Customer Retention Strategies in Times of Uncertainty

Posted in: Digital marketing,Ideas for your websiteLast update: 29/07/22

Customer retention in times of crisis or uncertainty is a tough nut to crack. Lack of previous experience and no one to guide you through the obstacles make the challenge seem even more difficult. However, technology and social media give us more possibilities than some people imagine. Today we will guide you through customer retention strategies that can be used by any brand.

The majority of marketers have tested and proven ways of acquiring and retaining customers. They know which tactics work, and which don’t. But sometimes there are unforeseeable situations, which leave many of us uncertain about the next steps. In fact, the ongoing crisis has left many marketers lost and without anyone to guide them. The current pandemic outbreak has confirmed that we’re not prepared for such circumstances. 

Many marketing professionals have turned to us looking for answers to this constantly repeated question: “What can I do to retain customers during this crisis?”.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the only way to connect with your online community is through digital channels. Social media networks, newsletters, Whatsapp Business and Messenger are the tools marketers should be using now more than ever before. Why? Because social media and messaging apps are where your customers are right now. They can’t visit your store and see your promo displays or contact you directly over the counter. Their only – and most comfortable – way to contact you is online. So today we will focus on online customer loyalty strategies that can be undertaken by any brand, big or small.

Why is customer retention important?

You must have heard that retaining a customer is cheaper than acquiring a new one. And this makes complete sense when your store is open and people can come in whenever they like. Existing customers are more likely to purchase from you again if they liked your product and the service you provided. Especially, if you offer a great deal! This also applies during the ongoing lockdown; the people looking for your brand will be your existing customers, willing to purchase from you again. And this is why it is so important to show (now more than ever) that your clients matter to you. Through thoughtful promotions, deals and messages you can strengthen your customer relationships, and also improve the cash flow. 

The world hasn’t stopped but it has definitely slowed down. Social distancing keeps many people at home. We’ve all seen pictures of animals roaming around big cities, and the Himalayas coming into view for the first time in 30 years in India. The impact on the environment is fantastic but the economic situation is becoming more daunting. Many sectors have noted a decrease in sales, profits, and some have even closed their doors to business. 

According to Euro News, on April 4, 2020, half of the human population was in some sort of lockdown. Businesses should look at these numbers as an opportunity rather than a threat, as today’s technology allows us all to stay connected. 

Statista conducted market research on in-home media consumption during the ongoing crisis. The results showed a 44% increase in time spent on social media worldwide and a 48% increase in time spent on computer and video games in Spain. Can you now see why online customer retention should be your top priority right?

Market research from Statista on in-home media consumption during coronavirus. It shows how it increased and proves that businesses should now focus on online customer retention

There’s no point in even thinking about traditional or in-store marketing right now. And looking at the above numbers you must already know that your main focus should be on digital marketing. 

If your business is based online you may have many different ways to contact your customers. However, if you have an offline business that is now shut you might have more difficulties to connect with your audience. 

Start by thinking about the customer data that you already have. Email addresses and phone numbers will come in handy! You can easily create a Whatsapp business account or go ahead with email marketing to reconnect with your customers. 

But what can you do if you don’t have any of this information? Then it’s time to boost your social media channels, and aim to reach your regular customers to gather their data, or simply share other channels of communications, such as your phone number and email like in the following example.

Example of online customer retention. Screenshot of a company sharing their contact details on instagram.

So once you’ve solved the problem of reaching your audience it’s time to carry on with product promotion. Digital promotions will help you increase online sales, reinforce brand awareness, showcase your products and engage your audience. And incentivized participation will also increase customer loyalty and trust

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen some great promotions being created by our clients. Today we will share some of them with you and analyze their purpose, objectives, and success. Let’s have a look!

Retain customers with playable promotions: gamification

Let’s start by going back to the Statista research. In March, Spaniards increased the time spent on playing games by 48%. And as it happens, gamification solutions are one of the most recent trends in digital marketing and trust us – they work! 

By gamifying your marketing campaign you’re one step closer to boosting sales, and therefore increasing your profits. And by incorporating fun and a sense of competence into your strategy you will also notice new leads coming in, higher engagement, and more repeat business. But even in times when customers can’t purchase from you right at this moment, gamification comes in handy. 

Puzzle games engage customers and reinforce brand loyalty

Here’s an example of a gamified promotion from Leisure Depot, a home improvement, and gardening retailer. The business launched a branded Puzzle where users arrange the jigsaw pieces into the correct order. 

Example of customer retention with a branded online puzzle. Leisure Depot promotion

All users who complete the game before time runs out enter a random prize draw of a $25 store credit. So what does the brand get out of giving away such prize? In fact, quite a few things: new leads as users must register in order to join the draw, boost in engagement and brand awareness, increased customer loyalty and trust, and… customer retention! Next time the users need a new table for their terrace or a new swimming pool filter they will firstly think of Leisure Depot. 

Retain customers with a branded Memory game

Lovemore Music is a music store from South Africa that has been using gamification as part of their marketing for quite a while now. This time the company launched a branded Memory game where users pair the same images in the shortest time possible. Participants who complete the challenge will enter a random prize draw for a chance to win a ukulele.

Customer retention strategy: branded mini game organized by Lovemore Music

In order to participate in the prize draw, users left their contact details, so the company can target them in the future. Memory games are also fantastic to showcase pieces of new collections, or like in this example bestselling products. The brand gets to reinforce their brand and product awareness by launching a branded promotion. But why are gamified campaigns successful, you might wonder. The answer is very simple. There is a mutual benefit; the brand promotes itself, and the audience gets a chance to win along with some extra entertainment.  Memory games are also fantastic for retaining customers as the online community feels a sense of belonging with the brand.

Branded prize wheel to offer discounts and vouchers

Many might say that one of the best customer retention strategies is a coupon and voucher distribution, and we definitely see where they’re coming from. By giving your audience a chance to win some sort of store discount you work on creating important customer relationships. Here’s a fantastic example of a Spin the Wheel promotion created by Esthetics with Brittaney. The organizer decided to delight the audience with a variety of prizes such as free sample kits, facials, and $10 shop credit. 

Spin the Wheel promotion organized as part of customer retention strategies

Just like with all game apps by Easypromos users must register in order to participate in the draw. Therefore, the organizer expands their mailing list, improves customer satisfaction and trust, and ensures that the audience stays happy and engaged. During difficult times it is important to remind customers that you’re still there, and give them something to brighten their day. 

In situations like the current pandemic, you will tap into customers’ loyalty by distributing codes and vouchers without an expiration date, as no one can guarantee when everything will go back to normal. You can also set an expiration date as, for example, 2 months from the date of social distancing restrictions being lifted. 

Use social media to stay connected with your audience and engage them with giveaways

More free time means more time spent on social media. We’ve all experienced unlocking our phone and unconsciously tapping the Instagram icon to ask ourselves 30 seconds later “What am I doing?”. It happens to you, it happens to us, and it happens to your social media followers. And it’s time you take advantage of it! 

So even if your business is temporarily closed you can’t forget about your social media audience. And this is where brand humanization comes in. Sharing updates about your business, showing home offices or even posting messages of support will lead to emotional brand attachment. And retaining attached customers is much easier than acquiring new ones!

Social media giveaways to retain customers during the lockdown

Many brands don’t want to limit themselves to simple social media posts. They look for other ways of retaining customers and staying in touch with their online communities. And social media giveaways happen to be effective. Because what’s better than giving your audience a chance to win an exciting prize, something to keep them busy during the lockdown, or something to look forward to once we can move freely again? 

Yoga with Jennison organized an Instagram Giveaway which users entered for a chance to win a free online yoga session for them and two friends. The organizer asked the participants to mention two friends they’d invite for the yoga session, explain how yoga benefited them during the past month of lockdown, and follow the organizing account. 

Yoga giveaway as an example of customer retention

This simple giveaway grew the yogi’s social media following, boosted engagement, and reinforced social media presence along with brand awareness. Easy! 

Outdoor sports have been badly affected by the ongoing crisis. But it doesn’t stop the businesses from working on retaining their customers. Here’s another great example of an Instagram promotion organized by d’Aro Mas Nou Golf Club. The brand followed the steps taken by the previous giveaway; interested participants were asked to comment on the post and explain “how they’re keeping golf fit at home”, and mention a friend who could also be interested in participating. 

Golf giveaway example of customer retention with social media giveaways

The lucky winner walked away with a free entry to the golf course. 

If you’re looking to organize a giveaway on other social media networks visit our Giveaways section to discover all benefits and features of our social media giveaway apps. 

Retain customers with user-generated content

User-generated content is more authentic than any other content produced by brands. Therefore UGC also works immaculately to retain customers. By sharing pictures, videos, and texts obtained from your online community you show other members how users connect with your brand and use your products. So how do you obtain high-quality user-generated content? You know the answer. With contests

Photo Contest: a tool to retain customers

The contest apps by Easypromos allow you to easily collect pictures, videos, and texts generated by your audience. In order to submit the entry, the users fill in the registration form so you as the organizer expand your mailing list. If you want your promotion to go viral you can enable the voting system to encourage social media sharing

Customer retention photo contest

Here’s a great example of a Photo Contest organized by Pet Village Italia, an online pet shop. The brand invited their audience to share pictures of their dogs spending quality time at home. In return, they were getting a chance to win toys, beds, and food for their fluffy friends. By organizing such promotion you show your audience that they matter to you. And by sharing their pictures on your social media networks you tap into their sense of belonging with your brand.  

It’s time to retain your customers! 

We hope you’ve found some useful information and examples of customer retention strategies in times of uncertainty. But don’t worry if you still have some questions! Our Support Team is ready to help you. Online Chat with them now!

Kamila Palka

Kamila forms part of the Easypromos marketing team and holds a combined honors degree in Digital Media and Marketing, currently studying for a Master's Degree in Digital Marketing. Her tasks include everything that is content-related in English, including social media communications, new blog posts, product demos, and success cases. If she’s not working on a new content piece for Easypromos you will find her working out, skydiving, starting a new series, or spending time with her baby girl.

Publication date: 2020-04-21