Small Business Marketing Guide

11. A Customer Marketing Program for Your Business

Next Read: 25+ Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Running A Business

A Customer Marketing Program for Your Business

Jul 05, 2023 • 10+ min read
Millennials on phones and computers
Table of Contents

      In today’s fast-paced and competitive market, it’s crucial to have a solid customer marketing program in place. Why? Because it’s all about keeping those valuable customers coming back for more. So, grab your favorite cup of coffee and get ready to discover the secrets to creating an outstanding customer marketing program that will make your business thrive. Let’s dive in!

      What is customer marketing?

      Customer marketing is any marketing activity targeted toward current customers, instead of new ones. These efforts focus on improving customer retention and loyalty while encouraging them to become evangelists for your brand.

      Acquiring new customers can cost up to seven times more than getting a former customer to return. Marketing to your existing clients is a way to save money while growing your business.

      Setting goals for your customer marketing strategy.

      To create a successful marketing customer strategy, you need to set goals that you can track. With so many different tactics to try, setting goals will help you focus your efforts, so you don’t waste time or resources.

      Measuring current performance.

      The first step to setting goals is measuring where you’re currently at. Determine which metrics you’d like to use and then gather data about how your business performs in those areas. 

      Some metrics to consider:

      • Returning customers vs. new
      • Revenue from returning customers vs. new
      • Number of customers enrolled in your loyalty program
      • Referrals
      • Customer reviews
      • Frequency of customers upgrading their account

      Understanding where your business currently stands gives you a base that you can use to set realistic goals and track results. 

      Setting goals

      Once you have your baseline, you can set your goals based on what will be most beneficial for your business. If you own a SaaS company, it may make sense to use your marketing customer efforts to get your current customers to upgrade their accounts. While if you run a business that sells baby food, introducing a new product to existing customers may be more beneficial. Evaluate your business and what metrics you’d like to focus on, and then set a realistic and measurable goal.

      Understanding your customers.

      Now that you have goals set for your customer marketing, you need to understand those customers to create a program that will speak to them. A big part of customer marketing is having happy, satisfied customers, and it’s hard to delight someone if you don’t know who they are or what’s important to them. 

      Identify customer segments.

      Look at your current customer base and see if you can find any commonalities between them. Let’s say you run a small accounting firm, and most of your clients are either owners of small businesses or directors of nonprofits. You could create two different customer segments for those groups because they have similar interests and needs within their grouping.

      While each of your customers is unique and has their own needs, try to find two to three primary groups with similarities in how they use your product. Breaking your audience into segments will help you personalize your marketing efforts for each group.

      Conduct market research and customer analysis.

      Gather as much information as possible about these customer segments using market research and talking to your current customers. Using market research, you can learn about trends in the industry and get ideas for how to serve each segment better. 

      Analyzing your current customers is another excellent way to understand each segment better. Do you notice any trends within how each group performs? Do you or your sales team get similar questions or requests from a particular segment? 

      You can also ask for customer feedback to learn how you can help improve their experience or what you already do that they love. 

      Create customer personas.

      Using this data and research, you can create customer personas for each audience segment. A customer persona is a fictional representation of one of your audience segments based on data and research. Creating personas will help your team better empathize with your customers and help you personalize your marketing.

      Elements of a customer marketing program.

      The key elements of a successful customer marketing program involve acquisition, retention, and advocacy strategies.

      Customer acquisition strategies.

      When planning your acquisition efforts for customer marketing, you want to ensure that you reach the right audience and acquire customers who will return. Use your customer personas to place your marketing efforts in the proper channels, so that your target audience will see your business’ campaigns. 

      Strategies for acquiring customers:

      • Social media campaigns – Use social media to reach your target audience through paid posts or giveaways.
      • Display ads – Get ads for your business in front of your target audience, no matter where they are, with display ads. 
      • Referral programs – We’ll discuss referral programs more later, but asking for referrals is one of the best ways to acquire new loyal customers.
      • Content marketing – Creating content that cements your business as an expert builds trust with your audience and leads to them naturally finding you through your content.

      Customer retention strategies.

      Now that you’ve acquired your target customers, how do you get them to return and become loyal? The best way to build customer loyalty is to provide an incredible customer experience. Eighty-nine percent of companies have reported that giving a great experience has improved customer retention. If you give your customers a terrible experience, they won’t return. 

      It’s essential to provide a great experience throughout the sales process and after if you want them to be returning. Here are a few other strategies to consider to improve your customer retention:

      • Loyalty programs and rewardsLoyalty programs incentivize your customers to keep returning to your business instead of your competitors. 
      • Personalized emails – Instead of sending generic emails, use your personas to personalize your emails as much as possible. 
      • Engaging content – Creating insightful content about your industry is a great way to get your customers to return and interact with your brand.
      • Contests or giveaways – Contests on social media keep your customers engaged with your brand and keep your business on top of their minds.
      • Text message campaigns – Stay in touch with customers, improve customer service and get to know your customers better through text message marketing.

      Customer advocacy strategies.

      The last element of an excellent customer marketing strategy is turning your loyal customers into advocates for your business. Customer advocacy means you’ve given your customers such a fantastic experience that they will encourage their friends, family, and anyone else to visit your business.

      Here are several word-of-mouth marketing strategies you can follow to encourage your customers to advocate for your business.

      • Encourage customer referrals – After a successful transaction with a customer, ask them if they can think of anyone else who would benefit from your services. 
      • Leverage user-generated content – Use social media campaigns to encourage your customers to share content that they create about your business.
      • Encourage customer reviews and testimonials – Encourage your customers to write reviews of your business and ask for feedback and testimonials. Testimonials give you great social proof that you can use to acquire new customers or bring existing ones back.
      • Create case studies – Work with some of your star clients to create case studies about how your product helped your client and then share it with potential and existing clients. These case studies will show existing customers different ways they can use your product and may lead to them upgrading their accounts.
      • Create a community of brand advocates – Help your customers connect by creating a community among your target audience. Having a community will encourage customers to return and invite their friends to join.

      Measure your efforts.

      Once you’ve implemented your customer marketing strategies, track how they perform over a period of time, like a month. Then compare how you performed over the last month to how your business had previously performed. Focus on the metrics that you identified and set goals for earlier. 

      Using this data, determine what improvements or changes to make to your strategy. Continue to track your data and make adjustments to continue to see progress.


      Customer marketing is an excellent strategy for increasing revenue without as many costs as acquiring new customers from scratch. These strategies will improve customer loyalty, which is a crucial element for achieving growth in your business. Set your goals and create a customer marketing program to increase customer retention and turn them into brand advocates.

      About the author
      Kendra Madsen

      Kendra Madsen is a content strategist, UX writer, and digital marketing consultant for small businesses. She has written hundreds of articles for small businesses in many different industries, using SEO best practices. When she isn’t writing or obsessing about the latest marketing trend, she can be found outside mountain biking or playing at the park with her son and dog.

      Share Article:

      Business insights right to your inbox

      Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for industry news and business strategies and tips

      Subscribe to the newsletter

      Subscribe to our weekly newsletter for industry news and business strategies and tips.