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Most marketing efforts focus on acquiring new customers, an important part of growing your business. Yet, how much good does acquiring new customers do if you’re consistently losing a large number of people who are already customers?
High customer churn can drag down a company’s bottom line. Just take a look at some of the stats:
- A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%
- A 5% reduction in the customer churn rate can increase profits by 95%
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%
- It costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one
- Ecommerce spending for new customers is on average $24.50, compared to $52.50 for repeat customers
In all, its apparent that any smart business needs to delight customers, and build experiences that nurture them, engage them and ultimately keep them happy and coming back for more.
The best thing you can do is turn your customers into more than customers and create a vibrant community. With the right content strategy, you can help build that loyal customer community. Just look at Nike, Converse and ModCloth, to name a few.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Feature Product Reviews by Customer Product Mavens
An in-depth product review from a customer who also happens to be a “maven” is one of the most effective tools around. Mavens are defined as people who want to solve other people’s problems, typically by solving their own. Once a maven finds your product useful, they’ll share it with their network and garner your business an increased amount of sales.
Find your mavens by segmenting customers who have purchased multiple times. Check their social media streams. Find the folks who share info and opinions about products like yours. Bingo: those are your mavens!
Offer these shoppers a gift, discount or perk of some kind in exchange for an in-depth product review. Keep in mind that mavens are, by definition, honest –– so be prepared for both good and potentially negative reviews. This review could be on their blog, a YouTube video, a Pinterest board –– wherever. Their reviews must be genuine and honest. Now, feature their reviews next to those products on your site.
The cool thing with utilizing mavens is, when you ask them for help, they simply can’t stop themselves. They’re driven to help solve other people’s problems. They love showing off their expertise. Tap into that desire and soon you’ll have created an amazing group of loyal brand advocates and fans.
Publish Customer Reviews
Customers like to see that other people have also bought and enjoyed your product and service. It validates their decision, makes them feel safer and instills pride in their choice. Customers also like knowing their opinion matters. So, ask them to review your product! It’s that simple.
You can add this request as a step in a post-purchase workflow. This will help customers feel as though they are part of the community and have a stake in your company’s success. After all, if they like the product, they’re going to want more. And for that to happen, it’s essential that your store stay open!
Before setting this process up, however, make sure that reviews aren’t going into a black hole. Once you have insight into a customer experience from a review, you can use that insight to delight your customers by using it on social or posting it on your site next to the product. If someone had a less than stellar experience, you can have a customer service representative reach out and try to rectify the problem. If someone had an extraordinarily amazing experience, thank them for their feedback and keep up the good work!
Offer Exclusive Access to Seasonal Previews
Everyone wants to feel special, and catering to human desires is part of any ecommerce marketing strategy. To play on this want, offer limited or exclusive online previews of merchandise –– like sale previews –– to certain customer segments. You’ll make them feel like they’re the elite and a member of the in-crowd, building more loyalty.
For proof that this works, check out how some startup technology platforms open up shop. Often, it is by announcing what is coming and then only offering exclusive access via an email sign up. Check out The Net Set as an example. Exclusivity sells.
Personalize Content to be Relevant to Each Visitor
There are a variety of ways to personalize your brand’s ecommerce experience. Use your buyer personas and workflows to personalize emails and offer additional content aimed specifically at individual interests. Speak in a friendly tone. Make it sound like you’re talking exclusively to them. Personalization, when done correctly, is a critical part of creating a deeper emotional connection to your brand.
Engage with Customers on Social Media
Use social media to personally interact with your customers. If they talk about your brand, respond. Whether they say something bad or good, join the conversation, be respectful, listen and help. This tells that customer that they matter to you and your company. See, below, how Josie Maran’s online store speaks with customers on Twitter.
— Josie Maran (@josie_maran) May 13, 2015
Create Educational Content Specifically for Customers
Most people online are looking to learn about something. Whether you’re selling golf clubs or roasting pans, people are always hungry to learn more — how to play golf better, how to cook more delicious meals, etc. There’s no end to what you can offer them.
Videos, ebooks, articles, white papers, special reports, infographics, podcasts, presentations, webinars — there are tons of different formats you can use. And, make sure your content works no matter what device they’ll view it on. Because, according to comScore and Millennial Media, more than 50% of the U.S. population consumes content on mobile devices today — and it’s growing rapidly.
Why is educational content so important? Because we learned early in life to admire and trust those from whom we learn. That admiration and trust becomes brand loyalty over time. Take a look at online store 21 Drops. They provide ample amounts of educational content to first teach consumers why they might want essential oils, and then to help them make the decision on which one is right for them.
Say “Thank You”
Your customers don’t have to buy from you. They also don’t have to sing your praises to their friends. So, be sure to be show your appreciation for those that compliment your work or brand. Some of the most powerful marketing out there is driven by a simple, sincere act of gratitude.
Thank your customers with a personalized message. If you’re selling physical products, include something extra in the box. For example, include a handwritten note, or a free sample of a related product. Show thought and consideration in all your customer interactions.
Turn Your Customers Into Something More
Take these simple steps, and customers won’t just buy your products — they’ll become your defenders and guerrilla marketers. These ideas will forge a personal connection between your brand and your customers, encouraging them to share your story and products with their networks and generating higher traffic and sales for your online store.
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