Post-Holiday Retention Begins Now

If you’re a retailer, a nonprofit or really any business for that matter, you’ve likely devoted the past few months to building, optimizing and executing your end of year and holiday marketing campaigns. The largest sales season of the year, the holidays also generate exciting pops in your website traffic, expanded engagement across your social channels and likely a significant number of interactions with brand new customers. With the retail environment buzzing with competing brand messages, the latest products and ‘unbeatable’ promotions, Holiday is a time to boost your acquisition efforts to get the attention of, and convert new audiences.

The most ideal scenario for any business is to use the holidays to nurture loyal customers, acquire new ones and then transform those audiences into long term value, repeat buyers or donors. But what we often find is that many customers who engage or purchase during Holiday end up representing just a one-time only buy. After excitement over new products and special deals slowly fades out, the trend seems to be mirrored in the customer base. So, what can retailers and nonprofits do to change that? How can we transform relationships from the “one and done” to long term? Here are a few key strategies to consider:

Start Analyzing Past Trends Now: While a lot of businesses build out their retention strategies after the holidays, the process should actually begin in tandem with your holiday outreach. Dig into your data to determine the customers that are most likely to have retention issues. Look at when and through which channel they engaged with your brand, their customer profile or persona, their purchase behavior, and any other data point that may suggest he or she is more challenging to keep around.

Make Difficult-to-Retain Customers Your ‘Testing Playground’: The ideal situation during the holidays is to obtain new audiences that provide long term value to your brand or nonprofit. But more often than not, we experience the “one and done” customer or donor – someone who makes one purchase or donates once during the season of giving, and then disappears soon after. Instead of losing all value in these relationships, develop creative strategies around the customers who are more difficult to retain in order to potentially re-pique their interest. Test different campaigns to keep them engaged, see what kind of content and cadence of messaging they’re more receptive to. Though they might not want to re-engage with your brand, it’s worth the shot to approach them for the simple sake of seeing what works and what doesn’t. Statistics show that once a customer purchases (or donates) for a second time, the likelihood that they come back to your brand becomes much higher, so the effort is definitely worth it!

Drive the Omnichannel Experience: Sometimes customers and donors don’t mean to lose touch with your brand. Particularly during the holidays, there is a lot of noise and distraction that can become very overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to be everywhere your customer is, while tailoring the experience to their specific needs, interests and preferences. The holidays are a critical time to ramp up your omnichannel strategy, but don’t forget to practice the same level of attention all year round.

Evaluate for Next Year: Now that you’ve done all the work in determining who your best audiences are, and have worked to retain them for the new year and next holiday season, you’ll need to evaluate what strategies worked best. Start immediately after the holidays by testing and evaluating for next year, so that this feedback can be looped into your 2016 holiday planning – it will be here sooner that you think!

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