Customers are looking for companies they can keep purchasing from and brands they can become advocates of. In other words, while you are searching for customers to love your brand, customers are also looking for companies and brands to love.
Think about it: with all the choice in the market customers currently have and with limited time to make their purchase decisions it’s much easier for them to find a brand and company they love and trust to stick with. This takes away the frustration of searching and risk of buying an inferior product or dealing with a long delivery time.
So what does it take to attract customers to like and eventually love your brand? Similar to relationships, the key is to understand your customers’ needs, keep them engaged, and build relationships with them. All of which are the key focus of Retention Marketing. Unlike the “instant results” approach of acquisition, Retention Marketing takes a more nurturing and long-term approach. Here are 6 surefire ways to attract more customer love through Retention Marketing:
1. Understand them
Understanding your customers’ needs and wants is the first step towards creating more positive customer experiences that eventually lead to customer loyalty and love. The big question, though, is how do you go about understanding your customers’ needs and providing these good experiences?
It’s simple: better customer experiences start with data. As customers interact with your brand through purchases, online browsing, opening emails, and clicking links, they leave behind a trail of transactional and behavioral data. Using predictive analytics-based technology to analyze your customer data provides you with a deeper understanding so you can respond to their needs. Responding to their needs could involve providing relevant product recommendations in your communications or offering a free shipping incentive when you know they are very likely to purchase in the next 7 days.
2. Build Relationships
Go beyond looking at your customers as a single transaction. Although the heavily discounted “do what you can to get them in” approach may work for acquisition efforts, where does that leave your customer once you forget about them and go on the hunt for next one? Building trusting relationships with your customers by being attentive to their needs is the way to create positive customer experiences. Track customers throughout their lifecycle and deliver relevant communications at each stage to nurture them through to advocacy. Create Welcome campaigns to introduce them to your brand and values and deliver Win-Back campaigns if there has been a large gap in their purchase, or if they have unsubscribed to your service.
3. Stay Relevant
With an abundance of emails, offers, and online retailers selling comparable products, customers are looking for the easiest and fastest way to find what they want and make their purchase. Sending relevant product recommendations based on purchase history and online behavior is the most effective way to give customers what they want. A denim retailer sending a generic “20% off men’s jeans” email to a female customer is only going to cause frustration and demonstrate a lack of care when it comes to their customers. According to Accenture Interactive, 75% of U.S. consumers like it when companies personalize messaging and offers so they are more relevant. A study by the e-tailing group reported that 39% of U.S. consumers buy more when retailers suggest products based on past browsing or buying behavior.
Healthy Goods, an online whole-food supplements retailer, recently sent me a 15% off incentive for one of the brands they sell based on past purchases I made. As I also liked this brand and the offer was relevant to me, I decided to make a purchase. The free shipping for orders over $49 incentive then encouraged me to purchase more products – since I was purchasing anyway, the free shipping option was enticing enough to spend a little more to make the minimum amount.
An email campaign from Healthy Goods offering a relevant product incentive
4. Be On Time
An invitation to a good friend’s out of town wedding is both relevant and timely when received a few months before the event. When received the day before the wedding however, it decreases the relevance and value of the invitation. The same goes with retention marketing campaigns: they are only effective when delivered in both a relevant and timed fashion.
In order for companies to deliver their retention campaigns when the customer is most engaged and ready to purchase, data science is key. Data science allows you to work out what time of which day an individual customer is most engaged, and which frequency they need to receive communications in order to encourage conversions. Combining data science with marketing automation also allows to you automatically remind your customer when it’s time to make their next purchase based on the end of their product lifecycle – eg. sending an email 20-25 days after their purchase of a 30-day supply of vitamins, right before they’re about to run out.
5. Keep the conversation flowing
Engaging in an ongoing two-way conversation with your customer gives your brand a more personal aspect instead of coming off as just a faceless company. Customer interaction and engagement with your brand is key if you want your customers to love you. Even if you have an advanced data science-based Retention Marketing strategy in place and understand your customer well, they still appreciate the engagement. Give your customers a platform to speak about your brand to others and provide feedback to you. Use surveys to ask your customers what they like, send product rating and feedback forms after they receive their purchase, encourage them to share their latest purchase information with their friends, engage with them on social media, and create fun competitions that require interaction.
6. Reward them
Acknowledging and rewarding your customers throughout their lifecycle not only shows you appreciate them, it’s also key to gain more customer love. Like relationships, being acknowledged and feeling appreciated makes it more compelling and satisfying for them to stay. Implement a reward series for your high-value and loyal customers through customized incentives, events, and social media in order to encourage advocacy. Create a fun event for VIP or loyal customers, whether it’s online or in person. Offer incentives and make it a unique experience. Acknowledge how long your customer has been with you by sending anniversary campaigns with incentive rewards annually or half-yearly.
This email from ASOS acknowledges the customer made their first purchase a year ago and offers a decent incentive for their next purchase.