Boosting your customer base is important. However, what happens when a customer makes a purchase on your site for the first time? How many of these customers come back to you to make another purchase?
Statistics say that retaining loyal customers is more profitable than attracting new ones. Loyal customers keep coming back to your store, boosting your profits. Above all, they’re your biggest brand advocates.
As long as they’re satisfied with your products and customer services, they will share the positive word of mouth and create tons of valuable user-generated content.
Here are 6 simple digital marketing tactics that will help you retain your loyal customers.
1 – Offer an On-boarding Program
One of the most frustrating things for your customers is the process of figuring out how your products work. As they cannot afford to waste time learning how to master your product, they will stop using it and, above all, they will stop buying from you.
This is exactly why you need to have a customer on-boarding program. As its mere name says, it educates your new customers about your product and teaches them how to use them. Rather than learning about your product by themselves, they will be able to download your how-to guide, a comprehensive manual, or even attend a training program hosted by your company representative.
Sure, the way you will educate a customer about your products depends on your niche and the kind of products you offer. This way, you will ensure your customers will use your products properly, complete their goals, and remain satisfied.
2 – Optimize your Site for the Right Customers
Many say that SEO and UX design have nothing in common. You first focus on designing a gorgeous site and then you start optimizing it for search engines, right? It’s not that simple. Having a gorgeous website is purposeless if no one can find it. Above all, just because your site looks and feels great doesn’t mean it’s user-friendly. That’s why you need to design your website with SEO in mind. Creating a smooth and satisfying user experience isn’t the easiest of tasks, so seeking help from professional UX agencies should be something to consider.
First, you will need to attract the right audiences to your site. Irrelevant traffic won’t convert into profitable leads and sales. Therefore, you need to optimize your site for the right keywords.
For example, if you’re running a law firm, your goal is to drive local customers. In this case, working with a local agency offering law firm SEO services will help you identify critical local keywords and appear higher in relevant searches. A niche agency will also help you increase your brand exposure on relevant business directories, local websites, social networks, etc.
Then, optimize your website performance. Start with your website navigation. When researching products, most of your customers will go directly to the main menu. They will browse through categories and sub-categories until they find the products they like. Make these products easy to find. Always ensure your category labels are logical and easy to understand. For those customers that already know what they want to purchase, offer a search box with auto-complete features that will help them find their desired product immediately.
Personalize user experiences. Your customers expect you to understand their specific needs and preferences. Just like Amazon, you could track user experiences and recommend products that are relevant to them.
For online retailers, optimizing the checkout process also plays a vital role. Make your site trustworthy by adding safety seals. Build trust with customers by displaying user-generated content, online reviews, and testimonials. Make your checkout forms easy to fill out. Fast and seamless user experiences mean that shoppers will start spreading the positive word of mouth about you and keep coming back for more items.
3 – Collect Customer Feedback
One of the greatest advantages of building your customer base online lies in the fact that you can collect their feedback more efficiently. There are numerous ways to obtain customer feedback. For example, you could create customer satisfaction surveys. You can deliver your surveys via different channels, such as SMS, email, social networks, or your website. One of the most powerful kinds of surveys is Net Promoter Score, where you calculate how likely your customers are to recommend your business. Or, you could ask your target audiences to participate in customer testing and focus groups.
Apart from traditional surveys, you can also take advantage of social listening. Invest in a social monitoring tool that lets you monitor your brand and product mentions and notifies you whenever someone uses them. This way, you will know when someone talks about you and see what they feel about your products or services.
4 – Provide Faster Feedback
When they ask you a question or seek help, your customers expect you to reply to them almost instantly. Most importantly, they want you to use the channels they use.
For starters, remember that most of your customers are on social. Just like I’ve mentioned above, they use these channels to voice their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with brands. And, they want you to hear them. Therefore, just tracking their comments is not enough. You need to act on them, too. For example, instead of ignoring negative comments, use them to learn more about your customers and improve user experiences.
Another great way to provide feedback is to use chatbots on your website and social channels. This is an amazing way to provide spotless, 24/7 feedback to your customers, irrespective of their location. Most importantly, today’s chatbots are backed by AI, meaning that they won’t offer generic answers. Instead, they understand customers’ questions and make the conversation pleasant and interactive. When powered by the quality script, chatbots can humanize your brand and take customer interactions to a whole new level.
5 – Build a Customer Loyalty Program
Building relationships with customers that are likely to stop buying from you is important, but you shouldn’t take your loyal customers for granted. They’re your most passionate fans and, above all, your most loyal brand advocates. This is an immensely important move, given that the top 10% of your customers spend three times more than the rest of your customer base.
As your customers love gifts and rewards, consider building a customer loyalty program. There are different types of customer loyalty programs, such as point programs, spend programs, paid programs, value-based programs, tiered programs, hybrid programs, etc. Their choice depends on your customers’ preferences. For example, if they want faster rewards for their loyalty, then point programs or spend programs are perfect for you. On the other hand, if they want you to recognize them not only as your customers, but also friends and partners, then choose, for example, a paid preprogram, where your most loyal customers can pay a small monthly fee to join your VIP club.
Sometimes, you can gamify loyalty programs by turning them into contests. Remember, your customers love to compete and win. For example, you could throw a photo contest, where your customers would need to create a unique photo of your product and share it on social, along with your branded hashtag. Other customers can like or vote for the winning idea, meaning that the entire contest process is transparent.
6 – Support a Social Issue
According to Clutch, 75% of consumers would rather do business with businesses that support social issues important to them. They expect brands to give back to the local community and make their operations more sustainable. Your customers want to know that they’re making a difference when buying from you. This is something that will not only inspire them to purchase from you for the first time, but that will inspire them to come back again and again.
TOMS is one of the brands that has gone famous by trying to make the world a better and safer place. Namely, with their “One for One” policy they ensure that, for every pair of shoes a customer purchases, another pair is sent to the people in need. Making philanthropy the core of your branding efforts will help you humanize your brand and win your customers’ hearts over.
Over to You
In the sea of similar brands, gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage can be extremely frustrating. Attracting new customers is just half the job done. Once you get them to visit your site and make a purchase, you need to start building relationships with them to ensure they will visit you again. And, I hope these 6 tips will help you do so.
How do you use digital marketing to retain loyal customers?