Research has found that it can cost up to five times as much to acquire a new customer, as it does to retain an already existing customer—and even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your profits by as much as 25% to 95%.

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So what is it that allows some brands to retain customers at a higher rate than others? Whether it’s the result of having a truly unique product or offering high-quality service, the brands that succeed in retention are tightly focused on creating a sense of customer loyalty—and on forging that relationship quickly.

This became clear during a recent interview with Ryan Smith, cofounder and CEO of Modern Tie, where his company is breaking into an industry that’s ripe for disruption. Successful brands, particularly in the e-commerce space, strive to build immediate customer loyalty after the first transaction is made.

The good news is that by following a few simple tactics, so can you.

1. Provide Quality Service On A Consistent Basis

While this first tip may sound obvious, few things are more important for building lasting customer loyalty. A great product should be backed by great service, ensuring that your customers will want to continue doing business with you in the future.

“You can never assume that customers will be able to get through the buying process without having any questions or problems,” Smith shares. “That’s why we use an online chat tool so our customers can get help in real-time if they have questions or concerns. Online businesses should also have an easily accessible phone number your customers can use—sometimes, there are issues that can only be solved by talking to a real person.”

Clearly outlining policies for shipping and returns and making it easy to reach customer support staff will help buyers feel valued, increasing the likelihood that they will want to buy from you again.

2. Stay Connected On Social Media

Social media is a great way to share information about new products or simply build ongoing awareness for your brand. As such, your e-commerce website should provide links to your social media accounts to help customers stay connected after they buy.

Perhaps more importantly, getting your website visitors to follow you on social media, can foster more personal connections as you showcase your brand’s story and personality. Data from Social Media Today reveals that 86% of consumers feel “authenticity” is an important element in deciding which brands to support. Naturally, this means that your social media content needs to deliver that feeling of authenticity, too.

Gary Stevens, founder of the tech-focused online education site, HostingCanada, has long used social media to add a human element to his brand. He explains, “We started a few years ago in the web design space and quickly realized that there wasn’t enough quality information to help people get started with their websites. Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn have become useful destinations to not only share new content, but to interact directly with our readers, gather new topic ideas, answer more in-depth questions and take our relationships to a higher level.”

When you allow your website and social accounts to work in tandem together, the combined effect can dramatically accelerate growth in your customer base. Immediately after completing their first purchase, give new customers the opportunity to follow your most active social media account—and go out of your way to welcome them when they do.

3. Make It Easy To Sign Up For Newsletters

Email newsletters are generally considered to be one of the most effective ways for brands to continually reach customers. Not only is email more likely to reach your customers than a social media post, but when an email is personalized, it can significantly boost your sales.

In fact, research from DMA found that 75% of email revenue stems from manually delivered campaigns, rather than automated emails that run behind the scenes. But to enjoy this ongoing revenue, you have to get customers to sign up for your email list in the first place.

“You have to make signing up for your email newsletter as simple as possible. Make it so they can sign up through a box that they tick during checkout, or by submitting their name and email address directly on your home page. Don’t worry about trying to collect vast amounts of personal information up front—this can actually backfire and make someone less likely to sign up,” Smith explains.

By making the email sign up process as frictionless as possible, e-commerce stores can grow their lists at a faster rate—especially by incentivizing visitors with a discount code or free shipping offer in exchange for joining your email list.

4. Advocate For A Cause You Care About

“A key part of being authentic is having a cause that your business stands for,” Smith adds. “For us, that comes from drawing on previous life experiences with opioid addiction, to advocate for education and treatment for this crisis. No matter what type of product you sell, if you can tie it to a meaningful cause, you’ll instantly create a stronger connection with some of your customers.”

In fact, survey data from Clutch indicates that connecting your brand with a meaningful cause could be key to gaining and retaining new customers. According to their 2019 survey, 71% of customers “think it’s important for businesses to take a stance on social movements,” while 75% “are likely to start shopping at a company that supports an issue they agree with.”

That being said, business owners should be cautious when it comes to divisive political topics, as a highly opinionated stance could alienate some of your potential customers. People don’t like their money going to a cause that’s in direct opposition to their core values.

However, by advocating for topics that have a clear societal benefit for all (such as improving mental health awareness or countering drug addiction), you can immediately boost customer loyalty by helping them feel like their purchase makes a difference in some way.

By building a loyal customer base, you’ll have a strong foundation for lasting success. As you leverage your loyal customers to drive more sales and further promote your mission by word-of-mouth referrals, you’ll experience continual growth for the years to come.



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