Boost Your Business with Client Retention
By Angie Dubis on Aug 10, 2015
Do you know how much it costs you to acquire a new client? The average cost can vary widely depending on the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. The acquisition cost calculation should include what you are spending on marketing programs such as social media, labor costs, postage and collateral developments (flyers, postcards, etc.). By tracking new client acquisitions and totaling costs on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly and monthly) you can then determine which marketing strategies are working and how much you are paying for each new client.
You may want to rethink your strategy if you spend $500 in marketing in one month, but only acquire 2 new clients. On average it shouldn’t cost you more than $20 to acquire a new client.
When it comes to spending your marketing dollars it is important to remember that the best money is spent on keeping an existing client. It can cost $20 to get a new client, but only $5 to keep an existing one. Plus, the more clients you keep, the less you have to acquire which reduces your overall marketing budget! This is one reason your marketing plan should include strategies to both acquire and retain clients.
A few simple and inexpensive marketing strategies that you can easily integrate into your practice include:
- Special Discount
- Offer Memberships
Present every new client with a special discount on their next service. I like to give a choice of either a free add on or a reduced cost. I change the offers every quarter to keep it fresh. An easy way to do this is to print postcards with the offers and any rules that may apply - make sure there is a place for an expiration date to be written in. When the client checks out, write in the expiration date (I give 1 month) and verbally explain the offer to the client, then offer to book their next appointment to guarantee they don’t miss out. Hopefully you have collected their email address so if they didn’t book you can send them a reminder to make the appointment before the expiration date!
Example: We hope you enjoyed your service at Your Company Name and would love to see you again soon! Visit us in the next 30 days and receive $20 off OR a complimentary foot exfoliation treatment with any 1 hour service.
Memberships are a great way to create consistency of income. How many members you accept and how you structure yours should be based on the size of your establishment and your clientele. I encourage therapists I consult to create simple and flexible membership programs. If you are a single practitioner who only wants to perform 20 sessions a week you may only want to accept 40 – 45 members. This allows you to schedule all your members while leaving enough room for new clients, non-members and members who have credit.
You auto charge members a discounted rate for their membership services each month whether they come in and use them or not. I prefer a membership model that can be canceled at any time without penalty as it takes away the fear of commitment some clients may have. Clients can use the sessions themselves or gift them to others if they wish. The sessions never expire, but cannot be refunded. I also have a policy to suspend auto charge if a client has not used membership services within the last 6 months. This ensures I don’t end up with a backlog of owed therapies.
Members receive special benefits such as discounted services, priority booking, transfer of services to gift certificates, member only services, complimentary refreshments and whatever else may make sense for you to offer. Just make sure you have a clear and concise membership agreement that includes permission to auto charge their debit or credit card. Both parties should sign the agreement.
Regardless of your marketing tactics you use, you should be sure to regularly analyze them for effectiveness. If you don’t, you won’t know what is and what is not working for your business. That said, you also have to be prepared to commit to a plan for at least 6 months. Marketing plans do not tend to be overnight successes. You have to initiate, analyze and modify as needed over the course of time to really be successful! Look at the techniques you are currently using and build on what has been working.