Donte Ledbetter, Growth Producer, Content & Programming, Appboy
The true measure of a successful company is not how many customers it's able to acquire or the popularity of its marketing campaigns; it's the ability to retain customers and build sustainable customer relationships that drive long-term ROI. In a world with an endless amount of options for consumers to meet their wants and needs, brands have the tough challenge of keeping customers around for the long haul. This means that brands can no longer just buy customer loyalty; they have to earn it. But first, they have to understand the modern customer and what makes her loyal in the first place.
A customer’s willingness to continuously engage with a brand is dependent upon the experience they get in return for investing their time, focus, and money. For brands, this means that optimizing the experience around every touchpoint a customer has with your brand has to be at the core of your business processes, especially your marketing strategy. Furthermore, that experience has to be personalized and dynamic for every customer.
Here's the three-step marketing process for creating an experience that delivers value for customers and drives customer loyalty.
Make Onboarding Essential
As with any relationship, relationships with customers start with a first impression. A customer’s first app session, site visit, or store visit determines the rest of their journey with your brand. If your onboarding process fails to help new customers become more knowledgeable about your brand and understand your brand’s value, you may lose them faster than you acquire them.
To avoid this scenario, make onboarding a core focus of your marketing strategy. Make sure the first session or visit walks new customers through the value of your brand and product, core features for functionality or pleasure, and how they can benefit with continual usage and purchases. Use introductory content like tutorials and customer stories to help new customers feel more comfortable using your product or service. Once you’ve established a robust onboarding flow, continuously test and optimize the flow and messaging to see what’s driving the most engagement and highest amount of first-time purchases.
Leverage Multiple Channels to Boost Engagement and Retention
Consumers interact in multiple channels on multiple devices every day. According to Appboy, multichannel messaging can increase customer retention by as much as 130%. Not leveraging multiple outreach channels for your brand’s marketing strategy is a missed opportunity that can have long-term negative consequences on retention.
To keep customers engaged with your brand after onboarding, combine channels like push notifications, in-app messages, emails, News Feed cards, SMS, and messaging apps for a comprehensive strategy. Establish a message cadence whereby if a customer doesn’t engage in one channel, they’ll receive a follow-up message in another. The key here, however, is not annoying customers, but making sure that your brand’s value isn’t missed.
Use the Right Tool to Act on Customer Data
When it comes to marketing, rich customer data is like currency. It tells us a lot about what customers like, how they behave, and what’s most likely to resonate with them. Customer data should be at the core of every campaign you run. But how do you extract it, make sense of it, and act on it in the best way possible? It starts with the right tool.
Since the turn of the millennium, CRM platforms have acted as foundational tools for salespeople and customer service to manage prospect and customer relationships. But until recently, CRMs lacked true visibility into the complex, multichannel behaviors of consumers. In order to get a unified view of your customers, it’s important to use a multichannel CRM that gives you insight into demographic data, device data, behavioral data, campaign engagement history, and preferences and interests. It also helps if that CRM tool has multichannel messaging capabilities that allow you to provide seamless customer experiences all from one place. If your customers’ multichannel behaviors aren’t included in your CRM in an easily understood way, it’ll be hard to drive the customer loyalty that your brand needs to thrive.
Winning your customers’ loyalty is hard work and shouldn’t be taken for granted. With a robust onboarding process, an engaging multichannel messaging strategy, and the right tools to parse and utilize actionable customer data, driving customer loyalty for your brand will become much more frictionless.