Customers can be extremely fickle creatures.
Unless you are one of the mega brands enjoying a steady flow of millions of customers worldwide (Amazon, Apple and McDonald's, we're looking at you), attracting and retaining customers can be one of the biggest challenges for many businesses.
Big Commerce notes that 43% of e-commerce sales are generated from existing customers. The rest comes from new ones, and so you need to ensure you focus your online marketing and retention efforts on both in equal measure.
The good news is that there are many channels and techniques at your fingertips that will help you to get customers where you want them and keep them there.
#1 – Be Seen
If your customers can't "see" you, they will never know you exist.
Visibility is key, whether you are planning your next digital marketing campaign or opening a brick and mortar store to complement your e-commerce offering.
Whether it's online presence, your social media accounts or your store signage, it is essential that you can be easily found and that you leave a great first impression.
However, first impressions can quickly fade. Once people have found you, you need to draw them in with great value for money, quality products and services and a customer experience that blows your customers away and your competitors out of the water.
Here are some ideas to improve your visibility:
Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the most effective ways to share information with your audience and build content on your website.
The more engaging and relevant content you publish, the higher your website will rank in Google's search results pages.
High-quality content that gives your audience something valuable (think advice, style guides, how to get more from your product, etc.) will keep your audience coming back for more.
Did you know that 93% of online sales start with a search?
Search Engine Optimization doesn't sound any less scary when you use its acronym, SEO, but once you understand the basics, it's one of the best ways to gain visibility. Better yet, outsource the responsibility to somebody else.
Building quality SEO strategies into your marketing will not only ensure that your web pages and articles climb higher in the Google rankings, but will also ensure your pages reach the right people at the right time.
Perfect Your Social Media Presence
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit; it can be hard to choose where to shine in the world of social media marketing, but the most important thing is that you do.
According to research, 71% of online consumers will be more likely to recommend a brand if they had a good social media experience.
#2 – What's Your USP?
Every business needs a USP, something that sets it apart from its rivals and which will make prospective customers take notice and believe they will receive added value by choosing that business over all others.
The mistake many businesses make when first starting up is that they want to be known for everything. The problem is that in the end, many end up not being known for anything special at all.
Imagine a busy street food market. Everybody claims to have the juiciest this and the most delicious that, but if they are all claiming the same benefits, how are they really standing out?
But if you turn that up a notch and shout about the specially sourced ingredients you are using, a secret recipe handed down through generations or you give away free samples and free gifts, then you have a USP that piques interest and stops customers in their tracks.
#3 – Know Your Customers. No, Really Know Them
We're living and working in a time where data can reveal more about customers and prospective customers than ever before.
The best businesses aren't always the ones that focus on selling their services and products. They are the ones giving their customers plenty of attention and finding out what they really need and want.
A CRM solution, for example, can help you to build customer profiles for every customer and to track their customer journey with you.
For example, when a potential customer opens an email or clicks on a link, you can move them to the next stage in your sales funnel. This might involve sending them another email based on the content they have already consumed or sending them a discounted offer.
Based on the data you collect at various touchpoints, you can tailor your marketing more effectively as you learn more about their likes and habits.
Then, #1 – Personalize the Experience
Did you know that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer?
Don't let the trail go cold the moment a customer makes a purchase. This is the perfect time to build a loyal customer relationship and expertly craft a personalized customer experience.
Email marketing and targeted advertising are a great way to retain e-commerce customers.
Let's say one of your customers has been identified through their browsing data as being interested in black boots.
This information allows you to tailor your marketing and send them an email that gives them more black boots to ponder and a discount code, too! Additionally, your customer will be impressed because you delivered the right message at the right time.
#2 – Create a Loyalty Program
It might surprise you to know this, but loyalty programs have actually been around since the 1700s. Back then, they consisted of copper coins that were given to customers to exchange for goods or services at a later date.
Today, the rewards may have changed, but the premise is the same. You see, when you give your customers something of value in return for using your business, they are more likely to return time and time again.
From a percentage discount to bonus points that can be exchanged for goods, a loyalty program is a quick and easy way to engage and retain your customers.
And Finally, # 3 – Spot the Opportunities to Upsell and Cross-Sell
Upselling is not only a great way to make more revenue, but it can also be a great way to retain existing customers.
By suggesting add-ons and upgrades for a discounted price, you show the customer you want them to get the best from their initial purchase and that you understand what else they might need.
For example, if a customer is purchasing a new laptop, suggesting they might also like to consider a smart pen or upgrading to a touchscreen version could be a very effective way to upsell.
Cross-selling allows you to leverage opportunities to sell additional products to your customers.
Let's go back to the black boots example above. When a customer looks at or purchases a pair of black boots on your website, you could send them an automated email that suggests additional accessories or clothing that would look great with the boots.
The customer, unaware of the marketing intelligence happening in the background, is delighted that you sent them highly targeted purchasing suggestions.
Whether they are visiting your website for the very first time or have been placing orders with you for years, your customers are everything.
At every stage in the customer journey, your priority should be to delight them and to make them feel like they are a big deal.
When expectations are set and met at every touch-point the customer has with your brand, the customer will gain complete trust in your business, be happy to be a customer and share their experience with others.
The best bit is that with the right marketing techniques and technology in place, most of the hard work is done for you.