5 Ways To Build Customer Loyalty
In 2001 Harvard Business Review asked business gurus who their favorite gurus were and Peter Drucker was in the top 3. You don’t need an MBA or business background to appreciate Drucker’s take on business. His simple approach is this, “The purpose of business is to create customers.”
That means developing customer loyalty. A customer is not a one-time buyer. A customer is a repeat purchaser of products and services.
I grew up in a time when local merchants developed customer loyalty far better than today’s business giants. This was long before the Internet, suburban malls, giant supermarkets and big-box warehouse stores.
Then local merchants were integrated in neighborhoods, often living above their shops. They were neighbors. If they disappointed customers the customer ventured to another neighborhood to shop elsewhere.
Today sales associate training encourages staff to greet every customer. That’s a difficult thing to do with most young hires daydreaming of better wages and how to spend time off.
Older customer associates are often sought first by customers. The older sales associate usually (but not always) provides a much higher level of customer service.
What customers need is full service, not just direction to a product. A customer seeks knowledgeable advice on product worth. They want to know how to use it for best results.
Most of all the customer wants to feel valued. The product is just the ‘core’ of a product. Customer service wraps around that core, becoming the total product. Today anyone can sell anything via the Internet. Anonymous business transactions are efficient and I use them often.
However, even selling in the digital marketplace takes talent – If you want to create and keep customers.
It seems that somewhere along the way, customer loyalty became a forgotten objective of the marketing strategy. We focus on getting customers, and lots of them, through various methods, and often at any cost.
But the cost of acquiring a new customer is five to twenty-five times higher than the investment required to keep an existing customer. And increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase total company profit by 25% to 95%.
It helps if you have an amazing or totally unique product. And excellent customer service can plug the holes that often arise with even the best product on the market.
But more and more today, companies are competing on experience, not product, service, or price. The sum total of experiences your customers have with you, from the earliest moment in their buyer’s journey often determines which customers stay, which customers go, and which customers become advocates for your business.
Marketing Drives Customer Loyalty (And Business Growth) From Within
As the data above shows, improving customer retention is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. You’ve already invested in acquiring your customers. They know your business. They’ve taken the risk to invest in your product or service offering. They’re familiar with the value your company delivers. And there is a cost and the pain in switching to an alternative solution.
Your product teams and customer service department are already doing everything they can to anticipate customer needs, deliver the best product, and service your customers’ needs.
That is why it’s up to your marketing team to strengthen your customers’ relationships, to emphasize the value you provide, and to identify new areas of opportunity.
Each new customer decision provides your marketing team with the opportunity to re-sell, cross-sell and up-sell to them. Loyal customers can provide multiple times the revenue over the life of their relationship as their first purchase provided to your business.
Marketing Automation Nurtures Existing Customers As Well As Prospects
Whether you’re trying to re-sell, cross-sell, or up-sell, the best way to nurture existing relationships is the same as the best way to nurture prospects: Marketing Automation.
Marketing automation once separated the innovative marketers from the pack. Today, however, if you’re not doing marketing automation, you’re behind.
There is so much content available to today’s consumer via the web, social streams, and through triggered email nurture streams, that breaking through the noise, even for your existing customers, is no longer as easy as sending out an upsell marketing campaign email.
Marketing Automation provides you with the data to know if you’re acquiring the right customers in the first place and how to segment them based on their actual behaviors.
Marketing automation can also tell you which challenges, content types, channels, marketing messages, and tactical approaches worked best in acquiring your customers in the first place.
And it can help you design the right nurture program to deliver the best end-to-end customer experience that truly differentiates today’s leading businesses.
5 Ways To Use Marketing Automation To Build True Customer Loyalty
Building true customer loyalty is not easy, but through marketing automation you can not only keep customers, you can turn them into advocates, and sources of new referrals for your business.
As McKinsey points out, your customers don’t stop learning once they make a purchase decision, but enter into a “loyalty loop” where they continue to build expectations and seek out education to inform their next decision.
Here are the top five ways you can use marketing automation tools to strengthen your relationships with existing customers and build true customer loyalty:
- Measure Loyalty: Companies with high customer loyalty grow at twice the rate of their competitors. While some companies use complicated tools, and others implement Net Promoter Score (NPS) tracking, it is important to setup a system to measure and track the level of loyalty your customers have over time. Marketing Automation is an easy way to setup regular touch points to measure true customer loyalty. You can segment customers and create separate nurture streams to ask your customers how they feel about the relationship with your company.
- Build Brand Advocates: Referrals are often the largest source of new customers for many businesses. Use Marketing Automation to determine which customers are likely advocating for you and create special programs and incentives for these valuable lead sources.
- Personalizes Experiences: Marketing Automation allows you to identify the right content that should be delivered to each customer at the right time. You can use this data to develop customer profiles, or look-alike profiles from existing customers to determine which content and messages are right for new prospects as well.
- Keep Scoring Leads After Purchase: Lead scoring AFTER purchase is a great way to utilize the power of marketing automation to determine which customers are engaging with your content and who might be ready for a cross-sell, up-sell, or even a re-sell.
- Create End-to-End Customer experiences: Using the data from marketing automation you can identify the pain points, content, messaging and approaches that attracted your customers, the ones who converted, in the first place. Nurturing programs can be set up to remind them of the value they were seeking, teach them how to become expert users of your product or service, provide case studies of companies and buyers that resemble your customers, and also begin to introduce new products and services.
True customer loyalty is considered by many to be the holy grail of a successful business. More and more, marketing organizations are focusing on delivering customer loyalty as a primary marketing objective because of the quantifiable results nurturing customer loyalty provides. Marketing Automation is one of the best ways to deliver true customer loyalty through customer data, content insights, and campaign nurturing that allow you to create an end-to-end customer experience.
A small business person or solo Internet entrepreneur most likely has the tools in place to implement the 5 steps mentioned above. Don’t dash out and buy any new software or service. Seek first to use what you already have in place. Make good use of your CMS. I use AWeber and it has many tools I use to measure customer satisfaction and track actions.
Another tool I use is Linktrackr. This allows me to accurately measure the 5-Ws quickly. If you don’t have analytics in place consider – don’t buy yet – what you need and build that into your plan of action.
Use this link when doing your usual Amazon shopping.
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Tagged with: best internet marketing • Business • Create Customers • Customer Loyalty • Digital Marketing • internet business • Internet marketing • Keep Customers • Loyal customers] • make money online • selling on the Internet • selling online
Filed under: Business
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