This is a guest post by Andrew Maffettone, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers.
You may think a lot about how to gain new customers, but it's customer retention that will really increase your profitability. Everyone that runs a business, from a sole proprietor shipping boxes from their garage to Jeff Bezos knows that acquisition of new customers may be expensive, but keeping them is more profitable. And studies have proven this to be so; it can end up costing five times as much to get a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.
To help their clients retain more of their customers, digital marketers have some pretty savvy tricks up their sleeve. We’re going to let you in on the top four tricks that ecommerce digital marketing agencies are doing to increase customer retention:
They Learn Who Your Customers Are
When it comes to customer retention, there’s no such thing as knowing too little. And digital marketers have a wealth of data at their fingertips to help your company keep your customers in your ecosystem. This data goes beyond basic demographics, although those can help begin to sketch out a picture of who they are.
The reason why knowing who your customers are is important is that it lets you tailor your messaging to what they will respond to. A 20-something college student is going to respond to approaches that would alienate a sixty-year old retiree. Knowing who your customers are opens up an entire realm of possibilities on staying connected with them.
This data lets your digital marketing team construct various personas for your customers. Think of the personas as rough sketches of your customers. While they're not comprehensive, they can give you a guiding point to think about how to talk to them. Like Buzz, a young college student who is enthusiastic about new things and being on the forefront of technology. Or James, a 40-something audiophile who wants the best sound possible and doesn’t care how much he as to spend to get it. Like Diana, who is a budget-conscious single mother who is looking for ways to make her life easier.
By discovering and constructing these personas, you can focus your retention efforts by crafting contact and engagement opportunities that speak to them. And when you speak to their concerns, you’re going to get your customers to respond.
They Understand That Email Goes Way Beyond Spam
Email as a form of customer contact has evolved past the stereotypical spam of yesterday. Create multiple templates for your emails based around the customer personas that you’re trying to engage. Then, make sure that your emails aren’t just optimized for desktops, but that they’re going to work for any device. These are now the table stakes when it comes to sending great email.
The best part about the new era of email is you have the room to experiment by using A/B testing across a wide range of personas. More than that, tweak the emails to speak about specific products as well. Do you sell whisks for the kitchen? Your team can set triggers to let your recurring visitors know on your site and then send follow-up emails to people who have bought one to let them know about that amazing set of mixing bowls your R&D team just came up with. The possibilities are endless.
Another trick that digital marketers do with email is making sure that your mailing list is always up-to-date. People who opt out of your email campaign shouldn’t feel like it didn’t work. While it may seem counterintuitive to make your unsubscribe process easier, it will only help your ability to send emails to the people who really do want to receive them.
But don't stop there. You'll want to monitor the number of click-throughs and conversions that come from these email campaigns so that you can continue to adjust them. Data is the heart of any successful marketing campaign, but with digital platforms, the data comes through at a breakneck pace. The best trick that any digital marketer has is being able to absorb and interpret the data so that your next email campaign is even more successful.
They Tweak Your Customer Experience Funnel
The customer experience funnel can be summed up into four parts: Discovery, Interest, Need, and Conversion.
At the heart of any retention strategy is figuring out how your existing customers keep re-entering your funnel and getting them to that Discovery and Interest phase all over again.
Remember that after your customer makes a purchase, they’ve left the funnel, so they need to entice them back in. In some segments, customers will naturally return to your site, especially if you deal in consumables and items with a measurable obsolescence. Electronics, clothing, and media are all examples of goods that feed back into themselves. But those are also great examples of how you cannot be complacent because there's always competition from someone new.
Think about your calls-to-action as well as lead magnets that attract your returning customers. You might want to try video tutorials to keep them engaged and eager to try your next big concept or other how-to resources that help them learn about new ways to use your existing products. These are all great ways to keep your customers engaged and keep them from straying from your offerings.
By using the data you’ve collected, you can also make sure to keep them updated about anything that might appeal to them. Social media and SEO can keep them engaged while your lead magnets gather even more information about them. By offering them quality content in exchange for a snippet of information, you can constantly improve how your funnel can keep them coming back for more.
They Stay Lean and Stay Hungry
Digital marketers know that things online move at the speed of thought. What was viral and engaging today will be old news tomorrow. Whether it’s tapping into the blogosphere to see what the social motivators and innovators are talking about or keeping track of the trending topics on Twitter, the best way to keep your customers engaged is to find out what they’re engaging with.
Data analysis is a never ending job. Whether it’s PPC ads on social media, evaluating affiliate markets, or tweaking and optimizing SEO, your marketing team should be constantly sniffing out and devouring the latest trends and performance stats from your last campaign. Done properly, your digital marketers will unobtrusively allow you to showcase your brand while helping you to expand into the channels and platforms that encourage engagement and retention.
Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, e-commerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide. You can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting here.