Attracting new clients is essential for a coaching business. However, retaining clients is even more critica, as it allows you to scale your business and grow your profits. In this blog post, you’ll learn what client retention is and why it’s important. You’ll also learn seven effective strategies to retain your coaching clients and increase your revenue.
What is client retention and why is it important?
Client retention refers to the ability of a business to keep clients over the long term. In other words, retention is your ability to turn people into repeat buyers and prevent them from switching to your competitors. Client retention is calculated based on how many new clients you acquire and how many of your existing clients churn, i.e. cancel their subscriptions or don’t return to use your services again.
Loyal clients can dramatically contribute to the health of your coaching business by promoting your brand, providing referrals, and giving feedback so you can improve your service. Therefore, it’s critical to keep an eye on your client retention rate (CRR).
The client retention rate is the percentage of clients you have managed to retain over a given time period. The formula to calculate your CRR looks like this:
Let’s look at an example. Suppose you have 200 clients at the beginning of a period. This period can be one week or three weeks, one month or four months, one year or two years — whatever you choose. Let’s say that within two months, you acquire 10 new clients. At the end of this two-month period, you have 130 clients. Let’s calculate your client retention rate according to the formula:
(130 - 10) / 200 × 100% = 60%
The average client retention rate varies from industry to industry. However, the closer to 100%, the better.
Coaches that implement a strong client retention strategy can reap the following benefits:
- Higher profits. The likelihood of selling to an existing client is higher than the likelihood of selling to a new client, as existing clients already know your services well and have reasons to trust you. Therefore, they display more loyalty to your business.
- Lower marketing costs. Reliable retention strategies generate a powerful flow of new clients coming from referrals. That means you don’t have to spend as much money on advertising because your loyal clients will do it for you.
- More clients. Repeat clients who are satisfied with the service they’ve received are happy to continue working with you and will tell people about their experience. So you’ll get more clients through word of mouth advertising and keep those who have already purchased from you.
- Credible marketing insights. Retained clients are your best source of information on your audience’s purchasing patterns and decision factors. By analyzing what drives long-term customers to purchase your services, you can better understand how and why leads turn into clients and how to refine your targeting efforts.
- More upselling opportunities. Repeat clients are more likely to try your new services than are new clients, as repeat clients trust you more.
There are two factors that create client loyalty and determine whether you’ll be able to retain a client — the quality of your coaching services and the client experience. The quality of your coaching services is about how competent you are and how strong your expertise is, whereas the client experience is about how well you understand your client’s journey and how enjoyable you make it. The client experience is influenced by the quality of your coaching.
You can be an excellent coach but provide a poor client experience. That means high-quality coaching itself or a great client experience itself isn’t enough. It’s essential that you pay close attention to both of these things, as they are key to getting more repeat business.
How to retain your coaching clients: 7 effective strategies
Now that you know why it’s critical for your business to retain clients, let’s dive deep into how to actually do it. Without a doubt, there will always be clients who fall off for a variety of reasons. However, there are so many things you can do that really make a difference when it comes to keeping your clients. We want to share seven proven strategies to help you retain your coaching clients. Let’s take a look at them.
#1. Collect feedback from your clients
It’s extremely important to solicit client feedback. Clients appreciate when you’re open to constructive feedback, as this makes them feel valued and heard. Also, collecting feedback allows you to ensure your services fulfil your clients’ needs.
Make it a habit to collect feedback throughout the year in various ways, such as by asking open-ended questions on social media, sending emails with questionnaires, inviting people to fill out a form on your website, and conducting polls. You can also use tools like Qualaroo or Typeform to solicit client feedback. If clients are comfortable with it, let them provide their feedback through a phone call or video call.
Asking the right questions and conducting your surveys using a service that’s easily accessible to clients will allow you to get useful and relevant feedback. Whatever place and format you choose, ensure you’re ready to accept your clients’ freely spoken feedback and don’t ignore what they say.
Some key questions you might want to ask your clients are as follows:
- What is your main goal for using my service?
- What expectations did you have about my coaching? Were they met?
- What changed for you after we started meeting?
- Do you feel my service is worth the cost?
- What are your main concerns about my service?
- What have you enjoyed the most / the least about my service?
- How likely are you to recommend my service to your friends or colleagues?
It would also be a good idea to offer something in return for feedback. As a rule, clients are more likely to provide feedback when they have had a negative experience than when they have had a positive one. To encourage feedback from your clients, offer incentives. These can be a discount on the next coaching session, exclusive content that can’t be found on your website, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your incentives should be of value to your clients.
#2. Contact your clients before they contact you
The second strategy you can implement is probably the easiest thing that you can do: Simply contact your clients before they contact you. This does wonders for the relationship, since clients are busy and don’t always have the time to stay in touch with you as much as they would like. By contacting your clients first, you get an opportunity to build trust with them and show that you care and have their best interests in mind.
You can contact your clients via various channels. The most common are email and social media.
Contact via email
Email allows you to reach out to clients that were interested in and engaged with your business but have gone cold. Note that you’ll need a series of emails for this purpose rather than a single email.
You can send emails to:
- Thank clients for making a first purchase
- Share newsletters about services that are relevant to your clients
- Offer bonuses on birthdays, holidays, and subscription anniversaries
- Remind clients about loyalty programs
An important aspect to remember about emails is that it’s best to personalize them.
According to a report by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, emails with personalized subject lines have a 50% higher open rate than emails with generic subject lines. Of course, you can’t make each and every email unique. However, you can send automated personal messages by segmenting clients based on characteristics like gender, services purchased, location, and engagement level. It’s also effective to address people by their first name.
Contact via social media
Social media is becoming more integrated into our everyday lives and can serve not only personal but also business purposes. According to Statista, there are over 3.6 billion people using social media every day globally. With this number of daily active users, leveraging the power of social media to retain your existing clients is an effective practice.
When contacting your coaching clients via social media, follow these three tips:
- Interact personally with your clients. Although most of your business is done online now and you meet clients predominantly online, people still value personal communication. It makes them feel appreciated, connected, and valued.
- Keep in touch. Always bear in mind that your interactions with clients can go two ways — you can reach out to your clients and they can reach out to you on social media. Clients are likely to forget about you if you don’t reach out to them. Like and comment on your clients’ posts, react to their stories, retweet them, etc. Such an approach can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Just make sure your interactions remain genuine and positive.
- Respond in time. A missed message or a message without a timely response can easily mean a lost client. Clients expect prompt replies from you. Never leave a client without a response for a long time. It’s perfect if you can respond within a few hours, especially during business hours. If you have no time to respond immediately, make sure to acknowledge their message and give a time frame for a reply.
To learn more about how to grow your business with social media, read our comprehensive 8-step guide to promoting your coaching business on social media.
#3. Offer loyalty programs
Another effective way to retain clients is to offer special discounts to clients making regular purchases, such as with a loyalty program. When executed properly and with your clients put at the center, a loyalty program can help motivate your clients to continue purchasing from you instead of your competitors.
Client relationships are successful when both you and your client feel you’re getting something beneficial from the relationship. Your clients support you by buying from you. In return, a loyalty program (offering discounts, freebies, etc.) affirms that clients are receiving something in return. Loyalty programs are beneficial for both parties.
Apart from improving client retention, offering a loyalty program to your coaching clients can bring you benefits such as:
- Increased repeat business
- Higher revenue
- Stronger client relationships
- Differentiation from your competitors
- More word-of-mouth marketing
- Greater client satisfaction
#4. Implement a referral program
A referral program is one of the best ways to grow your coaching business. With a proper referral program, you can encourage existing clients to use word of mouth to market your coaching business.
Implementing a referral program can be extremely beneficial for your business. Just look at these mind-blowing statistics:
To encourage people to refer those within their circle to you, you can reward your existing coaching clients and therefore drive repeat bookings. You can do this by offering various incentives, such as by providing your service at a reduced rate, giving people something for free, or providing access to special content.
#5. Develop your personal brand
Clients like to buy from and engage with coaches who appeal to them and who they connect with on different levels. When coaching experts invest in creating and shaping their personal brands to show who they are and what they stand for, they have the chance to retain clients.
Coaching is a fast-growing industry, and this signals stiff competition. That means no matter whether you’re just starting your coaching business or you’ve already been in the game for a while, you want to stand out and be recognized in an increasingly saturated industry. Developing your personal brand is a key step towards building trust with your audience.
A powerful personal brand is an elaborated blend of your life story, skills, expertise, energy, character traits, beliefs, values, tone of voice, and the way you talk, present yourself, act, and dress.
By investing time and effort in consciously shaping and cultivating your personal brand, you get the opportunity to:
- Become an in-demand coach
- Build trust with your clients
- Enjoy word-of-mouth marketing through referrals
- Quickly expand your audience and client base
- Become a recognized industry leader
#6. Share valuable content throughout the engagement
One of the easiest ways to retain your clients is to share relevant and valuable content with them. By regularly sharing content, you demonstrate that you’re keeping your clients in mind outside of your scheduled coaching sessions.
To retain a client, you have to build a relationship with them. While you can’t sit down and talk to every client in person, you need a tool to substitute a real conversation. Content is one of the best ways to do that, as it helps to answer people’s questions, solve their problems, and show your expertise, thus building trust with your clients.
Nothing resonates with clients as much as compelling content that describes and helps solve the problems they face. You can choose various types of content and various channels through which to share it with your clients. Blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, podcasts, white papers, presentations, social media posts, and photos can be shared on your website and social media profiles or in email newsletters.
By publishing enough original educational content, you’ll get an engaged audience that trusts you. It’s best to combine different types of content. By providing your clients with relevant content on a regular basis, you create a positive brand perception, and when clients think of coaches, you’ll be the first who will come to mind.
#7. Make the client experience as easy as possible
In today’s highly digitized world, making people’s lives less stressful and more convenient is critical. Ensure your client experience is as easy as possible. You can offer convenience in many different ways.
The best way to enhance the client experience is to leverage technology to send automated session reminders, let your clients book sessions online on their own from any device, let them reach you through various channels, etc.
All the abovementioned and even more can be achieved using relevant software for online coaching. You can use various tools for different purposes, or you can use an all-in-one platform like ExpertBox. ExpertBox is an all-in-one solution designed for coaches to share their expertise globally, expand their client base, and grow their business. It features all necessary tools to streamline both the client and expert experience.
With ExpertBox, you and your clients will be able to stay in touch as well as to keep and share important information in one place and manage it on the go.
Want to know how software can support your business and what software solutions you may need to streamline your coaching? Read our blog post on must-have general-purpose software any coach needs to run an online business effectively in 2021.
Which of these seven client retention strategies are you considering implementing? Whether you select three or all seven, ensure you stick to them until you observe an improvement in your client retention rate. Subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about running and growing your coaching business.