20 / 07 / 23

What is Retention Marketing? – How to nurture clients with your copy

Marketing is all about spreading the word, right? Enticing new leads with knock-out campaigns and growing your customer base. But what about the ones you’ve already secured – don't they deserve a little love? That's where retention marketing comes in.

Retention marketing is the art of keeping existing customers faithful to you while reaping the benefits of their repeat business. And one of the best ways to do this is through your copywriting channels. 

Writing long, heartfelt emails to ‘old’ clients may not be at the top of your marketing to-do list – but it should be. And this guide will make it easy for you to master the principles of retention marketing copy, even if you have zero marketing experience.  

Here’s how to nurture those valued customers with retention-focussed marketing copy that guarantees undying loyalty and financial rewards for your business  

What is retention marketing – and why does it matter? 

Retention marketing is a strategy aimed at retaining your existing customers to maximise their value. It may seem less exciting than the prospect of seducing new leads, but retention marketing makes good business sense for several reasons. 

Firstly, retention marketing is a more cost-effective form of marketing than lead acquisition. Research shows acquiring new customers can cost up to 25 times as much as keeping your existing ones. And because your existing customers are already familiar with your value proposition, you don’t have to waste time, energy, and resources convincing them each time with a full sales pitch.  

In fact, by capitalising on the customer relationships you’ve already worked hard to establish, you’ve got a 60-70% chance of making a sale. This drops significantly to just 5-20% when selling to a new customer.  

What’s more, returning customers tend to spend more than first-time buyers. This is true whether you’re selling products or services. Research shows existing customers spend 31% more than new customers, meaning retention marketing is not only more effective than lead acquisition marketing, but also more profitable.  

Are you sold yet? 

In short, retention marketing is easier, cheaper, and yields a higher return than marketing that’s focussed solely on winning new leads. Plus, when done right, all those happy, well-loved customers who keep coming back for more will tell their friends – et voila! Your retention marketing campaign has evolved into an organic acquisition coup d'état.  

So, let’s break this down and look at some of the copywriting techniques you can use to nurture your existing customers and squeeze them like the ripened fruit they are.     

Retention marketing channels 

Retention marketing is all about building strong relationships with your customers. One of the best ways to do this is through your digital copywriting channels. These include:  

  • Emails 
  • Newsletters 
  • Social posts 
  • Sharable online content  
  • Blog articles 

(Just so we’re clear, copywriting refers to the words you use to communicate your brand message and sell your product or service. Whether that’s a 280-character Tweet or a blog post of biblical proportions, it’s all copywriting.)  

The channels you choose to focus on will depend on your business offering and your customer demographic. For example, a younger audience is more likely to engage with social posts and sharable content than an older client base that prefers longer email copy they can enjoy reading over a coffee.  

You may have to experiment to find the sweet spot that works for your business. But no matter which retention marketing channels you choose to use, the same basic principles apply – and the biggest one is gaining and maintaining trust.  

Creating trust with retention marketing copy   

In just the same way you know you can trust your closest friends, a well-loved customer will come to rely upon your business. But trust must be earned.  

There are several ways you can use copywriting to build and nurture your customer’s trust.  

The first step is showing them they’re valued from day one. This can be as simple as sending a personalised ‘thank you for your purchase’ email or a ‘welcome’ message if you’re onboarding them to your service.  

People like to feel seen, so think carefully about the words you use. The goal is to make your customer feel special while making a stand-out impression for your brand. Acknowledging your customer early on in their journey with a personalised on-brand message ensures you have their attention as well as their business.  

This example from digital lifestyle brand Fatherly does a great job of balancing its brand message and tone with a personalised welcome that makes the reader feel seen.  

Building a relationship 

You've initiated a conversation with your customer. Now, they're primed for the wooing phase. This means showering them with tokens of your affection – or at least the copywriting equivalent. See, offering your customers free and relevant ‘gifts’ of value shows them you’re sharing, caring, and willing to invest in this relationship.  

Creating useful content around your business and its offering is the gift that keeps on giving. You can do this by writing and sharing relevant:  

  • How-to and buyer’s guides 
  • Product comparison reviews 
  • Roundups of industry news 
  • Professional insights and tips  

These are all good ways of providing your existing customers with added value.  

Including free content like this in your emails and newsletters will encourage customers to open them and even look forward to you landing in their inbox. You can also publish snippets of this copy on your website and share links with your clients via social media, creating an engaging post and a call-to-action in one.     

Sharing your hard-won expertise for ‘nothing’ may feel like you’re being ripped off. But the return is well worth it when it comes to exploiting its retention marketing potential. 

Maintaining a strong relationship with retention marketing 

Retention marketing is all about the long game. No matter whether your existing clients return straight away or ghost you completely, consistency is key to showing them that your intentions are genuine and why they should give you more business.  

You can do this by providing content of value and delivering it regularly. This means setting a schedule and keeping to it. Whether it’s a fun Friday social post, a weekly newsletter, or a monthly blog article, don’t blow hot and cold with your customers if you want to maintain their trust.   

You also need to ensure the quality of what you’re sharing is consistently high and you deliver it in a way your customer expects. It's no good showing up with champagne one minute and a bottle of Babycham the next. The same goes for any retention marketing copy you put out there. Choose a format and brand voice that work for you and stick with them. This way, you create a sense of familiarity, and your customers will feel they know you.    

Once you’ve delivered the goods, a strong call-to-action at the end of your content is an invitation to keep your customer engaged. After all, no one likes to be left hanging. Including a link to a relevant page of your website to ‘find out more’ is a good way to gauge how your content was received and keep the conversation flowing. Think of it as a “I’ve had a great time – call me!”    

An exclusive relationship 

Treating your members or customers to exclusive, valuable content is a great way to make them feel valued, reward them for their loyalty, and encourage them to engage with you more. Exclusive content can be anything that inspires a feeling of privilege in your existing customers. Consider offering:  

  • Exclusive insights – a behind-the-scenes look at your business, how products are made, or interviews with your in-house experts   
  • Priority previews – like a sneak peek at a new product or service “we wanted you to be the first to know!”    
  • Inside info – share success stories from your long-term customers. Include tips and advice for existing customers on how they can emulate this success using your product or service.  

Getting personal  

Now you’re on first-name terms with your customer – literally – you can start tailoring your content specifically to them. This serves two purposes: firstly, the more relevant you can make your content, the more favourably your customer will view your company, product, or service. Secondly, personalising your content helps make your customers feel special – and who doesn’t like to feel special?  

There are several ways to produce personalised content. Some companies send customers personalised emails or offers on their birthday or to commemorate an anniversary, for example.  

You can also build email funnels that will send customers follow-up emails based on their recent purchases. Think “50 ways to use your new XXX”, “The 15 best places to take your new XXX”, “9 things you didn’t know about your new XXX”. You get the idea.  

Creating content to help your customer get the most out of your product or service is a great way to increase its value – and the value of your continued relationship – for not very much effort. Likewise, content that reflects your customer’s personal likes, dislikes, and interests not only shows you’re attentive but that you also want to make life easier for them.  

Whether it’s an email to tell them about a new product or service you know they’ll love or a link to one of your blog posts you know will make them laugh, these are all ways to say to your customers, “Hey, we’ve taken the time to get to know you, because you matter to us.” And this is the message you want to put out there with every piece of retention marketing copy you do, be it Tweet, email, social, or article.  

The feedback loop  

Messaging, no matter how good, will still only get you so far. What you need now is a two-way conversation – a feedback loop, to show you not only value your customers’ business but you’re also a good listener – you’re the full package. Their thoughts, feelings, and opinions matter to you, and you’d love nothing more than to hear them. 

In the same way you used your call-to-action to invite customers to make the next move, you can include links to feedback forms, surveys, or questionnaires at the end of your content to gain valuable insight into the minds of your customers – and don’t forget to thank them for their input! 

Even something simple (if time-consuming) like reading and responding to customer comments on your articles and social posts will generate a positive feedback loop. It’s also a good way of showing potential customers that your business is one that actions responses to complaints, requests, and suggestions, because you listen to – and value – your existing customers.     

And there you have it! By showing your current client base a little TLC with retention marketing copy, there are endless ways to keep them faithful while maximising profit margins in the process. 

Too busy, stressed or tired to produce your own retention marketing copy? Does the thought of writing scheduled newsletters, articles, and socials bring you out in hives? Don’t worry! That’s what we’re here for.  

Formation’s team of brilliant marketers and copywriters can help you come up with a retention marketing campaign – and implement it – so all you have to do is sit back and count all your happy customers. Get in touch today!  

Written by Emily Formation