How successful startups use personalization to increase retention

You might not have a billion prospects in your CRM as a startup.

And believe it or not, that can be a good thing.

It’s your chance to acquire 1000 true fans that will spread the word for you.

In the words of legendary marketer, Seth Godin:

‘’As an organization grows and succeeds, it sows the seeds of its own demise by getting boring.”

Seth Godin

So being a startup company is your opportunity to make personalization a priority while avoiding being boring, generic, and corporate…

Here’s a great example of a non-boring retention approach

Insurance company, Lemonade, sent a personalized birthday email to loyal customer, Andrew.
Andrew was touched and thanked them on Twitter:

Lemonade then followed up with an actual birthday cake sent to Andrew’s workplace:

And once again, Andrew thanked them on Twitter.
It’s fair to say Andrew’s now a fan for life, but what often goes unnoticed is the 2nd order benefits of delighting your customers:

  • Andrew’s Twitter followers now think Lemonade is awesome
  • Andrew’s co-workers, who all enjoyed a slice of cake, now think Lemonade is awesome
  • Matthew Kobach shared this story on Twitter. His 35,000 Twitter followers now think Lemonade is awesome.

One delicious birthday cake. Hundreds of new fans.
That’s the power of delighting individual customers.

Source: Marketing Examples

Here are other personalization ideas you can use to boost retention:

Humanize to personalize

People do business with people, not brands.

If a customer deals with a specific person in your business, make sure that that same employee sends all communications.

The idea here is to eliminate your marketing campaign’s ‘’corporate’’ feeling.

“The most effective organizations don’t always have a famous leader or a signature on every email. But they act like they do.
The goal isn’t to personalize the work. It’s to make it personal.’’

Seth Godin

Think about the last time you shared feedback about a brand…

Usually, you’ll think about the person that helped you and then you’ll recommend that business to friends and family.

This works because a human conversation holds emotions.
Emotional conversations build trust.
Trust increases customer retention.

Create personalization / retention focused email lists

  • According to a 2017 report, over 60% of consumers say getting a discount within an hour of interacting with a brand can help drive loyalty.
  • Customers are 29% more likely to open personalized emails—and those emails drive 6x times more transactions than generic ones.

A great way to build a retention email list is to segment your lists based on what customers have purchased in order to suggest similar products.

You can also segment your lists based on the number of times a customer bought from you.

The people that buy the most should receive red carpet treatment and your goal should be to continuously put a smile on their faces.

Here’s a great example from David’s Tea

This type of email reminds your customers how awesome your brand is and why they bought from you in the first place.

Be a friend, not a brand

Don’t be afraid to text your clients!

People usually text with their friends so it’s a perfect opportunity to engage them while humanizing your brand.

If your team is using a CRM, you can easily ask a customer what they’re doing for their birthday.

Set a reminder and then a couple of days later, you can call them to ask how was dinner at their parent’s place 🙂


Friend not brand!

The love letter

When exactly does a customer qualify as being ‘’loyal’’?

And when they become ‘’loyal’’, what should we do?

Customer loyalty is not an end-state.

You must consistently:

  1. Show appreciation for their purchases
  2. Remind them what you stand for
  3. Send them discounts and gifts
  4. Show them testimonials for other products they might like

Yes, you can show them, love, by sending them an email… But wouldn’t it be better if you sent a handwritten note from the person they usually deal with?

Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have many customers to delight the existing ones!

But remember that delighting your customers is only part of the equation, you must also learn to increase their lifetime value!

Customer lifetime value is the total worth of a customer over the whole period of their relationship with your brand.

To learn how to increase customer lifetime value, download our ebook: Top Digital Marketing Strategies for the Customer Lifecycle

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