No matter if you run an eCommerce business selling clothes, or a software company creating applications, you already know you’re up against hundreds of competitors, most of which are a dime a dozen – with nothing spectacularly new to offer and nothing really game-changing in the pipeline. What makes them competitive is their devotion to certain aspects of their day-to-day operations that can boost loyalty and increase brand awareness. From customer service, exceeding customer expectations, all the way to constantly improving communications, brands that stand the test of time invest in customer retention every step of the way.
A steady influx of new clients might be a more appealing way to grow your business, but understanding how to keep your customers committed to your brand and in love with your offers will open the doors to many other opportunities. You’ll inspire them to be your brand ambassadors, they’ll be your word of mouth for their family and friends, and their experience will grow your reputation in the eyes of future customers. In essence, it does pay to create a strategy to ensure a stable base of happy, loyal customers – and here are a few ways you can achieve just that.
Listen to the social buzz
Facebook is a great place to kick-start a contest for your customers, while Instagram is a wonderful platform for your most loyal users to tag you in a photo using your product or service. Twitter is a well of conversation-starters just waiting for you to create a viral story out of a single quote. Pinterest is ideal for DIY projects and people creative at heart, while LinkedIn is still every professional’s hotspot for digital networking and posting meaningful articles for likeminded experts to read.
All in all, social networks are assets every brand should use for building that loyal customer base. However, you might be missing out on a key ingredient in your social strategy – social listening. By using a variety of monitoring and reporting tools, you can find out how your brand is perceived online, in what contexts your brand name appears, and what you can do to resolve customer issues. While generating your own campaigns is always necessary, be openminded enough to listen to what your customers have to say outside of the conversations you start on your own.
Tap into your feedback potential
You’ve likely asked for feedback before. You post it on your website, you publish it on social media, and you appreciate the reviews your customers post on Google, as well. Search engines in general love that kind of content, as it further proves your value in the eyes of your consumer. But customer engagement can and should be so much more than an SEO tool, or a reputation-enhancing one.
Whenever you ask for comment after purchase, for example, for each user to point out any flaws in the check-out process, delivery delays, or anything pertaining to the product itself, you get a chance to make your brand better. After you collect your customers’ feedback, make sure you act on their suggestions, make changes, and then notify them when you do that. Crediting them for the innovation they’ve suggested puts your brand in their hands and makes them feel like a meaningful part of your brand’s journey.
Treat your customers occasionally
We all like to feel special and valued. That’s why we love celebrating those special moments, why we love getting gifts, birthday cards, and various tokens of appreciation that turn an ordinary moment into a memorable one. When you’d like to boost loyalty among your customer ranks, one of the simplest ways to do that is to surprise them with a simple, useful gift as an addition to their order, or a special birthday surprise.
For starters, use high-quality business printing services to create unique, branded promotional items to send and give out to your customers. It can be a brand-new calendar that depicts their favorite animals, a birthday card with your hand-written note, or a personalized coupon for their very next purchase. Such small gestures can mean a world to customers who predominantly make digital purchases since it’s becoming a greater challenge for brands to connect with their audience offline when they mostly do business online. Sending such gifts is a great way to add a personal touch to those interactions and make sure that there’s an emotional basis for your future customer-brand bond.
Emphasize your purpose
Your customers can either be just a number on a receipt, or they can feel like a part of something relevant, such as your brand’s purpose. Do you know how Dove strives to improve women’s self-esteem with every campaign and every product they launch? Or how The Body Shop does everything in its power to ensure sustainability? Brands don’t get loyalty anymore merely from selling well-wrapped goods. They do so by going that extra mile in every possible way.
Your customers have the option to go to other brands, perhaps more affordable ones, or those with a more convenient store, closer to their home. To entice them to stay loyal to your brand, you need to communicate your purpose through your website copy, your social media campaigns, your many initiatives, and all your efforts that add to that common goal, whatever it may be. If your business uses only renewable energy, or you’re partnered up with a charity and a percentage of your profit goes to said organizations, let them know. That way, your customers are the ones that get to make a difference through your brand every time they purchase or promote it.
| About the Guest Author:
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight into the marketing industry based on both practice and theory.