How to Turn Your Customers’ Birthdays and Special Events into a Retention Opportunity

How to Turn Your Customers’ Birthdays and Special Events into a Retention Opportunity header

Source: Unsplash

There are many ways to turn an ordinary day into a special event, and then utilize it for your retention strategy. For starters, everyone has a birthday, and you can celebrate the day for your business’ advantage. A report by Experian found that when compared to mass-promotional emails, birthday and anniversary messages were opened at higher rates, 235% for birthday and 150% for anniversary. But, it’s not just birthdays and anniversaries that can be used for retention. Gearing messages and offering incentives to celebrate your own company’s milestones can solidify your bond with your customers. Through the use of email marketing and automation, text messages, and social media, you have the potential to turn a birthday into business and use special days as a tool to help retain your customers over time.

1. Digitally Gifted: Email Marketing

It’s your customer’s birthday or anniversary, and your system knows it. You’ve already employed strategies to communicate with the customer on this special day, but how can you go further to ensure they take advantage of the reward you’re offering? Start before the big day. For example, ASOS sends a special email 12 days before a customer’s birthday with clever copy that explains how the company will celebrate their customer’s birthday with them by offering an early discount to take advantage of, for let’s say, a new birthday dress. Another option, like what jewelry company Pandora does, is to send an early message asking customers to select their wish list. This way, your company goes straight to the source to find out the products you can gift your customer or discount for them on their big day.

Additionally, based on a customer’s purchase history, you can tailor the exact offer to products you know they’ll like and want to buy. The same Experian studied mentioned above found that offering dollar amount discounts as opposed to percentage discounts tended to perform more strongly. Another interesting way to celebrate would be to show customers their year-in-review of what they’ve purchased and how much they’ve saved in that amount of time. Then, as a special gift, you can extend an offer based on their spending amount so they feel rewarded for their loyalty at the same time and are urged to continue spending more so that they earn bigger discounts by the time their next birthday rolls around.

2. Make Milestones Matter

In a digital world, the number of likes and follows that your company maintains has become social currency. As a retention manager, you know that it’s not easy to organically grow social media accounts, but when your business takes off across platforms, it’s something to celebrate. Why not make a special event out of it by engaging your customers, after all, they are the ones who need to engage with your brand to make social media matter. Internet and cellular service provider AT&T did just that when they created personalized “thank you” videos to their fans when they reached two million fans on Facebook. Via a Facebook app, fans were able to share why they thought AT&T was awesome, and then AT&T responded personally with these messages of appreciation. By taking the conversation to the next level, AT&T turned their social media presence into something beyond just words on a screen and digital mentions. They created a special event out of what seemingly would have been another ordinary day and were able to invite their audience to be a part of the celebration.

3. A Mobile Moment: Automated Text Messages

Phones are usually in the hand, purse or pocket of most people, so having the ability to reach your customer via text message is a surefire way to get your birthday message across in a timely manner. Text messages have a 98% open rate, and there’s no denying the simplicity behind this medium of communication. With tools like smoove’s automated text messages, you can simply personalize a SMS message and send it to individuals or lists alike.

Additionally, if you wanted to lead a customer directly to a landing page within the text message, you have that option. Like email marketing, offering a discount code or a coupon code for a customer’s birthday incentivizes a transaction. However, SMS text messages are simple and to the point, so they don’t necessarily need much personalization nor do they require extra design features. Instead, they can be automated ahead of time to present the offer on your customer’s birthday with simple text and either a link to a landing page or solely a discount code.

Smartphone Messaging

Source: Unsplash

4. Be a Social Media Butterfly

Social media is another touch point to address your customers on their birthday and special events like holidays. If you want to advertise to people specifically around their birthday, Facebook allows for detailed targeting where you can specify this criteria and then create a message geared towards offering a birthday gift. Once a customer takes actions and clicks through on this ad, you can trigger a personalized message thanking them and following up to ensure they got what they wanted and had a nice birthday. This added touch will separate you from the crowd and signal that you really care about your customer’s loyalty with your brand.

It’s not just birthdays that can be targeted. Holidays are typically universal and allow for another opportunity to connect with your customer in creative ways. Pizza Hut had a love-ly campaign (pun intended) for Valentine’s Day that was both timely and celebratory. Since many people procrastinate finding a gift for their loved one, the pizza chain decided to step in and get cheesy. With their #LastMinuteLovers Twitter campaign, customers could tweet at them and they promised to deliver a gift card with a “Eau de Pizza Hut” perfume.

5. Use Your Company’s Birthday to Celebrate

Companies have birthdays too, and your customers will be willing to celebrate when there is something in it for them. Whether you offer a discount code as a gift to your customers on your birthday or get more creative by creating an entire campaign, using your milestone as a way to drive business is a win-win situation for everyone involved. For creative campaigns, landing pages are a handy way to get something started.

For example, on Heinz’s 130th birthday, they offered customers the option to customize ketchup bottle labels for their own special events, whether it be weddings, birthdays or anniversaries. By creating a landing page just for their birthday, customers could go through three simple steps to personalize their bottle.

Speaking of ketchup, burger behemoth McDonald’s took advantage of their 50th anniversary of the Big Mac by partnering with Coke. McDonald’s created a Big Mac designed coke can and brought the two iconic brands together in a seamlessly creative offering that turned into a collector’s item of sorts. While this may not seem like something that would retain customers, it offers an additional incentive for people to come into McDonald’s specifically as opposed to going to a competitor like Burger King of In-N-Out for a burger because a customer may genuinely want that specific and limited edition Coke can.

Offering ways for customers to get involved in the celebration also translates into word-of-mouth marketing. When people have customized products that they can use during their own big life events, it creates a way for your brand and their memories to be remembered together, and that promotes loyalty. This also translates into product placement within your customers’ broadcasting across social media platforms.Heinz

Source: Unsplash

Cherry on Top: Wrap Up

Tools such as smoove can help greatly with this. smoove believe automation tools should be easy, and caring about such events should be simple. That’s why smoove offers automation tools that can be tailored for usage around such milestones and stores those special dates in one cohesive system, making your job easier. That’s as good as having a birthday wish come true!

Looking at the calendar year ahead, what holidays and events align well with your brand to take advantage of and build campaigns around? Furthermore, how can you better position your loyalty/rewards program to incorporate birthday and anniversary gifts?

How to Maintain Customer Loyalty in a Competitive Landscape

In a saturated retail landscape, it quite literally pays to stand out and build strong relationships with your customers to develop and maintain customer loyalty. When your products and prices are on par with the rest of your competition, what tools can you use to set yourself apart?

1. Your Brand: It’s A Story With Power

Your brand is your story. It’s pivotal to find ways to tell your brand’s story and share your mission so that customers can get on board with your unique selling proposition (USP) since shared values are the biggest driver of brand loyalty.

Brands that have good quality products and values that impact the world create change, retain customers, and secure their bottom line. For example, TOMS Shoes, founded by Blake Mycoskie, recognized that many people in South America were in dire need of shoes. By creating a product that resembled traditional shoes in Argentina, Blake also vowed to give back to the community by creating One-for-One, a program where for every pair of shoes purchased, a pair of shoes would be donated. So far, the company has donated more than 35 million pairs of shoes, and when they expanded their product line into coffee and sunglasses, they remained committed to their promise of giving back. For every bag of coffee that is purchased, TOMS provides one week of clean water to someone in need, and for every pair of glasses purchased, TOMS vows to help save a person’s eyesight.

TRVL LITESource: Screenshot

The consistency within their brand of creating quality products and also caring about those in need has made TOMS more than a shoe company. While TOMS is a for-profit business, it has become synonymous with giving back. Their story has been told through PR, landing pages, social media, newsletters, and events, but they also make it clear by showcasing their mission on their packaging and on their product. By stating the One-for-One program on the physical shoebox and within the sole of the shoe, customers are reminded of their donation when they are in the store trying on the shoes (before purchase), and then, every time thereafter when they put their shoes on (promoting loyalty), and even after with the email marketing that TOMS sends with company updates (maintaining a relationship).

It’s important to note that people can buy similar cloth shoes for much less money from other brands, but TOMS has been able to create a culture around their product. TOMS developed an annual event called One Day Without Shoes (ODWS) that went viral on social media, engaging about 3.5 million people in just one day. People walk around barefoot for a day to understand what it’s like for those without access to shoes, and this further promotes the belief that by buying a pair of TOMS, they can play a part in changing a life. In turn, celebrities and TOMS customers create their own content that TOMS shares on the company website and social media, thereby using the culture to make every consumer a potential brand ambassador.

From this prime example, it’s clear that if TOMS only believed in donating products, but didn’t market that to the public, people wouldn’t buy-in. Through the use of social media, experiential events, consumer-generated content, email marketing, strong packaging design, and the use of their landing pages, TOMS and One-for-One have become interchangeable. Learning from TOMS, you can employ similar tactics by creating interactive campaigns where your customers share photos of your product on social media to enable them to believe so much in the brand that it becomes part of their own personal story.

Although it’s not always possible to establish this kind of business model, it is possible to create a mission statement that goes beyond just selling products and showcase it in your marketing before, during and after a sale.

2. Customer Communication: Let’s Get Personal

A good rule of thumb for any kind of communication is to know your audience. People are different, and therefore, they like to communicate differently. As technology gets smarter and more marketing tools become automated, communication needs to become more nuanced. People want to feel like the customer service and messaging they receive is meant only for them and therefore totally relevant. They also want to receive communication at the times that are right for them.

While speaking directly to your consumers in their respective segments is one of email marketing best practices, remaining culturally relevant and promoting your messaging in real-time further helps to engage your customers. Marketing automation tools can help you to get that timing and personal, contextual communications perfectly. An example of a company that does a great job of remaining culturally relevant, contextual and choosing the right time to speak to customers is outdoor sports gear retailer, REI.

Since messages that are highly contextualized are more likely to be opened, the retailer used one of the industry’s largest shopping days, Black Friday, to promote their brand’s mission. While most companies pushed their biggest sales and door-busting deals via email around this time, REI instead pushed people to #OptOutside and proceeded to shut all their stores on this retail frenzied day. The campaign connected to REI’s mission rather than their products and allowed for customers to use the hashtag to share their own experiences through content. REI’s chief creative officer Ben Steele said, “The ability to claim that moment and say, this is about our values and not about transactions, is still pretty differentiating.”

REI has gone even further and created a search engine dedicated to the #OptOutside campaign that honors people who adventure and allows others to virtually explore. This tactic also allowed for partnerships with other brands. For example, REI partnered with Lyft to offer discounted rides for avid adventurers to spend their days outdoors instead of shopping inside a mall. Although this campaign seems somewhat counterintuitive to their bottom line, REI knows that by remaining true to their brand and being bigger than their product, they are incentivizing people to believe in what they stand for and they know their customer base will appreciate the message, especially in a time when the market is saturated with emails to get people to get inside and shop.

Here is a great clip that summarises this:

This shows how an idea can begin as an email campaign and ads and then spread to something bigger with landing pages, social media, an actual event and way of life. Additionally, it all comes down to really knowing your audience, which is where segmentation can help spread your message to the right people. The message you send is based on customer actions and their participation with your product, so you want to use automation tools to easily define and create lists to keep your audience organized.

3. Problems Are Inevitable: Be Prepared

People like it when things go right, but they are more bound to speak up when things go wrong; therefore, being proactive and solution-oriented is a surefire way to retain happy customers, even after they have an unhappy experience. Being prepared for the inevitable customer complaints or employee downfalls is a very pivotal step in maintaining customer loyalty.

happy customersSource: Pixabay

The first step to being able to satisfy a customer’s need is to offer various options for communication. Customers should be able to call, email, SMS text, chat, or utilize social media about an issue and be served with a timely response. Having more touch points will help to quickly deescalate a frustrated customer from the get go.

Once communication has been established, be sure the companies’ responders know to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Then, they should be able to understand and listen to the problem, apologize for the issue, offer solutions, and follow-up after the complaint has been resolved to make sure the customer knows that having them as a customer is not taken for granted. Of course, monetary compensation for mix-ups is appreciated, but customers also value apologies. One study showed that customers who got compensation without an apology were 37% satisfied, but when an apology was added to the compensation, the satisfaction rate doubled to 74%.

An easy way to make sure there is follow-up after the complaint has been resolved is to use email automation. You can create batches of customers with similar complaints and use auto-sequence emails to check in to see if there is anything else that the customer needs or wants to share with your company. Going further, you can segment your customers based on if they are at-risk (if they’ve made complaints in the past). Then, you can send offers and resources directly to those who may churn to try to prevent them from leaving. In the same manner, your customers who are the most loyal and consistent in buying your products can be categorized into a VIP list where offers and incentives are tailored to them, thereby letting them know how much you value their business.

Another tactful way to resolve issues is to set up a landing page specifically for troubleshooting so that customers can search forums, chat with support, and try to resolve their issues on their own time. A great example of customer support that uses a landing page and offers multiple touch points is Apple. Not only is the Genius Bar in physical Apple store locations filled with helpful and friendly employees, but Apple also extends this customer relationship online, and in a business like retail/technology where troubleshooting is frequent, creating an easy user experience on their website means customers have support wherever they may be.

landing page for troubleshootingSource: Screenshot

4. Post-Purchase: Maintain a Relationship

It’s critical to continue the customer experience and engagement after a customer makes a purchase from your business. According to a Harvard Business Review study, there is an “experience gap” from the time of purchase until the item arrives, and only 16% of companies focus on retention. Therefore, if you can successfully close this gap, you are dramatically increasing the odds to invite customer loyalty, satisfaction, and profit. Existing customers are 60-70% more likely to buy again than new clients, who do so at a rate of 5-20%.

Initially, by using automated emails for first purchase follow ups, you create a way to keep your business in the top of the customer’s mind as they await their product’s arrival. At the same time, you can offer discounts for their next purchase, or even throw in a referral benefit for them to invite a friend and benefit from sharing.

Another idea is to send emails to your customers who fit a certain criteria, either based on the amount of times they’ve purchased in a given time period or a dollar amount that they’ve surpassed. This is especially important if they haven’t purchased for a while, say 3-6 months, because you can incentivize them to come back with offers (bounceback) and/or feedback (engages the customer and helps you do better next time to retain others).

Nordstrom is a retailer who understand the post-purchase engagement with its customers very well. When an order is purchased, not only will a receipt immediately pop into the buyer’s email, but the buyer also gets updates once the order has shipped and been delivered, all with easily accessible tracking information. Furthermore, the email has all the purchased items laid out next to a customer support blurb, allowing customers to call, email or live chat a support representative should they have any needs. Lastly, at the bottom of the email, Nordstrom includes an upsell option, with links and photos to additional items the customer may like based on their order history. All in one email, Nordstrom is answering the customer’s question on when they can expect their order, providing the details with costs for the customer’s records, offering additional support, and showcasing more products to persuade another purchase.

Maintain customer relationshipSource: Pexels

By using triggers, rules and workflows, companies can use marketing automation to make the post-purchase customer experience drive customer loyalty just like Nordstrom.

WRAP UP

Customers value quality, price, speed, convenience and care. When you’re in a highly competitive environment based on similar price points and comparative quality, you can effectively maintain customer loyalty by setting yourself apart with your customer service and communication efforts.

Using newsletters and email marketing to keep your customers informed about your company’s social efforts, product line announcements, news, and order information are crucial ways to remain relevant in their mind. When customers feel like they can easily reach out to your company through various touch points with consistency and transparency, you can continue to build a strong and loyal relationship before, during and after the purchase has been made.

By using segmentation to address customers personally, you can ensure that individual buyers feel important and taken care of even when your customer lists are massive. In the nearly guaranteed event of a mishap, you want to be sure you’re prepared in advance to handle any situation so that you can efficiently change a customer’s experience from negative to positive to maintain their support of your brand. The use of social media has allowed for more intimate conversations between customers and companies, so being able to manage communication on that front is pivotal in sharing your brand’s story and connecting with customers locally and globally.

Loyalty grows as a practice of providing quality customer care and both meeting and exceeding expectations. As author and business strategist Jeffrey Gitomer has said, “You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” If you were to begin today, what’s the one tactic that you can employ that will help you continue on the path of establishing customer loyalty?

Digital marketing solutions that’ll help you retain customers

The ability to convert a customer more than once while only paying a single acquisition cost is a crucial aspect to maintaining a successful business, and it’s made possible with retention marketing and digital marketing solutions. The use of digital technology tools such as automation, remarketing and personalised emails, help marketers reach their target audience better than ever to promote engagement and retention.

In a digital world, the use of data, automation and segmentation offer useful tools to connect more efficiently with your customers and optimize their overall lifetime value. According to The Office of Consumer Affairs in Washington D.C., a loyal customer will spend ten or more times their initial expenditure with a single company. By using digital marketing solutions, you can tap into and nurture a successful buying relationship with customers for the long-term.

1. Open Lines of Communication Immediately

The hardest type of customer to convert is a new one. They have less experience with your company and still have to be sold on why they should value your product or service. This means that communication should be the strongest from the get-go to establish a transparent, useful, and lasting first impression.

One useful way to maintain open communication is to use email marketing templates (with personalization) for first-time users and employ automation in funnels for their distribution. Tools like Smoove offer email templates that provide a simple solution to get started.

Aerial Blog
Source: Pexels

Nike is a good example of a company that knows how to communicate across digital outlets, from email to apps and more, and then ties it all together in physical retail locations. For example, when someone makes a purchase with retailer Nike, an email receipt is triggered to hit the buyer’s inbox. Within the email, Nike has a call-to-action for customers to opt-in to be alerted when new products and styles drop. By giving the customer the option to get push notifications, Nike opens to the door to upsell more products.

While it’s obvious for retailers to send receipts and email communication from the get-go, Nike takes the interaction a step further by creating an entire ecosystem of apps, products and experiences for their customers, both new and old alike. Nike offers its users the option to sign up for a Nike+ (Nike Plus) account to gain incentives.

Nike+ members have access to innovative mobile apps, are informed about sneaker releases before other customers, receive free delivery and free returns, to name a few benefits. Going even further, Nike+ is a program designed by athletes, for athletes. Along with transactional rewards, members can take part in exclusive events, making the entire brand relationship with its customers experiential from beginning to end.

Nike makes it easy to be a part of the Nike+ “club,” and then they are able to group their customers based on their specific buying patterns and habits so that they can communicate with them differently and gauge their level of interest with products.

It’s important to note and realize that communication should occur at multiple touchpoints and exist before, during and after the transactional process happens. Like Nike has showcased, building this kind of user experience through communication, rewards, and opportunities is a key to retaining a loyal customer base, especially in a competitive environment.

2. Use Segmentation to Target Messages

The statistics show, once you win a customer over and create brand loyalty, their purchasing habits are likely to increase more than ten-fold. RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) analysis helps retain customers through segmentation. Like Pareto’s principle states, “80% of your business should come from 20% of your customers,” so personalizing messages towards your customers is a paramount task to create and nurture loyalty.

So how can you segment your audience? RFM is a simple moniker to remember what’s important throughout the process.

    • Recency: The more recently someone made a purchase with your brand, the more likely they are to shop again. This means that you can create an email specifically targeted to those who have recently made a purchase.
    • Frequency: Naturally, the more often someone interacts with your product, the more loyal they make themselves out to be. It’s nice to reward your customers who commonly use your products because you can show that their loyalty is appreciated. Create an email list for those who have purchased a certain number of times, say within a month, and thank them for their support. Create a segment for these VIP customers and shower them with loyalty rewards.
    • Monetary: Lastly, you can rank your customers based on how much they spend and create a hierarchy. In this way, you can continue to push people upwards within the sales funnel through targeted messages to each segment of customers along their journey.

The segmentation of customers based on these aspects makes it simple to offer special incentives. Rather than having to extend coupons or free shipping to your entire customer base, you can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and make sure that you’re protecting your own monetary interest.

3. Set Up Email Drip Marketing Campaigns

As a customer moves through your company’s sales funnel, you want to be able to communicate with them at the right time during their interaction with your product. With email drip marketing, you allow the customer’s actions to “trigger” an automated message, and these kinds of emails typically have click through rates three times higher than regular email marketing messages.

Whether you’ve already begun sending drip emails or you’re considering beginning, here are some useful tips to keep in mind to optimize success:

        • Segment your lists based on RFM (as outlined above)
        • Set rules and triggers: decide how many messages you’ll send to a customer until they are engaged (open or click through)
        • Mix and match: feel free to mix email marketing messaging with sales call in whatever manner makes most sense based on your business and the goal
        • Make your purpose obvious: include a call-to-action or obvious next step so your customer easily understands the message’s purpose and why they are receiving the email
        • Vary your content: marketing comes down to trial and error to see what works best. Write different kinds of emails, some examples include: customer testimonials, features overview, how-tos/hacks, industry trends, and promotions
        • It’s not all or nothing: make sure you set up a landing page to manage subscriber preferences. The last thing you want a fed up customer to do is fully unsubscribe from your list, so by giving them an option to control the frequency of emails, you’re more likely to hold onto their contact information in your database
        • Track your results: if it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed. Try testing different subject lines, send times, sender names, call to actions and the like to measure your results.

A Step Further

But, this is the low-hanging fruit of retention drip marketing. While most companies send welcome emails and point customers towards landing pages, you can go further by truly customizing the experience. What if you could let you customers tell you more about themselves, then with little effort you can find out exactly what they need from your company, and then you can deliver it? For example, you can offer a live chat option within the email to make the communication truly go both ways.

Additionally, as drip email campaigns are designed on the “next-step” logic of a customer’s interaction, they should also take into account the emotional and psychological effect on their users. By designing clean, concise, and open space emails with direct call to actions, you can better lead your customer toward the next step you want them to make.

In all of these campaigns, segmentation is paramount so that you can ensure you’re giving the right information to the customers who need it. If you can find a way to drive customers to your business for information and inspiration outside of simply expecting them to only visit your business when they need something, you are building your brand at the top of their mind and promoting retention.

4. Enact Dynamic Remarketing Ads

Customers who have already spent money with you still need to be reminded of your existence so that they don’t go looking for the products you offer elsewhere.

Implementing remarketing display ads and targeting your audience based on their search history allows for you to push products that are relevant to your customers. This is called dynamic remarketing display ads and it allows for the use of data to push the products your customers have looked at to them after they leave your site. E-commerce retailer ASOS used Facebook remarketing and saw a 300% increase in orders along with a 250% increase in their return of investment for their ad spend.

5. Provide Platform-Specific Social Content

Dynamic remarketing ads go hand-in-hand with social media. As display ads populate your customers’ social media feeds, you can also use your own content on social media to promote brand loyalty and increase retention. Selling is psychological, and it’s equally useful to know your customer as it is to know how to talk to them on their preferred platform. People use different platforms for different reasons, and like form fits function, content should be designed for its outlet.

A good example of a brand that tailors its content based on platform is General Electric (GE). For Snapchat, GE uses emojis, doodles and fun text. They also create experiential “events” and broadcast it to various channels. For example, they placed a wireless sensor in a live volcano to predict when it would erupt. Then, they cross-pollinated and broadcasted the footage live on both Facebook and Snapchat.

Another useful tactic is to give customers a reason to follow all your accounts across platforms by not only offering platform-specific incentives, but also by providing tailored content based on the application you’re using. When you understand how your customers use their social media platforms, you can invite them to create user-generated content and be a part of your network to help push your products. Social media also offers a great space to promote new product launches and communicate directly with your customers should they need assistance.

Apple Social Media Apps
Source: Pexels

Wrap Up

Digital marketing tools are an effective way to stay in contact with your customers and procure a buying relationship. Retention management is a strategy, but when you have the right tools to take care of the heavy lifting, you can let the strategy do the work for you.

The creation of segmented campaigns helps direct communication to the right customers at the right time while the design of logical and clean drip marketing campaigns keeps them engaged. Social media is a necessary aspect of a robust marketing strategy that allows your brand to naturally and efficiently market messages to people in the places where they are already spending their digital time.

For any email marketing, drip campaigns, automation and segmentation needs, tools such as Smoove’s easy to use platform can help keep your customers well-informed and connected.

Which digital marketing solution can you optimise today to retain your customers better?

Here’s why you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of customer loyalty

Most discussions about the importance of customer loyalty today usually revolve around the cost of customer acquisition and how much money businesses can save if they keep their current customers.

However, there are many other ways businesses can benefit from customer loyalty. Some aren’t as popular or as discussed but they are still very much needed. To unearth these we have to dig deeper and discover the extra perks of having loyal customers.

So, let’s find more about these hidden, but yet equally important benefits that businesses need to be aware of: Read more

5 top customer retention strategies for SMBs

Everyone knows customer retention plays a pivotal role in the success of a business, big or small. Reports in the field show that a 5% boost in customer retention could generate up to a 95% increase in company’s profitability. Existing customers are also 50% more likely to try new products from the same company and spend 31% more than the first time buyers.

Still, in order to retain your customers in a simple and effective manner, you will need to rely on the most advanced strategies out there. A simple Google search into customer retention strategies can leave the reader buried under a lot of basic information, making it hard to find useful and more advanced advice and tips on how to keep the customers.

With this in mind, we have selected the top 5 customer retention strategies for SMBs: Read more

How to Avoid Customer Churn in your SMB

Nothing in life is certain, except death and taxes…and customer churn. But, how do you know how much churn is too much churn? In the retail sector (for products without subscriptions), an average churn rate is 5-7%. It’s important to make sure that your churn number is calculated annually rather than monthly.

This is because a 5% monthly churn rate actually reflects a 46% annual return rate. Here’s the math:

(100% – 5%) 12 months = 54% churn. If you subtract that from your retention rate of 100, you get 46%. This means that just to break even by the end of the year, you’d have to acquire 47 customers to grow by one customer in a year. Clearly, this is not a sustainable business model. If you do in fact have such a high number of customers leaving your business, it’s important to re-evaluate your product or service because an increase in your retention rate of as little as 5% can impact your profitability by up to 95%.

Are retention strategies are keeping you up at night? While you may know it’s not a one-size-fit-all approach and that customers have various degrees of loyalty from the moment they first interact with your product, the bottom line is that you need to continuously inform your customers of your value. The good news is, that’s entirely within your control.

While it may, at first, seem like a daunting task to keep up with so many moving parts and a range of customers, it is possible to succeed, you just need to break down the process of retention and customer success into pieces like that of a puzzle. By combining data and tactics, you can grow client satisfaction, understand when and why churn happens, and even turn loyal customers into brand ambassadors.

  1. Define Customer Personas and Manage
    Expectations

It’s important to know who your customers are and what they expect your product to deliver. There are aspects of customer satisfaction that are outside of your control, but if you start by defining customer personas and what your product will do for each of them, you can predict their needs during the product cycle and adequately manage their expectations along the way. Combined with implementing real-time communication via social media and gaining feedback via surveys, you can also define distinct customer personas based on insights like how they connect with your product in the first place. Demographics are a common starting point, but knowing exactly how people interact with your brand can open the doors for optimized communication. For example, if your customers are more engaged on social media than with email newsletters, it makes sense to communicate with them through that medium to gain feedback.

The most common reason for customer churn is because people are unhappy and dissatisfied. Most people stray when reality doesn’t meet expectations, and in business, that means your product isn’t delivering the outcome they were promised or expected. While this may mean it’s time to check the efficacy of your product or service, it could also simply be a signal that something is being lost in communication with the customer. By outlining the product cycle and mapping the point at which customers are becoming engaged or less engaged, you will be able to adjust the messages being delivered at those points in time. This is where customer journey mapping begins.

  1. Track Behavior: Customer Journey Mapping

Tracking a customer’s behavior through website data, analytics, and in-store traffic is just the tip of the iceberg in understanding how clients interact with your brand.

analytics dashboardsource: pexels

To go even more in depth on this path of insight, use customer journey mapping, or a detailed and graphical outline of the customer’s critical touch points with your product – before, during, and after their purchase. By understanding where customers spend most time (about us, FAQs, product page, mission etc.), you can gain insight into what they need or care about. What are they saying on social media, where are they going to get help? For example, Domino’s Pizza has a real-time chat bot on Facebook Messenger that allows orders to be placed through social media, as well as a Tweet to Order function. DOM The Pizza Bot is capable of offering help as well as processing orders, so the customer can easily access the brand and make a purchase in the same way they would talk to their friends via social platforms. Being able to communicate with your customers in the way they are most comfortably and conveniently served makes it easier to stay in touch and opens the lines up to promote your brand messaging effectively.

Source: @Norwoodsocial media

Based on this outline, you will be able to more clearly identify where engagement is high versus low, and you can analyze the approach to see what is working and what needs fine-tuning. Along the product journey, you can automate email drip marketing to set up communication with your customers at defined moments. Whether you set emails to be delivered based on time or automate them based on customer behavior (i.e. after a purchase is made or when a return is processed), you can communicate directly with little effort, yet the messages will still feel personalized and be able to address customers’ needs. For example, luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co. sends an email after your in-store return or purchase signed by the salesperson who helped you to thank you for your time in the store and see if there’s anything else you may need. This extra touch makes the whole shopping experience feel intimate and creates the feeling that their team members care about you personally. With these extra touches, you’re effectively ensuring customer satisfaction before issues arise. Only about 1 out of 26 customers will report an issue. The rest will likely abort your product; therefore, it’s important to stay in contact with customers so that if they do need help, it’s easy for them to receive support.


  1. Rank Your Customers to Best Allocate Resources

Everything in business comes down to cost vs. benefit. Analyze your customers in terms of profit. Pareto’s 80/20 rule is invaluable here – 20% of customers typically generate 80% of your profit. Focus your resources on keeping these customers happiest, as they are the ones that will produce the greatest ROI and highest lifetime values.

  1. Stop Churn in Its Tracks

Regardless of the reason a customer chooses to leave, you want to be able to know before it happens so that you can stop it. By building an alert system in a given time period, say on a weekly or monthly basis, you can automatically set up notifications to inform sales and account managers to reach out to a customer based on specific changes in purchase levels and activity. For example, if you know your product typically lasts for a certain amount of time after it has been purchased, you should be able to set up outreach when it is expected to be repurchased. If a customer isn’t repurchasing when expected, you can have an email reminder sent with a subject line like “It’s Time to Reorder”. Your product’s cycle can be outlined so that when certain milestones aren’t being met, outreach becomes automatic. This tactic can also be employed during onboarding. When you acquire new customers, you want to be sure they are being serviced impeccably so that their needs are met. Creating a lasting first impression could make all the difference for retention. Therefore, recurring alerts can be created so that follow-ups with batches of new customers in any given time period, say on a weekly or monthly basis, become standard protocol.

  1. Implement Incentives & Reward Loyalty

People like earning rewards and feeling important. Developing a rewards/loyalty program is one way to keep customers hooked on coming back for more. By turning purchases into a type of “game,” where customers can level up, they’re automatically incentivized to remain loyal because of the added value of gifts and discounts they receive every time they spend. This also seamlessly translates into extra word of mouth marketing. For example, as customers earn more points and up their status, they are likely to share their experience with their circle of friends and showcase their status, especially if they get rewards for sharing too.

Additionally, people who are rewarded for their purchases become brand ambassadors organically. If you have the opportunity to provide your best spenders with some branded merchandise or additional freebies, they will gladly showcase them and continue to be your advertising agents, free of charge. Of course, this still means the customer experience needs to be of utmost importance because once they are acquired, it’s all about keeping them happy so that they don’t have any reason to shop around.

A great example of a golden (pun intended) rewards program comes from the ubiquitous coffee connoisseur, Starbucks. Seattle-based Starbucks created the Starbucks Rewards Program, with its own mobile app that tallies “stars,” or customer purchases, allowing users to pay/reload their card via the app, find store locations, and more. When you reach and sustain a certain level (or status), you receive a personalized gold card. Starbucks further utilizes the app through email marketing and creates certain promotions like Double Star Days to incentivize more foot traffic in its locations.

rewards programsource: pixabay

  1. Incentivize Your Team

Prioritizing the customer experience stems from within the heart of a business. If employees are empowered and believe in the brand, they will want to present the company’s values and mission in the best light. This, in turn, breeds optimized customer service. Furthermore, employee incentives and perhaps monetary commissions further promote better service. While you take the time to analyze customers and their experience, be sure to spend some time looking for any improvements that can be made within your organization. Start by asking employees, probably anonymously, for their honest feedback on what would make them feel happier in their work environment; that’s a zero cost and surely beneficial place to start.

Incentivize Your Teamsource: Pixabay

All Wrapped Up: What’s Next?

When it comes to customer retention, small changes can translate into big results. As you know, customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention, so by keeping your customers happy, you will lower your costs, increase customers’ lifetime value, and grow your reach through referrals and word of mouth marketing.

The lowest hanging fruit is internal; start with your team by asking for their feedback and ideas around the creation of a loyalty program and for a list of what customers complain about most. After getting your team on the same page where everyone will prioritize customer satisfaction, you can enact some or all of these strategies and continue measure results and refine.

Moreover, what are the things that would incentivise your customers to come back. Map out special events, holidays, TV specials and anything else that would make real time marketing to them possible.

If there was one thing you could improve for your customer’s experience today, what would it be?

Customer support hacks that will turn customers to ambassadors

“Word of Mouth” is a powerful marketing strategy, but it doesn’t happen on its own. Marketers can’t sit around and wait for their customers to recommend their businesses just like that. It may sometimes happen ‘out of nowhere’, but without providing the right customer experience and rewarding them for their loyalty, even your most frequent buyers can be lost to the competition.

Whether you have an established company or just starting with one, you should never stop thinking about your customers, who they are, how to attract them, how to provide them with the best service, and last but not the least – how to make them your brand advocates.

You may already have strategies in place to turn your customer into brand ambassadors, but here we have some great new hacks you can add to those: Read more

How to turn one-time buyers into customers

Some businesses have their sights locked on new customer acquisition so hard, that they overlook the customers they already have. Experienced marketers often highlight that this is one the most common mistakes businesses do nowadays.

According to research, 32% percent of your first-time customers will buy from you again. But that’s not the end of the cycle. The same research showed that second time customers are 53% more likely to place a third order, and by the time they’ve ordered something for the tenth time, they’re 83% more likely to buy again.

Even though these stats are quite impressive, this process does not happen automatically. Businesses need to find ways to encourage their first time customers to buy again (and again). In order to do that, they have developed some proven strategies for the mentioned conversion.

Here are some unique approaches with the real examples from successful companies out there:

1. Loyalty programs

Everyone loves rewards for being a regular customer and loyalty programs are proven as a great customer retention tactic. They are one of the most successful marketing tools for turning your one-time buyers to a loyal customer, especially due to the fact they can be designed and executed in many creative ways. These can be done through:

  • The point system, based on receiving points for every purchase customers make
  • The tier system, which is usually employed by travel industries where the customer, for example, receives more free miles the more he or she flies with a certain company
  • The value based system of giving a certain percentage from their purchase to charity.

So if, for example, the company is a chain of pet food stores, the company can choose to donate a % of a customers purchase amount to an animal rescue shelter.

You can even design a game which will entertain your customers on their search for a reward. This could be a scavenger hunt during an event in your store or a social media app, it’s up to you!

Some companies also offer incentives to obtain customer cooperation by paying customers for referrals. Hospitality service giant AirBnB made a big success in retaining their customers by providing them with a $25 discount on their next booking for every successful friend referral. Moreover, they expanded their reward system to $75 if the friend decides not only to book accommodation via AirBnB, but also to rent out its place on the website.

Implementing loyalty initiatives doesn’t always mean you need to have a large scale, points-based loyalty program. It could, for starters, be a simple frequent-shopper incentive. Many businesses, especially in the beverage and food industry, use so-called punch cards to track and reward customer loyalty. The more purchases customers make, the more gifts they get. If you’re, for example, running a coffee chain, you can hand out punch cards with offers such as free coffee on their tenth purchase across your stores.

A good example of converting one-time buyers to loyal customers was employed by IKEA. The swedish furniture retailer sent out a newsletter with an invitation to their special event “Cook and Eat Your Way” which featured free coffee and food, giveaways, kids’ activities, special discounts and more. The event was free and open to everyone, but with more benefits for members of their loyalty program, “IKEA Family” and those who decided to join it. This way the company pointed out that they have something for all of their customers, but even more to those who stay loyal. Also, with this example IKEA showed that newsletters can be used to accomplish different goals such as both promoting an event and the loyalty program, acquire new customers and retain those who already made a purchase.

Ikea Newsletter

2. Personalized newsletters

One of the best ways to reach out to your customers is via a professionally tailored and timely newsletter. Newsletters are a very effective and cheap marketing tool to offer more products or services to your current customers, but also to go beyond that. By including different content in your newsletter such as exclusive offers (discount coupons, contests and events), updates about your business or products and educational ‘How to’ and ‘Did you know’ articles, you can keep your customers permanently interested in your business and build your brand.

To personalize the newsletter according to the needs of different customer groups, remember to always create multiple email lists for multiple types of customers you may have out there. Along with doing this, don’t forget to identify your goals and think about why and how to personalize the content according to those.

For example, if you own a chain of bicycle stores and have contact info provided by your one-time customers, you can use the newsletter to inform them about new models of the bicycle they purchased, or offer them a special discount on your best-selling bicycle helmet. You can even include a link to a YouTube video that shows the performances of that new mountain bike you have in your store or an article about the benefits of cycling. Think of your customers, but also don’t be afraid to be creative with your newsletter content.

Amazon does a great job with approaching their one-time customers via personalized newsletters that include recommendations for their next purchase.

Amazon

Besides personalized offers and insights into business operations, newsletters can be used to entice customers into providing feedback. Two-way communication is a great way to improve service and retain customers, so ask them for feedback on a service or product they purchased. This is how you show the customer that you value their opinion and are ready to adjust your offers in order to provide the best customer experience.

3. Offer ways for customers to express their opinion

Opening different channels of communication for your customers will make your business more transparent and show your customers that you are always there for them.

You should open social media accounts, set up a clearly visible “Contact us” page or, for example, conduct a survey through which customers can express their opinion about your products and company.

Customer service chatbots are also increasing in popularity. This technology makes it easier for businesses to engage the customers, to cut down on the workload and to resolve possible customer service issues from the very start.

Chatbots can significantly improve customer care efficiency and enlarge your online availability. Customers expect the 24/7 accessibility on social channels, so businesses have turned to automation to meet this demand. Still, to save money and time on customer care, chatbots need to be approached strategically. This can be done through finding a balance between technology and the personal touch. A good example of this was provided by cosmetics company Sephora that employed this approach via Facebook Messenger bot.

Sephora

Try to find new ways to encourage your one-time customers to interact with your business. For instance, along with asking for a product review, you can ask for referrals or invite them to participate in a social media contest or an event you’re planning. In short, make sure you’re on their radar when they are ready to make another purchase. Discuss the products and services and don’t hesitate to offer some advice to your customers if they ask for it, just like The Body Shop does!

The Body Shop

You can also engage your customers by replying on the random comments they make about your business on social media. Food giant Tesco used this tactic to connect more with their customers on Twitter and people loved it! The way that Tesco is handling the communication with their buyers on Twitter became one of the best examples on how to retain the customer and make them feel important.

Tesco

By replying on the comments in a personal and friendly manner, Tesco showed that they are actually paying attention to their customers and want to engage in a conversation with them.

Tesco also replies to their customers in a timely manner, which makes the way company interacts with customers even more appreciated.

Tesco1

4. Act on the feedback

Don’t provide communication options just for the sake of it and instead use it to actually talk with your customers. By responding to customer’s feedback and requests, businesses show that they are listening to them and value their opinion.

Pay attention to your tone and language and don’t forget to express your gratitude when replying to customers. Make your responses personal as you don’t want to make them feel like their questions triggered an automated reply.

Same goes for the complaints and negative comments you receive. When customers see a complaint go unanswered, it looks like you are avoiding or ignoring them. This can do serious harm to your business, so even if the feedback you received on social media was negative, be there for your customers and don’t hesitate to answer on their public posts. Use the magical ‘Thank you for your feedback’, leave your contact info such as email address or phone number and kindly ask your unsatisfied customer to reach you directly so you can later resolve the issue in a one-to-one communication with them.

Turning negative customer experience into positive one starts with you responding timely and offering to resolve the issue they may have with your business, services or products they purchased, such as shown in the next example.

Atomic Burger

By being professional, polite and open to conversation, you’re showing the customers you care and that you are willing to do as much as you can to set things right.

5. After sales experience

In small and medium businesses every customer counts, so the after sale care is as important as any other point on this list. Well-designed and timely after sales service will make the customer more likely to order again but also to share the positive experience.

This basically means that you can use your current customers to get new customers by spreading the good word about your business. Therefore, it serves as a great tool for building a community.

After sales care is much more than a simple ‘Thank you’, and can be acquired via different tactics. Along with offering a warranty and/or sending a surprise gift with their purchase, you can ask your customers for product reviews, give helpful tips on using the products and/or give them vouchers and gifts towards a new purchase.

Businesses also often use public holidays for rekindling the customer loyalty by reminding them about promotions and sales they may have. One of the best ideas employed by successful companies is to reach out to the customers on a special event by sending them a card paired with a coupon. Personal cards and a discount can very easily lead to the next purchase, and that is exactly what every business owner wants. You can, for example, be creative as the airline company JetBlue which uses their customer account creation date to trigger a personalized email to celebrate their first “anniversary”!

Anniversary Email

One of the best and most creative ways for providing good after sales experience is unique and delightful packaging. A very good example of a well-done after sales care is that one done by Norwegian bottled water company Voss which sells water in round glass bottles which are not only beautifully designed – they’re reusable too.

Design of the bottle resembles those we use for sports activities and they’re made of transparent glass. What makes the Voss packaging so great is it encourages people to reuse the bottles to make all kinds of DIY refreshing drinks after they finished the Voss drink, which we is then posted on social media. And that’s not all. People even use the Voss bottles to make art installations and home decorations.

DIY Drinks

Image Credit:
http://www.tameramowry.com/
http://tiphero.com/
http://violetpaperwings.blogspot.ba/

Wrap-up

One-time buyers are great for business but in order for your business to live and grow, you will need regular, loyal customers. The good news is, every loyal customer begins as a one-time buyer. To make this conversion and increase their sales without investing a lot of money, the best businesses use several different strategies.

Most successful tactics to accomplish this require creativity and innovation to the approaches businesses employ to convert their one-time buyers into loyal customers. While combining the perks technology offers nowadays with a research on your customers, you should always add some personal touch in everything you do. Think about how can you can engage the customers on social media and which incentives to offer after their purchase. Respond timely to their feedback and don’t hesitate on saying sorry if they’re unsatisfied. Also, discuss your products on social media and publicly offer your help with any issue they may have.

Next time you set up, create or send out a personalised messaging to your customers think about all how you can improve this further with examples above to show your customers you’re still there in a creative and timely manner to turn more of your first time buyers into customers!

The benefits of loyalty programs for SMBs

Many businesses, and especially SMBs, are very aware of the importance of retaining their loyal customers. A good loyalty program is one of the oldest, and best strategy to accomplish this goal. With one already in place how often do stop and check or even rethink our customer loyalty strategy and update it to keep it fresh? Are we using data all the effectively and communicate with our loyal customers often enough?

Loyal customers are those who help businesses not only to sustain their market share, but also to grow it. Statistics show that repeat buyers spend 33% more than new ones and that 82% of small business owners claim that loyal customers are the main way they grow their business. Also, if your business provided a good experience and service to the customers, it is much cheaper to retain your old customers than to solicit new ones.

Corporations with strong and innovative loyalty programs don’t hide the fact that this marketing strategy has done wonders for their sales as well. For example, coffee giant Starbucks a few years ago reported that its famous customer-retention program “My Starbucks Rewards” was a key driver to the 26% rise in profit and 11% jump in total revenue. A well-tailored loyalty program can help any size business to retain its customers and increase the sales.

Still, in the age of ever-changing technology and highly competitive market, many retailers are struggling to retain their customers. This is mainly due to the fact that, while transforming our business to meet the new trends, we forget to also rethink our customer loyalty strategies.

Loyalty program rewards were traditionally organized in a form of a loyalty card, where the customer would show it every time he / she enters a store, to reap the benefits. Then we saw the move by more and more loyalty programs being created and distributed online, and very often via mobile phones. Now with the help of new technologies and social media, companies are opening new channels of communications and finding new ways to keep their customers.

Knowing all this, let’s find out more about how can we benefit from loyalty programs today:

Retain Existing Customers

Without focusing on the customer retention, you could quickly start losing your loyal customers to the competition. Customer retention is proven to be less costly than acquisition as numbers show that the probability of selling more products or services to an existing customer is high as 70%, while the probability of selling to new ones goes only from 5-20%. Also, your old customers are 50% more likely to try new products you may have and they spend 31/% more than new ones.

Loyalty programs can be pricey, so to be sure you are investing wisely, you have to effectively reach the right customers. This won’t work without you knowing the customers and their buying habits, or by simply replicating the loyalty programs used by similar business in the industry.

  1. Your starting point should be keeping track and collecting data about your customers. Once you have the data, you will be able to design the loyalty program that matches both your goals and your customers needs and expectations.
  2. One of the most important things is also to identify the right program to provide the customers with something valuable and interesting to participate in.
  3. After establishing this, you should create the loyalty program business model that matches your company in terms of profit. Loyalty programs are used to keep the customers and to sell more, not to lose money and time you are investing in it.

Considering the fact that technology and market trends extensively changed the way loyalty programs work, many successful companies are rethinking their approaches and channels they use to lure their customers into loyalty schemes.

When talking about different approaches to loyalty schemes, one of the most recent examples is the loyalty program “Blazin’ Rewards” launched by Buffalo Wild Wings. Unlike the other loyalty programs in the industry, Blazin’ Rewards allows the program members to redeem different menu items for a different number of points earned. Members can, for example, quickly redeem 250 points to get a free drink, or save up to 3,500 points for a large serving of wings. This flexibility in spending the earned points made the Blazin’ Rewards very popular and distinctive from other loyalty programs restaurants usually have.

Improve customer’s lifetime value

Loyalty programs also help SMBs improve their customer lifetime value and ensure the cash flow from this relationship.

Loyalty programs need to be consistent, but also bear in mind that customers like being offered something new. Win your loyal customers attention with new ideas and new incentives. By keeping the rewards fresh you will excite your customers without making big investments into a new loyalty program.

Update your rewards and specials regularly to keep your customers interested. For example, for one month, you could offer double points for customers who refer their friends to your business or change that “5% off coupon” with a free product reward or a gift that matches the worth of the coupon.

You can also add more rewards to your program and split them into different customer tiers or, for example, limit some rewards to VIP program members. This ensures that you don’t overwhelm your new customers while still continuing to motivate your most frequent buyers.

French cosmetics company Sephora does a great job with its “Beauty Insider” loyalty program. Some rewards drop twice a week, some are only redeemable in stores. Due to the effective use of tiers, they ensured different (and more attractive) rewards to those who spend more. By challenging their customers to reach that next milestone, Sephora made their most loyal customer feel like they achieved something that others could not and inspired other customers to get there as well. This made their loyalty program very popular not only among the program members but also all over social media and industry related websites and blogs.

Build a personal relationship with customers

What makes a great loyalty program is the way it uses customer data to build better future relationships with them. By building a data pool businesses can create personalized experiences for their customers and boost their loyalty. This way you can also build your brand and differentiate your business from other similar businesses in the market.

Use customer data gathered from a variety of sources such as your website, social media analytics and, sales and inventory history to determine what your customers would be most interested in. And moreover, use the data to find the best way to approach them. Conduct the surveys on different topics related to your business and/or industry, their buying habits and more and design (or adjust) your loyalty program around it.

The more data we gather, the closer we are to our retention goals.

A good example of using data to build a better relationship with your customers is the loyalty program designed by U.S. online shoe and clothing shop Zappos. After realizing that their most loyal customers have a 50% return rate but are still buying their most expensive shoes, Zappos developed a very successful strategy. Their 365-day returns policy, free two-way shipping and not charging for returns proved to be a very effective tactic in keeping their most profitable customers.

Upsell to existing customers & drive new revenue streams

Loyalty programs offer a great opportunity to upsell or persuade existing customers to buy additional and/or more expensive products or services. To improve your loyalty scheme in this way:

  1. Start by gathering data based on customers previous purchases, and offer them something new and attractive for a reasonable price.
  2. Think carefully about timing and wait until your customer has decided to purchase to offer additional products or services. If you try to upsell an item just as they landed on your website, you may scare them off. Wait until they’re close to actually buy something from you and then make your move!
  3. Consider their budget and be reasonable with pricing. If the suggested purchase is much more expensive than the first one, it’s not upselling – it is just another major purchase!
  4. Also, always add value to your upselling offer. Customers need to see the difference and feel that they really getting something better for that slightly higher price.

Best examples of upselling are those coming from successful companies such as Virgin Atlantic whose marketing team came up with a great idea how to sell more business class tickets. First of all, they renamed the business class section into ‘the economy premium’ section to make it seem like their customers are not making a big step in purchasing the more expensive ticket. Secondly, they included a link with a short video for each of the seating options so that customers can easily discover all the benefits of the more expensive offer.

A similar example can be found in Booking.com which lures the attention of their customers online by offering the cheapest booking option, while at the same time displaying a more attractive option which is, of course, slightly pricier than the first one.

Turn customers into brand ambassadors

An excellent way to use loyalty programs to increase your sales is to turn customers into your brand ambassadors. Making your most dedicated customers feel like they’re part of your brand you also make you and your business more approachable to other potential customers out there.

It may sound trivial, but in order to turn the customers into brand ambassadors, you need to have – a brand! When we say brand, it means much more than a simple name attached to your product or services. What you offer must be different, worthy, well-designed and well-promoted across the social media. One of the best industry examples is the one coming from technology giant Apple. Their products are simple to use but they’re also simple in design. People just love Apple wherever we go and promote the brand without being asked to – which is the ultimate goal of every company out there. Do you have a clearly defined message for your brand? If not get one.

Along with offering outstanding products or services, you need to provide a superior customer service. Stay in touch with your customers, ask them for feedback, include the return policy in your offer, give them something for free but don’t forget to be creative. Offering some free perks to expand an ambassador program was successfully employed by Google via their Google Pizza Program. The main idea involved Google campus ambassadors visiting their hard working IT peers across the top US engineering universities and ordering a pizza for them. This is how Google created buzz around the company and formed strong ties with the next generation of consumers and talented programmers they want to possibly work with in the future.

Collecting data about your customers and their purchases, interacting with your social media followers, following hashtags and your brand mentions will help you to identify so called “super customers” who can be turned into you brand ambassadors. Don’t forget that this is not the end of the process. Show gratitude to your brand ambassadors by offering them special perks in the future or, for example, organize the special event to show that you appreciate their engagement. Do you know who your super customers are?

Build a competitive advantage

Loyalty programs became a big asset when businesses realized that the competitive advantage that they once had no longer holds true. Maintaining loyal customers has become more important but also more difficult. Loyalty programs gives your business a chance to once again offer something new, compelling or less expensive than your competition even though you both may have very similar products or services to sell.

In order to rise above it, look carefully at your competition and design a loyalty program that differentiates from other companies similar to yours.

Customers today need more than loyalty points offered by traditional loyalty programs. They expect personalization, interaction and new experiences from products or services you offer. Consistently creating new opportunities and offers is your key to success. Specific milestones, meaningful surprises and engaging encouragements are as important as individual offers relevant to their purchase history.

Think about offering something different from your competition without investing a lot of money and try to substitute it with being creative and adding more value.

A great example of rising above competition comes from Starbucks. Even they may not have the best coffee in the world, but their customer loyalty strategies are certainly making it to the top. Starbucks provides a constant flow of new offers to their customers such as paying and ordering the coffee online, receiving a mobile device notification when close to the store and more. They are also constantly working on creating the new and colorful drinks with an imaginative names. Launching a drink called the Frappula Frappuccino decorated with a blood-colored raspberry syrup during a Halloween season turned out to be a great success. Along with buying it, many customers were posting pictures of a drink online which created a big craze around the product on social media.

Being creative like this is certainly bit easier if you are in the food and beverage industry, but rethinking the ways to approach your customers and providing them with a new experience that differentiates you from your competitors can really set you apart and be executed by any business out there.

Wrap up

Loyalty programs can provide many benefits for small and medium businesses, such as increasing sales and developing a stronger relationship with their customers. With loyalty programs, SMB owners can also stand out and rise above the competition without investing a lot of money in it.

Remember to get the best from your loyalty program:

  1. First think about the right business model that matches your company in terms of profit and responds to your customers needs and interests.
  2. Collect and analyse the data about your customers and use it to segment your buyers and decide on rewards and incentives they would like to receive.
  3. Once you have your loyalty program running, keep your rewards fresh and your customers engaged.

How to Create a Landing Page from Scratch Using smoove

Are you wondering how to attract more visitors, and more importantly, how to turn them into your customers?

If that’s the case, the tool you’ve been looking for is the landing page. Essentially a web page, it has a sole purpose of capturing a visitor’s information through a lead form. This is done by offering them something useful and valuable such as product sample, discount, consult, trial or any product or service you’re selling, in return for contact information.

To create a top-notch landing page for your small business you need to stay focused on a single objective that matches the ad your visitors clicked on to reach your page. A product or service-specific landing page will help you get more subscribers, so don’t hesitate to create multiple landing pages for multiple goals you may have!

The good news is that businesses nowadays can design and publish landing pages themselves via a simple landing page builder and save both money and time usually spent on hiring professionals.

smoove’s landing page builder is simple, smart, and effective tool designed to advance your marketing campaigns and capture your visitor’s contact information easier than ever.

smoove's landing page builder

How does it work?

Small business owners love building landing pages with smoove as it doesn’t require them to be experts either in design or in digital marketing. It is specially designed for people who need a simple and fast tool to support and execute their marketing campaigns.

landing pages

smoove enables you to simply design your landing page by using its modular template system, add a registration form and define which list of the subscribers it will be directed to.

Its core features such as drag-and-drop interface, simple web forms, pre-designed templates and numerous smart hacks (such as CTA buttons, social media buttons and more), make your landing page simple, effective and most importantly – easy to build.

Customize your pages for your audience

Every online ad you create should provide a landing page focused on a single offer. Knowing this, you should drive your customers attention by providing them with tailored content and a compelling form that is both simple and effective.

smoove’s simple drag and drop interface offers all this and contains smart blocks with pre-designed boxes for new paragraphs, titles, images, articles and web forms.

Along with forms, bullets and menus, its interface also has smart blocks for CTA buttons, social media buttons and YouTube videos which can make your landing page look like it was done by a professional! You can also manually change size, style and colors of other elements of your landing page in seconds.

All of these elements are easily added, customized and removed and you will be surprised how much time you can actually save. Your only job is to copy your contacts and your content and let smoove do the rest.

focused landing page

Designing your landing page

You should always keep your users focused on a single objective on your landing page by removing all the elements that could drive them away from its primary purpose. Distractions can reduce the conversion rates, so you should always declutter your landing page by dismissing all the unnecessary links, ads and buttons.

Along with colors and fonts that match your ad and/or your website, your landing page has to have visible and compelling headlines, visible CTA and simple forms where your customers can leave their contact info. This task can be time consuming and complicated, so many small business owners are opting for online templates which can guarantee a success of your campaign.

The landing page can also be created in full screen which can have a strong impact creating wow effect for visitors.

landing page builder

smoove’s landing page builder also has a bunch of ready to use, beautifully designed templates that will give your landing page a professional look. This way you will not only set up your landing page in minutes, you will also have a strategically designed and ready-to-go tool to support you marketing campaign right away!

marketing campaign

Simple web forms and Clear CTA buttons

smoove’s landing page builder offers different web forms and buttons that are customizable and easy to use. Smart web forms enable you to obtain the exact information you need from your landing page visitors and make the conversion easy and effective.

Simple web forms

smoove enables you to change the size, layouts and number of fields in a form and customize the text in your forms and buttons.

Call-To-Action

If you want to convert your leads and bring them to your website, you need to make sure that your Call-To-Action (CTA) button is clearly visible and compelling to click. With smoove’s drag and drop interface this is faster than ever. Just drag and drop the button box to your landing page template, customize it with a compelling headline such as “Get your free sample now” and get those new subscribers.

compelling CTA headline

More Relevant Content

smoove’s smart functionality enables you to include more relevant content in your landing page and gives your business instant credibility.

Use features such as smart links in your buttons  as a multifunctional trigger. With the “smart link” option you can use actions such as adding a visitor to a defined list, add or replace a certain data related to a contact and more. With these actions, you can start or impact a visitors buyer’s journey right away and always give them the most relevant content.

Trigger settings

smoove also offers the possibility to connect several different landing pages and automatically create a “Thank you” page.

Thank you page

Or try smoove’s countdown, where you can create an immediate CTA in case you wish to sign-up your customers to a specific event.

countdown

Also, you can mobile phone number to your landing page for an immediate reach-out, which is very effective in case you are running a mobile campaign. The great news is the Waze button works here as well.

mobile campaign

Keeping Conversion at the front of mind

Personalized landing pages account for several times higher conversion rates. To put it in simply, the more relevant your landing page is to visitors, the more likely they are to convert.

Via smoove’s advanced & automated text options and personalized fields module you’re providing only relevant content on your landing page and keeping conversion the focus of everything you do. You can now personalize your content simply and easily, while smoove does the rest of the hard work for you.

The personalisation fields module will help you learn more about your customers and efficiently use the information they provide. You can add as many personalisation fields as you like, according to your needs, such as interests, special requests for preferred content choices.

Each field has its own “targeting” function and it can be shown only if it follows a certain rule. For example, the entire form below would only be shown if a customer meets a certain criteria (based on a data he previously filled out on a landing page). This means customers will never feel they are getting the same thing twice and will be more likely to convert.

targeting function

Don’t worry, it’s mobile friendly

With smoove you can be sure that the content and design of your landing page is always displayed properly across different devices. smoove’s landing pages tool creates mobile responsive pages that look equally great on mobile devices and tablets so you can reach your customers on the move.

Maximise performance of all your other tools with smoove’s Integrations

When a new client registers on a landing page that you have created through your smoove account, his/her details are automatically stored in a dedicated list on the system, but not in your CRM. To resolve this issue, smoove offers two options for integrating your smoove account users info with other systems you may have.

At the landing page management panel, you can find the option “Advanced” which will lead you to different option to maximize/optimize your overall campaign performance.

landing page management

One of the options offered is “External data transmission url” through which you can define to send a contact to an external platform using a little coding. This option enables you to integrate and define the transmission of contacts registered to your page to an external system such as your CRM or other systems.

External data transmission url

To make things easier for its users, smoove also implemented a block named Zapier inside its system which allows the integration of any of your other systems and apps into any automatic process that you may create.

Zapier

With Zapier you define an automated processes to easily send contacts/leads to external CRM tools. To enable this option, you should also have an account with Zapier.

Wrap-up

smoove’s marketing automation platform is specially designed for small business owners who need an easy-to-use system to create and support their marketing campaigns. One of its core features, smart landing page builder, enables you to personalize your marketing campaigns, maximize conversions and establish a strong relationship with your customers.

smoove’s landing page builder is simple to use due to its drag and drop interface, pre-designed templates and smart hacks which will help you set up you landing page in minutes.

Sign up today and start building your landing pages with smoove.

 
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