Traffic, acquisition, and sales have always been critical priorities for marketers. Yet customer retention also plays a key role—but is too often neglected.

Interestingly, only 49% of small business owners have a customer loyalty or other retention plan in place, according to a Belly survey related to current small business marketing and retention activities. The 429 businesses surveyed represent a range of industries, and they use various marketing tools and solutions.

Here, I'm going to share five findings with the biggest impact for small businesses. I'll also share relevant marketing approaches to help you reach your growth and revenue goals.

1. 72% plan to allocate most of their marketing budget to customer acquisition

This finding was surprising, considering it costs up to five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one.

Only 28% of merchants surveyed said they were putting most of their budget into customer retention. This is a huge miss according to brand influencer Tamara McCleary, who says existing customers are 50% more likely to try a new product or service from someone they've done business with in the past.

So, how can marketers and business owners drive acquisition without sacrificing retention?

Consider the processes and teams already within your organization. Optimize customer service and experience with upsells that improve the overall buying experience.

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image of Jenny Beightol

Jenny Beightol is director of words and reputation at customer loyalty program Belly.

LinkedIn: Jennifer Beightol

Twitter: @jRoseBeezy