more? While it’s easy to pour more time and energy into acquiring a new client, research shows that retaining your current clients increases your profits by 25% to 95%.
We’re breaking down the most important client retention strategies that you can implement to build a loyal client base for your agency.
What is client retention?
Client retention (sometimes known as customer retention) is the key to keeping your agency in business. It’s much easier to keep returning clients than to constantly attract and onboard new clients. You’ll use client retention strategies to turn your one-time clients into loyal customers you work with for years to come.
Client retention honestly comes down to providing excellent customer service and building authentic relationships with your clients.
9 client retention strategies
Let’s look at a few client retention strategies you can use.
1. Provide great customer service
Providing excellent customer service is one of the most successful ways to retain clients. After all, would you want to continue working with a company that provided bad service?
You probably already know the basics of delivering good customer service through maintaining a positive attitude, being respectful, and providing quick assistance. Don’t forget that providing great service extends into the digital world. You need to respond to concerns and comments on social media as well–and quickly.
Additionally, take the time to follow up after resolving a problem and train your team members to provide exceptional service.
Providing exceptional customer service requires constant effort and learning. Do whatever you can to balance your client’s needs, and they will notice.
2. Create a newsletter for your clients
An email newsletter is one of the most important customer retention strategies you can implement. In fact, 80% of businesses use email marketing to drive client retention, according to an Emarsys study.
Active communication is a cornerstone of great client relationships, and a newsletter allows you to communicate on a regular basis. There are limitless ways to leverage a newsletter to build client relationships:
- Send an email to clients about upcoming events such as webinars or new resources such as whitepapers and guides
- Profile employees so clients see the people behind the agency
- Curate a roundup of relevant industry news
- Share content from your agency blog to educate clients
This agency creates a regular newsletter with industry information and engaging polls.
3. Collect feedback from your clients
It’s impossible to understand how you’re serving your client base if you’re not receiving feedback. You must have a way to collect client reviews and feedback so you can improve your offerings and retain clients.
Client feedback can be collected in a number of ways:
- Create a reviews form on your website. It’s easy to create a simple form on your website where clients can leave open-ended feedback. Create a form that’s simple and only asks a few questions so you don’t waste your client’s valuable time.
- Send annual client feedback surveys. Sending a survey out to clients on an annual basis is the perfect way to receive specialized feedback from targeted questions. Client feedback surveys will give you a chance to reflect on your services and create change in the future. Take your time to deliberate over the types of questions you want to ask your clients. These surveys can include both open-ended questions and multiple-choice questions.
- Send out polls on social media. While this method is much more casual, it’s a useful way to gain new insights into targeted questions on a more frequent basis. Plus, it’s a great way to engage with your followers!
- Send respectful exit surveys. While no one wants to lose clients, it’s a natural part of business. Understand why a client is canceling their contract by sending a short and respectful exit survey. Exit surveys may not sound like a client retention strategy, but understanding your shortfalls will help you retain clients in the future.
Once you’ve collected client feedback, make sure to follow up and let your clients know how you’re using this information to improve products, services, or offerings. This can go a long way in building relationships and retaining your clients.
4. Educate your clients
Even when your clients aren’t actively asking for help, you can actively offer your assistance. Show your clients that you’re a valuable partner by communicating your advantages and expertise. There are lots of ways to equip your clients with information and resources:
- Send a targeted email demonstrating product tips. Use your email list to demonstrate different ways to use your offerings, or to show clients information they may not know about. Consider creating an email sequence that shows clients how to use your product or service from when they first begin through regular intervals.
- Offer online support and educational resources. Consider starting a blog that highlights your value, educates them on industry topics, and includes how-to articles that guide clients through tutorials on how to use products and resources. Create an online chat through your website that can help clients 24/7.
- Provide one-on-one service sessions. Give new and returning clients one-on-one attention to walk them through any new offerings or product difficulties. Offer to do personalized Zoom meetings or training sessions with an account specialist or sales representative.
Webinars are also a great way to educate your clients and provide extra value.
5. Take a look at your competitors
As an agency, you must be aware of what your competitors are working on so you can stay ahead of the game. Research their initiatives and contemplate ways you can compete with them. Ask questions like:
- What are they doing to drive new business?
- How are they rewarding their client base?
- What special offers are they tempting clients with?
- How can we have a competitive edge?
Doing a quick search for some of your keywords can give you an idea of the value proposition your competitors are leading with.
6. Get involved in your community
You know how much you appreciate your clients. But does your community understand how much you care? Show your appreciation for your clients and community as a whole by getting involved in person or online. Work with your community by:
- Launching a philanthropic annual event. Consider hosting an annual online fundraiser, baking contest, or run to fundraise for a local organization. Auction off art, or sponsor a sporting event like a baseball game. Tie your event into your mission.
- Contribute to an ongoing cause. Is your local school hosting a fundraiser? Perhaps your community is building a community garden or park? Look for ways to get involved in local causes by donating your time, money, or skills.
- Work with local businesses. Regardless of your business, there’s probably another organization you can partner with. Shopping locally and investing in local small businesses shows how much you value contributing to your local economy.
- Use ethical practices. How can your agency become more eco-friendly? What can you do to build a more ethical business model? Look for ways to be more transparent in your business practices and be honest about your efforts.
7. Build a client loyalty program
One amazing way to retain clients? Recognize their importance and reward their efforts. Client loyalty programs reward clients who repeatedly interact with your business. The more your clients buy from your band, or engage with your business through other means, the more rewards they earn.
- Give clients a gift for referrals. If a client brings in new business, let them know how much you appreciate it! Send them a small gift in the mail or a virtual gift card. They’ll know you’re thinking about them and will be inclined to continue recommending your services.
- Provide perks, points, or other redemption benefits. Perhaps you can provide a small discount or freebies to returning clients. You could also test new products or services by offering them to your clients for free. If people enjoy your discounts, you’re more likely to retain clients.
- Provide a referral program for your newsletter. Consider creating different reward tiers for new newsletter subscribers. Perhaps for every five subscribers driven through a client’s customized email, you give away a free $5 Starbucks gift card. Customize the rewards to suit your client’s needs and desires.
- Implement a paid loyalty program. Unlike loyalty programs clients can participate in for free, a paid loyalty program gives members certain advantages in return for monthly payments. A 2020 McKinsey study found that members of paid loyalty programs are 90% more likely to spend more on the brand after subscribing.
8. Always be accessible to every client
How easy is it for potential clients to access your services? Your potential and reoccurring clients should be able to easily reach you when they need you. Think about how your agency can be accessible at every level.
- Make sure that your messaging is inclusive. Did you know that 26% of American adults have some kind of disability? Building accessibility into your social media posts and website content ensures that everyone gets to enjoy it. Use inclusive terms, captions, and trigger warnings in your text. Include representation from all backgrounds in your photos and videos.
- Include alt-text along with your images. Whenever you share images on your website or social media channels, include alt-text for audience members who use screen readers or are vision impaired.
- Create a way to collect email addresses. Even if you haven’t yet launched a newsletter, gathering email addresses in advance ensures that you can reach potential clients in the future through email marketing.
- Include a contact form and live chat on your website. You may not be available 24/7, but your website can be! Make sure that current and potential clients are able to reach out to you on their timeline by having a contact form embedded in your website as well as by implementing live chat.
9. Thank your clients for choosing your service or product
Everyone appreciates a thoughtful thank you! Take the time to thank your clients for choosing to work with you. Saying thank you is a basic client retention strategy that works to intentionally build good relationships with your client base. Here are a few ways to thank your clients:
- Send a virtual thank you note with a special promotion. Design a customized email with a note thanking your clients for their loyalty. Sweeten the thank you note with a custom discount code or another special promotion.
- Send a thank you gift. While this may not be feasible to send to every client, you can choose your top clients and send a special gift around the holidays. Make it something nice and include a handwritten note to show your appreciation.
- Send an exclusive preview. Are you launching a new service in the future? Designing a new line of clothing? Send your clients an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at your new service or product.
- Hold a customer appreciation event. Host a charity raffle where clients can take home brand swag, gift cards, or other items. Or create a virtual event where clients can network and get a preview of what’s to come for your agency. Whatever event you create, make sure it’s fun and something your clients will appreciate!
Get more client appreciation ideas here.
Client retention strategies take time
Here’s a wrap-up of those nine client retention strategies for agencies to try:
- Provide great customer service
- Create a newsletter for your clients
- Collect feedback from your clients
- Educate your clients
- Take a look at your competitors
- Get involved in your community
- Build a client loyalty program
- Always be accessible to every client
- Thank your clients for choosing your service or product
While there are many client retention strategies, you may not want (or need) to implement all of them. Consider which ones will work best for you, and use trial and error to discover which are most successful. Above all, remember that it takes time to build relationships and retain clients.