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As the economic climate continues to put strain on businesses big and small, retaining current customers becomes even more vital to the health and growth of companies.

Here are four essential ways you can be sure to retain your customer base and encourage customer loyalty:

Keep regular contact with them through a consumer e-mail database E-mail and newsletter marketing has been proven to be the most successful medium when it comes to creating and maintaining a direct connection with your brands’ consumers.

By making use of a profiled and managed e-mail database, brands can create personalized campaigns filled with content that is both great and relevant to the subscribers receiving it. This personal touch helps foster a close relationship between a brand and its subscribers that later culminates in brand loyalty and positive association.

Naturally, any promotional material such as news of a big sale will also help with retention because more people will be informed of what they can currently get from your brand. Keeping constant contact with the people on your e-mail database is, in many ways, similar to regularly e-mailing a friend and letting her know you haven’t forgotten about her, that you know exactly what she would find fun or interesting. It’s these gestures that make consumers feel close to a brand that regularly appears in their digital personal space – their inbox.

Stay in Touch Through Social Media

Social media is quintessentially ‘social’ – it’s based on the idea of people connecting with a wide network of friends and peers in the digital online space. While many brands view social media as a place to promote and market exclusively, it actually plays a much more significant role merely as a place to develop relationships with consumers. By regularly engaging with your fans and followers in a way that engenders friendliness and openness, brands will reap the benefits by retaining those customers.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are an essential part of holding onto customers who have already had some kind of contact with your brand. This is a program that is based on reward. It essentially thanks consumers for continuing to support your brand. Consumers not only appreciate the better deals and price cuts, they appreciate the sentiment. Consumers value being valued and, thus, even the smallest discount or free product will be enough to keep your customers by your side.

Excellent Customer Service

Customer service is one of the most important aspects of maintaining good relationships with your consumers. Unfortunately, once people are seeking customer service, it is likely they already have a problem or an issue that needs solving. It is absolutely vital to seize that opportunity to turn a disgruntled consumer into a happy one and, the only way to do this, is by providing immediate, prompt and excellent customer service. This can (and more often than not in this day and age) include providing customer service via social media channels such as Facebook where many disheartened consumers often go to seek help and vent about any negative brand experience.

If your brand is serious about keeping all your customers, it is necessary to invest effort and time into helping each consumer until their relationship with your brand is not only repaired but improved.

Article by Inge Van Eetveldt. Digital Fire is an e-mail marketing and digital media specialist with a head office in Cape Town. Digital Fire specializes in full service opt-in email marketing, email data rental, email database management, social media consultancy and management as well as Search Engine Optimization. We provide cutting edge digital marketing and advertising solutions for our clients locally and abroad. Contact us today for digital marketing success

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