Have you ever been so impressed by a product or service that you just had to tell your friends or colleagues about it? You bet! Satisfied customers often become brand ambassadors who not only repeatedly purchase from a vendor, but also tell others about it.
As the old adage goes, it’s easier to win a new customer than to keep an existing one. Successful customer retention, coupled with word-of-mouth and positive brand experiences, increases a company’s revenue while reducing costs.
In the sea of competitors, how can a company stand out from the crowd and foster customer loyalty?
Know your customers
First things first: you need to understand your customers and what matters to them. In a survey by Econsultancy and Adobe, 65% of respondents said that improving their data analytics is critical to delivering better customer experiences.
The more you know about your customers, the better you can build relationships with them and provide tailored experiences that motivate them to come back. So the question is: Where are my customers coming from? What products are they buying or looking at? What time of day do they shop? Do they abandon their shopping carts frequently or leave the site quickly?
Using tracking tools provides the data you need about traffic to your website and social media channels. This provides information about the demographics of the customers, their interactions, buying behavior and the origin of the visits.
Be a step ahead
With many businesses, it’s easy for customers not to come back after making a purchase. Once you’ve acquired a new customer, don’t take them for granted. Use the data you collect to create marketing campaigns that encourage them to continue interacting with and spending money on your brand.
- Offer discounts and deals that your customers can’t miss (especially before holidays or relevant events).
- Send your customers an SMS with a link to a quiz or a code for an exclusive VIP sale.
- Send a newsletter with a link to a roundtable with experts on a related topic.
- Share articles with FAQs, tips and tricks.
Present product recommendations
Personalized emails with product recommendations are a great way to encourage customers to take another look at your offer. After a purchase, for example, you can showcase similar or complementary products with a carousel ad on social media. Or send a text message with a shopping list based on the customer’s search results. Have customers purchased items that need to be replenished on a regular basis? Send a scheduled email reminding them when supplies are known to be running low.
Invite a loyalty program
Don’t just tell your customers you value them – show them. 79% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from brands that offer a loyalty program. And members of a loyalty club spend 27% more when the brand succeeds in creating a positive connection. Make them feel like a VIP by offering benefits:
- Bonus points for purchases
- Early access to sales and new products
- Discounts for repeat purchases
- Referral points
- Exclusive access to events
- Samples and free gifts
Rewarding loyalty programs are also a great way to encourage customers to recommend your offering to their friends. In fact, 73% of consumers are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs. Offer incentives such as discounts, prizes or cashback rewards when a referral leads to a purchase.
Turn the buying experience into an experience
One of the best ways to turn a one-time purchase into repeat business? Make sure the customer loves their first purchase. A smooth buying experience can encourage customers to return. And if a problem arises, a quick and straightforward resolution helps build trust.
Make it easy for customers to learn about your offering and find the answers they’re looking for. FAQs, tutorials, and chat support can help.
Does the customer know how to use and care for a product? Provide tips on the website or via email. Is there an easy way to return or exchange if something is not right? Establish clear guidelines and link to FAQs or the help center where everything worth knowing can be found.
Create competition and entertainment
Most people are competitive by nature. Harness that instinct and turn brand loyalty into a game. Literally.
- Invite customers to play an online game, such as spinning the wheel of fortune to win a weekend sweepstakes or playing with an advent calendar during the Advent period.
- Add a virtual scratch-off ticket to digital order confirmations (with physical confirmation, a QR code links to the ticket), which can include a special discount on the next order.
- Offer a referral program where customers can earn points or other incentives for getting their friends or colleagues to try your offer.
- Place a ranked contest on social media that asks customers to post a photo or complete a task.
- Send out a personalized quiz or game where the customer can win a prize.
Invite customers to become part of your community
What triggers enthusiasm in your customers? What can they do or feel with your product? Whether they’re new parents, fitness enthusiasts, or executives, your customers likely share common interests and hobbies. Bring them together through moderated platforms, such as online forums or social media communities.
These communities can be crucial for gathering first-hand data. Community members are happy to provide feedback on products, experiences, ideas, requests and other topics. These insights can be invaluable when it comes to improving the customer experience – especially when they come from loyal customers who have already invested time and money in your brand.
Don’t let your customers forget you. Newsletters, retargeting ads, social media communities, and other customer engagement efforts help keep your brand top of mind with customers. And the more they think of you, the more likely they are to shop with you repeatedly – and recommend your offering to their network.