*No really, they are. Check out the logos of the top social networks, they’re all blue.
They’re always on your mind. They’re the reason you wake up every morning. You want to please them every minute of the day… We’re talking about your customers of course. Sometimes while you’re working hard to attract new customers, your existing ones are left to fend for themselves. But did you know that attracting new customers can cost 6 to 7 times more than nurturing your existing ones, whilst focusing your efforts on encouraging loyalty from 5% of your existing customers can lead to an average profit increase of between 25% to 100% per customer?
We’ve put together five tips to increase your customers’ lifetime value and create profitable relationships by simply nurturing brand loyalty.
1. Offer stellar online customer service.
An astonishing 71% of customers have ended a relationship with a company because of poor customer service. There’s a gap in the market for excellent customer service, as a mere 7% of customers felt that their experiences with a brand exceeded their expectations when asking for help. Judging by these stats there’s definitely a window of opportunity for brands to provoke loyalty, if they’re willing to go the extra mile with their customer service.
With the introduction of the internet consumers now have access to a limitless information about a brand or product, empowering them to make more informed purchase decisions. Excellent online customer service can be a deciding factor in the decision to switch brands, making or breaking a person’s loyalty. Walk a mile in Zappos’ shoes. They’re so well-known for their outstanding customer service, customers share their experiences online via many different channels, including Slideshare.
They go the extra mile for customer satisfaction, and are even happy to help customers find products elsewhere if they don’t stock it. How many brands do you know that are so confident in their own service they’ll encourage customers to go elsewhere?
Like Zappos, offer brilliant customer service, nurture brand loyalty and have your customers singing your praises online by simply managing expectations - under promise and over deliver. Got a customer query? Pledge to respond to emails within X amount of hours, then set goals to work toward slashing that time in half. Providing a reasonable response time, and responding much quicker, goes a long way to satisfying an irate customer by proving to be an efficient and highly responsive brand.
As for social media, the 24/7 nature of the networks mean that people can Tweet or post support queries at any time of the day or night. That doesn’t mean you need 24 hour staff minding social. Manage expectations again by adding your support hours to your Twitter bio, or if support is a large part of your brands day-to-day activity create a dedicated Twitter account to handle customer service requests, like Zappos do.
2. Send personalized communication.
[Tweet "41% of people purchase more from retailers that personalize their communications"]
Incorporating personalization into your marketing strategy can increase the lifetime value of a customer in the long run. 41% of people say that they purchase more from retailers that send personalized emails based on past online browsing and buying behavior. Nurture brand loyalty by keeping your customers engaged with communications that appeal to them as an individual. We all prefer to feel like we’re talking to a human, rather than a robot spewing out generic responses.
One way to keep your online communication authentic is make sure you track your interactions with customers online. Everyone likes to be remembered, it makes them feel special. A commitment from you to never forget a face means your communication will always be personal. Every interaction shapes and builds your customer’s perception of your brand, so make sure your communication leaves them feeling satisfied. Additionally, use an analytics tool to delve deeper better understand your online audience. Feed this information into offline campaigns or use the insight to build social media campaigns tailored to appeal to specific segments of your audience. The tailoring and personalization will not only have a positive on your customer relationships it will improve the overall performance of your campaigns.
3. Be the one to offer the best benefits.
Brand loyalty can also be achieved by offering a benefits scheme to your customers. No this doesn’t mean slashing your prices to compete. Brands can use gamification strategies to get customers involved, encouraging users to share images/reviews online to earn points and work their way up a leaderboard for benefits. This strategy will also help to attract new customers, as 60% of millennials say that they would be willing to switch brands if they received better benefits.
The key to building loyalty among existing customers, whilst still attracting new ones is to offer the best benefits to fans new and old. Compete by offering incentives that will drive new customers and keep the current ones happy. Even something as simple as communication tailored to an individual’s buying habits offering them a discount can make a real difference.
Use social data to advertize offers tailored to the target segments of your audience. Attract the attention of new people based on keyword targeting with Twitter ad campaigns, nurture prospects with tailored first-time buyer discounts promoted on your social channels, and import email lists of existing leads into Twitter to target them with existing customer discounts that will please them.
4. Provide opportunities for your audience to connect.
[Tweet "80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your current customers"]
80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your current customers - a pretty encouraging statistic right? Inspire loyalty by building a fanbase for your brand, provide opportunities for your customers to connect with you as a brand, and other customers. Black Milk are one of the best examples of a dedicated community of customers that are so passionate about a product they endeavour to connect in both an online and offline space. From enthusiastic customers creating Facebook groups especially for ‘Sharkies’ (the official name for Black Milk fans) to buy, swap, and sell items, to offline Black Milk events organized by the brand - they’ve developed quite a following.
Build a loyal customer base by uniting them around your brand values and providing opportunities to connect: both online and offline. Their common interest in your brand is the connective tissue that brings them together. In a recent survey by Nielsen, 84% of respondents said that ‘Word Of Mouth’ was still the most trusted form of advertising. With this in mind, connecting your customers and encouraging them to share their own special moments provokes user generated content, online customer reviews and recommendations ready for a potential customer to read and base their decision on. Enthusiastic customers go on to become brand advocates that share online reviews of products, chat to other customers, and encourage new people to get involved with your brand.
5. Discover what drives your target audience.
Use social media as a way to understand what your target audience is interested in outside of your brand. Use an analytics tool, such as SocialBro, to monitor and tune in to what your target audience are talking about online. By monitoring relevant industry keywords and topics, you can get a feel for what your target audience are discussing. Continuously measuring and monitoring your brand will ensure you’ve got a firm handle on your brand reputation, by producing weekly monitoring reports you can measure your progress against competitors and identify areas for improvement for your brand or in your industry as a whole. Delve deeper by making note of negative (and positive) keywords that are frequently associated with your brand, then use this data to create campaigns and content aimed at resolving these issues.
Use social media data to better understand your audience, and what they want from your brand and industry. By anticipating the needs of your customers both existing and new, you’re improving your brand’s reputation, whilst keeping your customers satisfied. Use social data in collaboration with things like website cookies or landing page behavior to highlight any questions or problems your target audience need solving. By being as helpful as possible and creating solutions that answer their needs, you’re ensuring their commitment to your brand.
Which brands make you feel valued as a customer? Do you have any tips on building a loyal audience with your online channels? Let us know in the comments.