The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing: Advocacy | pt5/5

The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing: Advocacy | pt5/5
Loyalty & Advocacy

 5 Minute Read

Other parts within this Guide to Digital Marketing series:
1: PIPELINE OVERVIEW
2: AWARENESS
3: INTENT
4. NURTURE

 To provide a comprehensive analysis of loyalty & advocacy within the sales pipeline, the following guide will include:

  1. UNDERSTANDING POST-PURCHASE LOYALTY & ADVOCACY

  2. 7 WAYS TO EARN & BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY THROUGH CUSTOMER SERVICE

  3. 4 TIPS TO BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY THROUGH DISCOUNT PROGRAMS

  4. HOW LOYALTY AND ADVOCACY FIT INTO THE SALES PIPELINE

UNDERSTANDING POST-PURCHASE LOYALTY AND ADVOCACYThe-Small-Business-Guide-to-Digital-Marketing-Advocacy

Once the customer has bought, they will quickly form an opinion of your product. If this opinion is positive, customers will add to your brand’s sales pipeline through their own loyalty and shared advocacy. The best brands use current customers to spread their brand message and grow their existing user base. This is done through word of mouth, reviews and online posts. Brands can also promote customers with loyalty to be advocates through referral campaigns and reputable service. Loyalty campaigns directed at such users can involve existing customers attracting new ones at a far lower cost. 

Forrester research company found that the cost of acquiring a new customer is up to 30 times that of keeping an existing one. This is further emphasised by the well-known 80/20 rule, that tells us that 20% of your customers bring you 80% of your revenue.

Segmenting and targeting these customers will keep your sales flowing throughout the year, even when new customer sales are stagnant. It is because of this that existing customers are your most valuable. Thus, because of all of the work you have done to remain front of mind, you are now their go-to resource repeatedly when they seek goods in your industry.

Though recurring customers may not be big purchasers, it is likely that over time, the revenue from them will top revenue from big one-time buyers.

Having secured existing customer loyalty, the next trick is to get these customers to vocalise their feelings and positive associations with your brand. These form positive, authentic recommendations that will resonate with other potential customers because they are from a trusted source.

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Evangelism, in the form of writing product reviews, posting about products on social media and more, can help your brand drive new leads through your sales funnel. Marketers can work to develop this by adding stackable incentives and rewards for those existing customers that advocate your products. This forms a community around your brand and engages clusters of similar ‘lookalike’ audiences in real-time. Bain and Co found that customers spend 20- 40% more with companies that have been recommended from an external source.

Thus, a high-quality pre & post-sales service that exceeds expectations and leaves a customer feeling satisfied, is the key to loyalty.

The best ways to generate post-purchase customer loyalty are below. These tips focus on how you can go the extra mile. They outline how to improve your reciprocal customer loyalty, and gain the premium relationship every business strives for.

For more Remarketing and Retargeting efforts visit our previous blog post.

7 WAYS TO EARN & BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY THROUGH CUSTOMER SERVICE

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 1. Know your customer and let them know you

One of the best things you can do, irregardless of whether you’re operating a business, is to make your audience feel valued. It can be as simple as remembering their name and a detail of your last conversation; these nuances work. Companies should try to emulate this with their customers.

 1.1 Send “Happy Birthday” & Other Personalised Emails

Customers are more likely to be loyal if they feel valued. Do you remember their birthdays, last time they purchased, or details about their life? Many effective businesses have launched email programs which will send personalised emails and discounts during a customer’s birthday month & life events.

 Be transparent with your customers about your business. Give them the inside scoop of any changes to structuring, events and products that might effect your audience.

 2. Reward loyalty with Customer Loyalty Programs

Much like the loyalty credit cards that offer you discounts in return for timely spending, your deals can capture your customer to follow your loyalty flash sales. These may sound like a tricky way to lock in you customer, but if you’re honest about the implications, reward programs can be great.

Starbucks use a more long-term method of loyalty-based point accumulation. Their ‘stars’ are rewarded to customers through purchases, with opportunities to double their rewards certain days of the month and graduate to tiers of loyalty. This allows businesses to store data and personal information in the app - so you never have a misspelled coffee cup again.

2.2 Punch Cards

If credit cards are to much of a commitment, an easier way to reward loyal customers is through punch cards. An employee at Sydney Digital Marketing co-owns a hairstylist, which has punch cards for each service; if their customers come in 5 times they get a free styling. It’s a great way to keep customers coming back to your specific shop, and your brand in their wallet.

3. Serve Customers on Multiple Channels

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To eliminate doubt and reinforce the customer’s previous decision to buy, companies have to be active on telephone lines, e-mails, text messages, video calling, websites, at the brick and mortar store, on the app, social media, and with tools like Live Chat at all times. Approachable businesses that try to actively solve issues and are quick to react, will remain front of mind for when the customer upgrades or repurchases a product.

4. Make Customer Loyalty Easier

4.1 Store Customer Data

Storing customer purchase data and payment details will make their purchase process easier. And by making their process easier, they’ll be more inclined to convert on their checkout screen. One touch ordering tells the customer that you know who they are, and you’re there to help them through their purchase.

To look at it from a different perspective, Apple also does this. With each upgrade, the iPhone strives to make the user’s life a little simpler - anything from the easy-access to the camera on the lock screen, to the accessibility double-tap on the home button for people with small hands. These changes - without the use of discounts - have built a loyal following across all demographics.

 4.2 Make Use of Automation

The wireless internet company that we use at Sydney Digital are exemplary. We called them to complain about our internet speed and were directed to the right person by our phone number. Without any manual form work, the customer service representative made it clear that she saw and understood the problem, which resulted in a technician coming to replace our router at a conveniently scheduled time later that week. After he left, the same representative called us to make sure everything was working. We barely had to do anything but pick up the phone and dial, yet we got value and assurance from their thorough service.

5. Be the Best at What You Do

This might sound simple, and easier said than done, but if you are the best at what you do locally - and are known for this service - you will steer conversation towards your brand. This can be done by targeting demographic clusters, location clusters or people that follow influencers. All of these perimeters contain audiences with attributes in common. If they are in the same friendship group or share interests then you can target this in your marketing efforts with ‘lookalike’ audiences on Facebook. By proving you have the best products or services for select audiences, your brand will have advocates that potential customers trust, I.e. friends and family.

5.1 Make Your Value Prop Part of Your Brand

A great alternative to being the best is showing your customers that you are constantly striving to improve. Patagonia communicate this through a great story and shopping experience that invites audiences to see why they love what they do. They express their unique business model that was popularised through the publication of Let My People Go Surfing.

Find a way to humanise your brand, tell your story and show what your brand stands for - then customers will trust you. Everyone appreciates the effort when you reach out and try to start discussions, which leads you to encourage your customer's feedback.

6. Encourage Customer Feedback

Customer reviews go hand-in-hand with customer loyalty. Good reviews will push that final will to convert, because good service leads to satisfied customers that leave good reviews.

Make sure anyone in the company that is client facing is paying attention to their needs and acting to work through queries. You can provide great service through channels such as Twitter and Customer Portals. After their issue has been resolved, ask them for feedback to better your process. incorporate rewards in return for this feedback to receive higher engagement rates.

6.1 Ask for Reviews by Email

Though this is usually an annoying request in the eyes of the customer, if done creatively or with a personalised spin on your message, it can be rewarding. Once a customer has made a certain number of purchases for instance, you could send a prompt to review the company for a special discount.

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7. Go The Extra Mile

Doing something a customer values but doesn’t expect is powerful. For instance, a software sales rep could make a personal visit to help with the installation and support with a new, local client. Creating a type of ‘wow’ moment will show honest and authentic appreciation for the customer’s decision to buy. To go the extra mile, there are several ways you can support your customers:

Training your team

Listening to your customers

Showing respect and appreciation of their feedback or purchase

Engaging in community practice

Being honest and transparent

 8. Maintain Your Email Relationship

Email communication is one of the best, most efficient ways to stay in close contact with your top clients. Despite the emphasis on other digital and social communication formats, email is among the most useful platforms to drive repeat business. A McKinsey study noted that emails drive purchases at a rate 3x greater than social media. The average order size is 17% higher as well.

Use your email newsletters and other updates to offer particular customer demographics access to resources and information they value. This necessary connection allows you to target customers for solution enhancements or even new buying situations.

While the tips above are great for building loyalty from a customer service point of view, the brief 4 tips below outline how your brand can also build cost-driven campaigns to attract repeat customers. These tips include practical insights that attract cost-sensitive customer segments.

4 TIPS TO BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY THROUGH DISCOUNT PROGRAMS

In today’s marketplace, few customers stay loyal to a brand. And, why should they? The Internet is where almost everyone does research, and where the vast majority of commerce takes place. Consumers are turning to the web primarily because of convenience - a days worth of holiday shopping can now be done in a fraction of the time in a cost efficient way. This convenience and personal gain outweigh the loyalty customers traditionally feel towards brands. 

Countless websites offer hard-to-turn-down time sensitive discounts to drive sales. Price comparisons are at consumer fingertips, and ‘flash sales’ perpetuate an online shopping trend that encourages fickle consumer buying behaviour in today's market. To build brand loyalty through a price-point competitive edge, while increasing revenue, will require an effective loyalty pricing strategy. These are covered below:

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1. Promise a Reward After Customers Make a Purchase

Try drawing new customers in with a reward for making that first purchase. As an example, rather than offering $5 off the first order, instead offer $10 on their next order. Even if it doesn’t offer an immediate reward to your customers, it benefits you by bringing back your customers & ensuring that you have them locked in after their initial purchase. 

2. Reward Customers for Bulk Purchases

Customers should receive the benefits of economies of scale when conducting a bulk purchase. This allows the customer to justify a larger order, because the price is spread over multiple items. If these items are of quality, the customer will associate your brand with the larger rush from their purchase.

3. Promotional Offers

"Buy one, get one free", "Buy one, get one", "two for the price of one", "two for one" or "2 for 1" is a common form of sales promotion that can engender loyalty if these promotions are used wisely. The key is to use them without tarnishing your brand.

4. Reward Customers with 3 Methods of Pricing

Create different reward groups based on the number of times customers have purchased with you. Increase this amount accordingly, but cap it at a number you feel will still generate you revenue, and keep them coming back for more.

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4.1 Differential Pricing

A strategy that has different prices based on the type of customer, quantity ordered, delivery time, payment terms etc. Retailers can lower their prices for special groups of customers - I.e. 20% off for students, or for customers who have made 5+ orders with you during the year.

4.2 Members-Only Pricing

All industries, from Airlines to Supermarkets, use loyalty schemes and reward clubs to promote exclusivity. These are usually based on an expendable points system that grows adjacent to customer loyalty.

By regularly changing which items are discounted, you can keep your promotions interesting and attract new customers. You can also create different membership tiers, with customers ‘unlocking’ ascending discounts for each.

4.3 Dynamic Pricing

This method of pricing gives you a way to reward customers for making smart buying decisions - and is completely automatic using pricing software.

HOW LOYALTY AND ADVOCACY FIT INTO THE SALES PIPELINE

The final stage of the sales pipeline must be recurring. It must feed customers back into the nurture stage of sales pipeline. To retain customers that have already bought your products requires customised content that triggers their previous inclination to buy. This stage and its content revolves around pre-built trust and experiences with customers that have already bought your products; assuming their buying process, final product experience, and post purchase service is positive.

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The ‘b’ shape of the bottom of the sales pipeline emphasises the remarketing needed to ‘re-spur’ intent after purchase. This content needs to use data collected on previous purchases to recommend new ‘similar’ products. This data collected also forms groups of audiences or personas. These personas share demographic qualities and are marketed too using similar content. This saves you time and resources, as personalised content can be created for hundreds of customers that fit into the same persona at the same time, because they share interests. Therefore it is vital that you gather this data to nurture your customers after their purchase.

The three main mediums to convey these advertisements are Social (Facebook remarketing ads), Search (Google display network) and Email (subscription-based deals) - as expressed throughout this series. These create a loop that keeps audiences interested through relevant campaigns.

Attracting your customers back into the pipeline, and nurturing their intent to buy - even if they just browse - is vital. Dynamic retargeting will lure your customers back to your site, even if they view a product without buying it. Because the sales pipeline cycle evolves according to customer’s trends, and trends change with every visit.


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