When talking about growing a business, the first thing that comes to mind is acquiring new clients. That certainly works. However, there is a second option (that does not cancel the first), and it is a lot more productive that one would initially think. Instead of using all the resources to get new customers, some ought to be employed towards increasing the lifetime value of existing clients.

Customer lifetime value (CLV) is essentially a metric that shows how much net profit you can make from one customer over time. It’s what all corporate retention and loyalty programs are trying to achieve.

Entrepreneurs who do not have the resources to hire seasoned professionals to perform this activity still have a few aces up their sleeves that they can use to grow their customer lifetime value. Here are a few tips:

1. Make a great first impression

First impressions are long-lasting. Once a prospect has taken a step towards becoming a paying customer, you should spare no effort to make them feel really good about that decision.

Make sure that all the necessary information is provided. In the case of online learning, you need to ensure that you have very detailed and engaging tutorials on how to navigate the learning modules.

Highlighting the benefits of completing the course is also an excellent way to increase engagement and get people excited about enrolling.


Read more: What you can do about low online course completion rates


The best way to create a great first impression about your online course is to tailor it to your buyer persona – this way, it will feel like you know and care about them. There is no stronger incentive to be loyal to a business than the fact that they understand and resonate with you.


Read more: The entrepreneur’s guide to buyer personas for online courses [Part 1]


2. Give access to your knowledge base

Having an infrastructure of whitepapers, blog articles, podcasts, tutorials, and other self-help items is very important to modern learners. With so much content available online (not all of it very reliable), they really appreciate somebody taking the time to curate what is truly relevant.

Even if you feel that your course is rather exhaustive, take the time to provide some additional resources for those who may be interested. They will feel as if they are getting something extra for their money, and it will increase the chances of them staying on board and making new purchases from you.


Read more: How to curate content like a pro


Even if at some point they might also check out the competition, you’ll still be on the search list when they’ll be looking for e-learning programs.

3. Be present on social media

You probably are already aware of the importance of having several accounts on various social media platforms and being constant in posting and responding. The first reason for doing this was probably to reach a larger audience and consequently get more customers.

However, it also has a significant impact on maintaining the existing customer base. Especially since you probably are your business’ Customer Service, it’s paramount that you regularly check all feedback and respond to it in a timely manner.

Don’t shy away from criticism and respond even to negative comments to the best of your ability. It will show that you have faith in your products and stand by them. However, make sure not to get too argumentative or be offensive.


Read more: 4 Basic DOs and DON’Ts of responding on social media


4. Ask for feedback

I am not talking about those annoying automated forms we now seem to get from every company we ever come in contact with. People usually ignore those or give negative feedback just because they feel it was intrusive to be asked in the first place.

What you need to do to get the information necessary to increase the customer lifetime value is to gather actionable feedback from your clients. Ask open questions on social media about what they liked most in your courses and what they feel could use some improvements.


Read more: What questions to ask learners when you need feedback on your online course


Encourage discussions on these topics, see what most participants have to say, and then gather all that intel and put it to good use. It’s important you also let people know when you make adjustments based on their opinions, it will show you genuinely listen and care.

5. Build relationships

Speaking of listening and caring, those are two great foundations for building positive, long-lasting relationships with your customers. The best way of doing this is by staying connected and reaching out to them even when you don’t have something to sell.

Often customers leave upon being disappointed with how they have been treated or feeling overlooked. You won’t be able to please absolutely everybody, but if you give it your best shot and people see that you are truly making an effort, it will incline the balance in your favor.

It’s essential to be present and courteous at every point of interaction a client has with you and your brand. In a world where a lot is already automated, the human touch is very much appreciated.


Read more: 9 Tips on how to build a learning community using LMS tools


6. Make buying in bulk attractive

Finally, we get to talk about money. Increasing customer lifetime value is ultimately about revenue. Having attractive packages or subscriptions available can convince potential clients to opt for those and buy more in one purchase.

They are less likely to walk away and search elsewhere when they have already committed to a lengthier collaboration with you.

While it’s important not to come off as pushy about this, it’s also good to remind them of these options from time to time and try to sweeten the pot as much as possible with discounts, free content, and even contests and giveaways. Gamification techniques still work wonderfully with today’s digital customers.


Read more: Masterfully using deadlines to sell more courses


Closing thoughts

With so much talk about staying afloat and riding the storm, it’s essential that entrepreneurs also focus on growing their businesses. Increasing customer lifetime value is an excellent way of ensuring a stream of revenue and a bright future for the brand.

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