The aim for a brand is often simple: gain new customers and make sales.
Imagine a perfect world:
Your marketing campaign has paid off.
You’ve successfully attracted new customers.
Maybe all that money you’ve spent on optimising your SEO has finally produced the results you were looking for.
Your brand is getting the recognition it deserves.
Huray! Objective complete, right?
Well, technically yes.
Did you know that about half of a company’s revenue comes from approximately 8% of their most loyal customers?
That’s a lot of profit for such a small group of people.
Your lead generation campaigns can be hugely successful, you can optimise your SEO as much as is humanly possible, but…
If your customers are dropping off after their first purchase then you could see these initial efforts as a waste of potential revenue.
The truth is, within that 8% are those who provide the reliable and repeat revenue that ultimately builds the foundation of your company.
Again, in that perfect world, you’d love to believe the quality of your products is enough to keep customers coming back.
And of course, the quality of the products will have a huge effect on customer satisfaction, but it may not be enough to bring them back on its own.
The majority of new customers need to be consistently reminded and guided towards their next purchase, ideally early on in their journey, and in a way that’s neither pushy nor rude.
Perceptions count, and can amount to what ultimately produces your most loyal customers.
So, how do you start building customer loyalty to create positive impressions?
Here are 6 ways:
1) Advise, don’t pester
Imagine you’re a parent.
Your kids are in the back seat of the car.
You’re on the way to a staycation.
No matter how many times you tell them, they just can’t help but scream “Are we there yet? ARE WE THERE YET?”.
It’s not what you want to hear, and the repetition of a question you’re not interested in gets extremely frustrating.
It gets to the point where you become angry, or you try to ignore them.
Don’t be the marketing equivalent!
Because nobody likes being pestered, especially by email.
One too many emails and you’ll lose a potential customer.
You also risk being labelled as spam…
Instead, the customer should be guided into their actions.
By the time you request reviews or referrals the customer should feel like they genuinely want to do so of their own accord.
And this requires a lot of groundwork to build trust and support through consistent messaging to establish a positive relationship.
Pestering doesn’t solely relate to the quantity of emails either, it’s also the timing.
If the customer receives an email 10 minutes after the purchase asking to review, will the customer even consider that? Probably not.
Email marketing should ideally act as guidance into a better relationship between the customer and the provider.
But all it takes is one too many emails and boom, the customer thinks you’re only after their money.
As obvious as it sounds, your email content is also hugely important.
What you choose to say needs to be entirely relevant to your customers needs, interests and behaviour. On top of this, there’s the relevant time to send these emails.
This is where journey mapping and marketing automation can be very useful.
It’s a tricky process, but it’s worth getting right.
Email marketing has been found to be the most effective channel for building customer loyalty, with a 56% success rate when done correctly. (Invesp, 2020).
2) Personalise your content
Ever been in the situation where you randomly hear your name being called and it immediately grabs your attention?
Our names are personal to us, which is why hearing them makes us engage. The same can be said for personalised marketing.
Which of these catches your attention the most?
We saw these shoes and thought of you, did you know that all of Nike’s range has 10% off this week?”
Did you know that all of Nikes range has 10% off this week?”
Of course, there’s a very slim chance that your name is Sam (but if it is, I hope I scared you).
But even if it isn’t, I’m sure the first message caught your attention the most. It is far more personalised, human and therefore engaging.
Personalising emails helps your customer feel acknowledged, which in turn creates the feeling you have their best interests at heart.
Personalisation takes segmentation to a whole new level.
Your emails not only target a specific group, but also align the message with the interests, values and attitudes of those customers.
Personalised content prevents emails from feeling generic. They demonstrate intent, the foundation for trust and friendship, which is ultimately what you’re trying to build.
3) Provide incentives
Sometimes, people just need a little incentive to take action.
Across the board, it’s pretty clear that incentives work.
There are thousands of reasons why a customer may be hesitant to make a repeat purchase, and it’s almost impossible to predict exactly what the reason is. But…
It may only take a small incentive for the customer to justify that next purchase.
You can frame this incentive as a reward for being a loyal customer, to show them you appreciate them.
And if you put a limited time on the offer, that can be the extra push people need to take immediate action, over fear of missing out.
Incentives don’t always have to be financial, either.
Ever noticed how there’s a sudden urge to get into shape come January? Average gym subscriptions spike to 12% in the New Year, compared to 8% for all other months.
The ‘new year, new me’ mindset is widespread, as many people are determined to get fit for the summer.
And of course, marketing within the fitness and wellness industries often takes full advantage of this time.
For example, a gym could offer a discount on their memberships for new members, or a protein brand could schedule the release of their new range of protein shakes for early January, as this is when consumers are starting their health kick.
In doing so, they’re taking advantage of psychological incentives in their marketing.
4) Provide a great customer experience
Are you providing your customers with an experience they’ll remember?
As a company, you can absolutely nail your products. However, if you’re not delivering a worthy customer experience, are your customers really going to remember you?
65% of consumers say they appreciate a positive customer experience more than great advertising (PwC).
So what makes for a great customer experience?
- Listening to feedback
There’s no such thing as a perfect company, so listening to and taking action on customer feedback should always be a priority.
Reputation is everything in a competitive market, so don’t give your customers reason to switch.
Feedback can also help create an in-depth understanding of who your customers are and what they’re looking for, so don’t waste this information.
- Your customer service is faultless
Customer service can make or break a customer’s experience.
Long waiting times or unresolved queries are often the biggest cause of a negative customer experience.
- Customer focus
The majority of customers will be under the impression you’re only out for their money.
However, if a customer feels like a brand or employee has gone out of their way to improve their personal experience, this can have a monumental influence on customer satisfaction.
If a customer has a positive experience after raising a query, they’ll start to humanise the brand.
Feeling like the company actually cares about their customers creates a positive experience and begins to build an emotional attachment.
Great customer experience can also do wonders for word of mouth marketing.
5) Match their values
A value is something that holds much importance to us.
A customer may value sustainability, inclusivity or even something as simple as integrity.
The secret lies in truly understanding your ideal customer persona.
Once you’ve grasped an understanding of which values they hold dearest, you can align these values within your brand’s campaigns.
This takes personalisation to a whole new level.
If you’re able to help your customers identify with the brand’s personality through tone of voice, your customers are more likely to listen to your messaging, whilst engaging with your content.
The reason for this is simple: people naturally engage with those they find similar to themselves.
If you’re struggling to understand your customers, study your feedback or ask for reviews.
Aligning your values can be the crucial component in persuading a customer to choose you over another company.
Once you’ve done this, you’re in the process of creating the trust needed for customer retention.
6) Loyalty programmes
There’s nothing better than feeling appreciated.
How do you make your customers feel appreciated whilst also aiding retention?
The answer is simple: loyalty programmes.
Not only do loyalty programs help re-engage your customers, they also provide the incentive to purchase again.
It’s quite literally in the name – loyalty.
By rewarding loyal customers you’re in turn creating loyal customers.
It sounds confusing, but when customers are rewarded for shopping with you, they’re less likely to make the switch to somewhere else.
Because If you’re not rewarding them for their loyalty, another brand will.
Loyalty programmes can be effective for lengthening your customer journey and increasing the customer’s life-time value.
They can also encourage customers to keep tabs on your emails, again, developing brand loyalty that’s essential for long-term retention.
At the same time, it’s important to note that these customers are entirely deserving of loyalty perks. Like mentioned previously, loyal customers spend 67% more than new customers, so keeping these customers is a big deal.
Building customer loyalty is no easy process and unfortunately, it can’t be done with one quick fix.
It’s generally a long-term process that requires frequent monitoring and adaptation.
But in time you’ll have a foundation of loyal and valuable customers who trust your business.
These are the customers who will happily come back for a 2nd, 3rd and 4th purchase.
These are the customers who will actively recommend your brand to others, creating a great reputation for your brand.
Therefore, if you want to build a foundation of reliable customers who truly appreciate what your brand has to offer, investing in customer retention is priceless.
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