How you continue to communicate after the sale is vitally important for maintaining lasting client relationships. Many businesses spend most of their marketing dollars on lead generation and finding new clients, but did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer? Part of a successful marketing strategy is maintaining your long-term client relationships and ensuring that you continue to deliver on the promises you made when you recruited them.
Retention is important and the proof is in the data. According to Yotpo, 60 percent of customers will tell family and friends about a brand they are loyal to. Good customer service and fostering successful relationships with existing clients will, no-doubt, set you apart from the competition. Your clients’ interest and their loyalty depends on how you communicate and what value you offer after the sale.
Here are our top five tips for creating and maintaining long-term client relationships with retention marketing strategies.
At the Root of Connection is Communication
Consider your own experiences with the businesses you are loyal to. What sets them apart from their competitors? Sure, the product they are selling plays a big role, but what about their customer service? Were the representatives attentive? Did they personalize your experience?
As with most relationships, the key is communication. Check in on your clients: How are they doing? What are their current pain points? How can you make their life easier? Do you have anything in mind that could improve their health insurance experience?
It is especially important to determine your client’s pain points. Just as you would ask them questions before you jump into your sales pitch, you want to employ similar tactics when checking in. What are they struggling with? What kind of experience are they looking for? For an individual client, for example, they may struggle with understanding health insurance terminology and how the system works, or maybe they have budget concerns that make it difficult for them to find a plan on their own. Recognize these pain points and tailor your messaging, both at the point of sale and beyond, to match those needs. If a client was concerned about budget at the point of sale, perhaps your mid-year communication should be a check in for how well the plan they chose has worked for their financial concerns. Get to know your clients and understand what they need from you so that you can continue providing high-quality service.
It is important to personalize your communication. Instead of sending a generic email to all your current clients at once, take some time to contact them individually and give them the time and attention they deserve for being your client. But the key with this communication is brevity. No one wants to wait a long time to have their issues resolved.
Mind your Ps and Qs
While there are plenty of elegant digital communication opportunities available to you, a simple, hand-written note can go a long way. Keep a box of stationary handy so that you can write “thank you” notes to your clients after a positive interaction. Keep the message simple and show your gratitude for their business.
Personalized notes show enthusiasm for your partnership and tend to stand out more than an email. For example, if you meet with a client for an annual review of their plan, it’s important to follow up with a “thank you” note about how grateful you are for their business. After all, without your clients, your boat doesn’t float.
Stand Out in a World Where Content is King
It is estimated that the average person is exposed to up to 10,000 ads every day, a large increase from up to 5,000 ads per day in 2007 (Yankelovich). That’s a lot of exposure, which means many messages are lost in the shuffle. You need your name to stand out among the noise, even after you have made the sale.
Though your current clients have already committed to your services, it is still important to make sure your message stands out against the competition. Keep your clients in the know about your business, how you are staying on top of trends in the market, how you interact with your community as a whole, and how you continue to adapt.
In the digital world, there are countless marketing tools you can use to maintain positive retention results. Can you guess what we’re going to suggest first?
That’s right. A well-constructed and easy-to-navigate website is also a must to encourage your clients to come back for your services. According to Accenture, 48 percent of all consumers have left a business’s website and purchased elsewhere because the website wasn’t easy to navigate. We have sung the praises of websites for years, but that’s because a well-designed and responsive website is a must-have for all businesses. Even if your business is small or runs entirely on referrals, you need a website. You need a clear way for potential and current clients to get in contact with you, whether that is through a “Contact” page, an online chat option, or a “Get a Quote” form.
Getting a website up and running is simpler than you may think. Plenty of web developers are available to help you get started with a site or update your existing site to be more user friendly. There are also a number of point and click tools online like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix, which are specifically designed to help those with no web design experience to put together a simple, functional website.
Do not overlook the reach of social media as well. According to a 2019 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, around 7-in-10, or 69 percent, of total U.S. adults use Facebook to connect with friends, family, and, now, businesses. Having a social media profile makes you even more accessible to not only potential clients, but current clients as well. Through social media, clients can reach you through chat, keep up with company updates on your profile, and make a personal connection with you throughout the year. Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are excellent places to start. For more information about social media for your business, check out the Build Your Brand webinar we presented with 2060 Digital earlier this year.
You can also consider offering your expertise is through a weekly or monthly newsletter. Include blog posts from your website, links to reputable sources, an update from your business, behind-the-scenes shots of your company at work, and so on. You also want to think outside of the box. What health and wellness topics can you highlight? Maybe you can try to run a Caption Contest in your newsletter and offer a $5 gift card to the winner. If you are an employee benefits broker, consider spotlighting your clients’ businesses in your newsletter.
What is working and what isn’t
Creating content that draws the attention of your clients will require trial and error. Keep an eye on your open rates and your clicks to get a better understanding of the kind of content your clients are interested in seeing. High open rates and high click rates mean the content you are providing is of interest to your clients.
There are plenty of resources out there to get you started, but in a digital world, good content is king. Don’t overlook it.
Invest in Your Clients’ Health Insurance Education
As their health insurance agent, you can give your clients the tools they need to make informed decisions about their health insurance. When you educate your clients, you give them the power to advocate for themselves and become better shoppers.
In a 2015 survey by PolicyGenius entitled “Seeing Health Insurance and Healthcare.gov Through the Eyes of Young Adults,” it was reported that only four percent of Americans are able to correctly define all four terms that determine how much they would personally pay for medical services and drugs they receive under their health insurance plan (co-insurance, deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, and co-pay).
Through webinars, ebooks, worksheets, etc., you can provide your clients with guidance on the finer points of health insurance. Consider a vendor like GoToWebinar or Zoom to conduct a monthly webinar series about the basics of health insurance or use the “Live” tool on Facebook to hold live Q&A sessions with your followers. Websites like Canva can be a great tool for putting together marketing materials like flyers, ebooks, and worksheets when you don’t have much experience with design.
You can also take the guesswork out of the education process and send out a survey to your clients to determine what information would be most helpful for them when they’re choosing a new health insurance plan.
*Cough Cough* Check Out the Build Your Brand Webinar Series *Cough Cough*
It’s important to continually educate yourself on fundamental marketing strategies that can help you not only attract clients, but keep them. Cornerstone’s Build Your Brand webinars are focused on helping you level up your marketing. We have archived all of the 2020 webinars on the Cornerstone Resource Center for your convenience. Look out for more information regarding the 2021 series, coming soon!
Client retention is a metric of your business’s health and your long-term success. You have the clients—now what are you doing to keep them interested? If you are focusing only on lead generation rather than fostering the relationships you have already built, then you are missing out on a very important piece of your business.
Cornerstone is available to help you come up with a client recruitment and retention strategy that build long-lasting relationships and improves your bottom line. Contact us today to find out what we can do to help.