Having a high churn rate can cause your business to burn out fast. If customers are not returning/continuing their subscriptions/reviewing your services or product favorably, then you have a problem. The tough part can be figuring out exactly how to reduce your churn rate without turning the business upside down. Going about things in a broken piecemeal way can make your problem worse. That’s where a technical SEO audit comes in.
The process of a technical SEO audit is what’s going to identify your critical problems. Those problems won’t strictly affect your SEO ranking, either. We want to show you just how those factors also affect your customer retention and churn rate. By identifying your business’s fundamental issues through a technical SEO audit, you can go about fixing them.
What’s Your Churn Rate?
To be clear, your “churn rate”, also known as “attrition” rate, is the number of former customers you have in any given span of time. You can also define “churn” as a loss of potential revenue but that is a far less common approach.
Do you know your annual churn rate? Month to month? Many business owners overlook this question until business starts to slow down or plateau.
To find your rate, just identify the number of customers that unsubscribe in a year. If you don’t have a year’s worth of data, you can use data by month. Once you know how much you’re losing, figure out what percentage that is from your entire customer base. If you don’t have a working customer support or retention plan in place, it’s not uncommon to see a number as high as 15% for monthly churn.
Now that you know your number, what should your goal be? In any modern SaaS style business, a healthy goal is to get your churn rate down to about .5% per month. In any case, a maximum of 2% churn is accepted as a “natural” rate, though even that could be improved in many cases. Every case over that 2% is preventable- those customers can be retained. Getting to that optimal number is a process that will take some time to master.
The Importance of Customer Retention
Want to stay in business? Learn to keep your customers happy. That doesn’t mean you need to please everyone. It does mean that you need to identify the specific triggers that keep your ideal customers coming back for more and spreading the word to their family and friends.
If you aren’t worried about churn rate and take a more “there will always be fish in the sea”-type attitude, consider the following:
- Your product can be perfect, but up to 70% of those that churn will do so over a lack of support.
- Without a retention plan, half of all customers will switch services after five years.
- New customers are up to 7x more expensive to acquire than current customers are to retain.
- More than 1 in 10 frustrated customers, those that “churn,” will publicly complain about your business.
- Though asking for feedback is useful, 26 out of 27 people would sooner abandon your product than speak up.
Depending on the technologies you use, and the systems you have in place already, how you choose to solve those issues is up to you, though a thorough audit will make it easy by pointing out the how and why of your problems as well as discovering what they are. That’s how hiring a professional that has dealt with situations like yours can save you so much time.
How an SEO Audit Can Boost Customer Retention
You may be wondering how improving your SEO will help with customer retention. On the surface, it seems like SEO is more of a concern when you need to grow your audience or customer base. In part, that’s true. However, many of the areas you will go over in the audit couldn’t be more relevant to your current customers.
By performing a thorough technical SEO audit, you’ll see where your customers might be stumbling. Has something broken and gone unnoticed? Is there a lack of resources or support for a given item? These are very basic things, but they are also critical to retaining your customers. It’s easy for someone to get frustrated to the point of looking for another service if they encounter too many broken links or too much thin content.
Technical SEO Audits can identify weak spots like:
- Thin and Subpar Content
- Broken Links, Images, and Files
- Interrupted Flow of Content
- Inconsistent Branding
- Format and Display Problems
- Long Load Times
- Social Media Integration Issues
- Support Visibility
A technical SEO audit may be your first step in this customer retention process, but it doesn’t end there. Once you know what’s going wrong, it’s up to you to fix it. How you do it will depend largely on your available resources, but the vast majority of repairs will be small like fixing broken links or conducting a content audit. Changing up your customer support team or shifting to another technology would be farther down on the list, if at all applicable.
Why Trust a Technical SEO Audit
Having a high churn rate can be frightening. You want that number to drop fast. Is this kind of process the best way to do that?
Reducing churn can be a long term process. However, by going through this process, though it may seem slow and tedious, you put your business on a solid foundation. Then, if you feel it’s necessary, you reduce the risk of making things worse if you take drastic action in the future. Even if you stay on an even keel, having an optimized base will give you a good idea on ways to expand your business in the future to solve possible customer retention issues.
Taking the time to perform a technical SEO audit is a serious commitment. Going in, it will take a substantial amount of time if you handle it all yourself. Of course, hiring an expert is another option which may yield better results both because of their experience in identifying weak points and because of their objectivity as an outsider. If you do choose to work with others, make sure that the audit they perform was done by a real person, not a program.
If you’re still set on performing your own technical SEO audit, your best bet would be to find an online checklist or walk through- at least the first time. From here you’ll be going through every facet of your business’s online presence down to the most basic levels. Everything must be given a thorough once over to determine exactly where your SEO problems and underlying customer retention issues lie.