Customer Retention Guide
Now that we’ve explored some best practices for generating customer loyalty, let’s dive into a few proven examples of how leading brands define and execute their retention strategies. From onboarding to smarter segmentation to getting the most out of your testing programs, find out how today’s leaders across global industries are ensuring the customers they work hard to win over stick with them for the long haul.
In recent years, free trials have become all the rage and brands that employ these models can see a free trial conversion rate of 5-20%. From acquisition to activation and retention, this approach enables potential customers to experience the value of a brand before whipping out their credit cards. But in noisy markets like the dating app space, Today’s users aren’t just on the hunt for good value. They’re often looking to achieve a specific outcome. In the case of HUD, one of the world’s fastest-growing dating apps, that’s helping their 11 million users worldwide find more authentic connections using female-centric features, segmentation, and an empowering experience overall for the end-user.
HUD’s Founder and CEO Edward Chen asserts that companies need to think about more than just attracting new users. Don’t forget you’re on a mission to earn their commitment. While their key growth metric is the number of users who activate the app’s free trial, their long-term viability depends on their ability to convert users into paying subscribers.
To do this, HUD partners with CleverTap to keep users thoughtfully engaged with a suite of personalized campaigns. “We use personalized push campaigns to encourage users to try out every paid feature that is relevant to their needs before the trial ends,” says Chen. If the user doesn’t convert, HUD activates a suite of retention and excitement tactics that clues users into the experiences they’re missing out on in the paid feature. In the first two years since partnering with CleverTap, they’ve seen a 20% lift in user retention.
The company leverages CleverTap in three main ways:
“We gather data points about our user behavior,” says Chen. “CleverTap allows us to harness the information and use it to create campaigns that keep our users engaged.”
“Through CleverTap’s data analysis tools, we are able to gain a clear understanding of what steps our users take once they’ve finished the sign-up process,” Chen explains. “We then use this information to determine the most effective funnel to ensure a high subscription rate.”
“The effect that a single phrase or even emoji can make to a campaign would probably shock some people,” notes Chen. “CleverTap provides us with insights as to which words or emojis are connected to the best- and worst-performing campaigns.”
Having the right tools at your disposal is vital for brands to craft customer journeys that engage users across the entire lifecycle. Hand-in-hand with CleverTap, HUD is furthering its mission as a safer, more authentic, and more inclusive way for people to make meaningful connections.
What’s at the root of long-term retention? Trust. For companies to succeed at retaining customers, they must build their trust from start to finish. Nymbl Science knows the vital role trust plays in our lives. This fast-growing app offers an evidence-based mobility program to address falls, the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. They’re on a mission to help adults age while maintaining their independence and leading healthier and fuller lives.
By working to build trust among its audience and creating highly personalized user journeys to improve retention, Nymbl Science is seeing 30-day user retention rates twice those of the top 10 apps in the health and fitness category. Additionally, its campaign for fall prevention in the company’s home state of Colorado achieved 10x the efficacy of previous national campaigns.
The ability to keep more customers longer is the key to competitive advantage. We spoke with leaders at top companies to learn the approaches they follow to achieve stellar and sustainable success.
If you’re looking to take your communications to the next level, ensuring you have the right data and the tools to leverage it will go a long way toward making your campaigns feel more personalized to the end user. “More data is more relevant,” shares CleverTap Co-founder & Executive Chairman Sunil Thomas. “More data means better context. When done well, this [combination of automation and AI] accelerates your experimentation cycle; you can just carry out a lot more tests and iterations in a shorter period of time to get your customers into better places than they currently are.”
This goes double for John Spottiswood, Chief Operating Officer at Jerry, the AI-driven car insurance comparison service that has since launched an auto refinancing service. “Automation and AI are essential,” he says, but it can only take you so far without the ability to tap into the right data. “Driving lasting loyalty demands deep insights to reach customers on their journeys and the capabilities to make the shopping experience for insurance as simple as the experience of looking for a flight in Expedia.” Use your data to inform your marketing content around informing, engaging, and entertaining customers to keep them coming back for more.
If your goal is to increase stickiness, your messaging needs to be as dynamic as your customers are. Using CleverTap, organizations like India-based private lender Federal Bank segment messaging to meet customers exactly where they are in their journey.
Be thoughtful in your communications, and your customers will reward you with lasting loyalty. This is the blueprint Drew Williams, Co-Founder of Press Sports, a thriving and fast-growing community of nearly 300,000 registered users—including student athletes, coaches, parents, athletic recruiters, and fans—in more than 70 countries. He points out that “it’s a lot easier to resurrect a user than to buy a new one.” But it’s more than messaging the right crowd, Drew says. “You’ve got to be careful with it because either they just forgot about the app and they have some other stuff going on, they’re not focused on it, or they just didn’t enjoy the app, or they lost value in it.”
CleverTap can help you track a wide range of engagement activities to measure the value of your campaigns in real time. To ensure users don’t unsubscribe or delete your app, monitor key engagement metrics like how many of your communications translate into app visits or CTA clicks.
Every lifecycle stage presents brands with an opportunity to help customers build the habits that lead to brand loyalty. Try identifying specific high-value actions or behaviors that connect to your key growth drivers instead. This is the advice of Cory Jones, Co-Founder and Head of Music at TREBEL, the ad-supported music app that lets users listen to music offline, on-demand and anytime. Jones advises brands to build their strategy around encouraging users to perform one or two actions to create stickiness and shape usage habits. In practice, that means enabling users to import their music library. “At that point, the app becomes more sticky, you’ve made an investment in the product, and we find the retention for that group is significantly higher,” Jones explains. While their number one goal may be to get users to download a set quantity of songs, building their habit within the app using CleverTap has been critical to retaining users long-term.
Customer segments and their requirements are constantly in flux, which puts pressure on marketers to match the right message with the right audience to demonstrate value and drive retention. To keep pace with change, companies must bake A/B testing and iteration into their company DNA. “You can get laser-focused on what works and then really start driving more engagement in order to retain users because when it comes to app retention, a 10% increase in user retention can increase the value of your business by more than 30%” explains Joshua Shorter, Marketing Director at M2Catalyst, a mobile software development and distribution firm headquartered in California. “And so, testing really helps you to get there, to see what is most likely to retain our users and what’s most likely to push them away.”
Taking steps to enhance your customer retention may not generate overnight results. Still, by focusing your energy on keeping the customers you’ve already worked so hard to win over, your organization can unlock sustainable, long-term growth. With smarter segmentation and personalization, you’ll be equipped to create the cohesive user experiences today’s consumers crave and transform first-time customers into sought-after brand loyalists.
For more retention strategies and tips for driving higher customer lifetime value, check out our recent guide.