5 Great Ideas for Retaining Loyal, Enthusiastic Customers

Loyal, Enthusiastic Customers
Marketing is SO different than it was just a few years ago. While the Web makes it easier to start a company these days, 9 out of 10 startups still fail.

One way to claim a top 1% spot is to fully engage your customer base. A healthy bunch of repeat customers is one step shy of a wild band of brand advocates who will help you sell your product.

Hear that? Brand advocates are loyal, enthusiastic customers who sell FOR you.

No matter what you do, some percentage of your customers are only one-time opportunities. Others will appreciate your company so much they’ll become long-term customers, and they’ll recommend you to their family and friends. These are your potential brand advocates. It’s up to you to provide them incentive to continue to do business with your company.

Ask yourself right now:

  • What do we offer our customers that outshines our competition?
  • How do we show our customers we care?

Hint: If you can answer those two questions, you’re doing your part to generate a repeat customer base rampant with brand advocacy. Could you do more?

 

Try this:

1. Above ALL: Create Evangelists with Superior Customer Service

Loyal, enthusiastic customers don’t just happen. It starts with product and ends—or continues on and on—with exceptional customer service. Understand that customers don’t necessarily have to love you to continue to do business with you. Some will continue to buy your product or services because you offer something unique, because they’re resistant to change, or because your competition has a worse reputation than you do…but they’ll never advocate your brand.

Brand advocates are crazy about you. They love your products and services and their recommendations don’t come with an attached “but…”. As in, “The product is great, but the customer service is terrible.”

The first step to creating brand evangelists is to remove the “but…” with excellent customer service.

2. Offer Up Relevant, Smart, Emotional, Entertaining Content Marketing

How do your customers feel when they use your products or engage in your services? What are your customers’ interests? How can you help your customers solve even more of their most pressing problems?

Most importantly: What do your customers WANT?

It’s your job to learn these answers and provide the information, authenticity, and powerful storytelling they seek through engaging content marketing. Provide the best content on the Web that meets and exceeds your customers’ expectations—and your customers will love you for it.

Bonus: Great content marketing is great for search engine optimization (SEO)—so not only does content marketing help you cultivate brand loyalty, it also helps you gain new prospects and customers.

3. Reward the Refer-A-Friend

Refer-A-Friend rewards both the person referring AND the new customer. Dropbox is a great example. By offering extra storage on both sides, Dropbox increased signups by 60% and went from 100,000 users to 4 million in just over a year. Bam.

4. Create an Exclusive Club

Asking customers to “buy” a “rewards card” seems like a bad idea, but it works, and it works well. Amazon charges $99 per year for its Prime membership, and the rewards are worth it to both customers and Amazon. Perks include free shipping, movies, music, books, early-access deals, and more.

Here’s the kicker: Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year, about $900 more than the average amount spent by non-member customers.

5. Give Back

TOMS is a company rooted in social good. The concept is simple: For every pair of shoes purchased, Toms provides a pair of shoes to children around the world most in need. The program has become so popular that Toms has expanded; now they also provide clean water, eyeglasses, training, and kits packed with items to help women more safely give birth.

 

Use these 5 great marketing ideas to inspire your customers to want to share their enthusiasm with others—so they tell others how much they like your products, your services, and the perks you offer to earn their business. This kind of ongoing customer lovin’ creates an emotional connection that’s difficult for your competitors to disrupt.

 
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Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Want to learn more about effective content marketing? Whether you decide to outsource content marketing or not, this eBook is chock-full of great information on content marketing. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
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Motivational Monday: Change the Conversation

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If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. –Donald Draper, Mad Men

Your brand is your message. When customers see your logo or hear your company name, what’s the first thing that pops into their mind? Do you know? If they spend 30 seconds on your homepage, will they know what you’re all about? Can they access your site through their cell, on their tablet or via their laptop and be met with the same levels of service?

First impressions matter—especially when your customers are coming to conclusions about your business within the first minute or two (or less). Our future is dictated by customer satisfaction and reputation. When things are headed in the wrong direction, it can be hard to recover, redirect and right the ship. If things have already gone awry, it might be time to hit the reset button completely.

In the show Mad Men, Don Draper, a man who’s constantly reinventing and redefining himself throughout the series, offers up one of the best pieces of marketing advice. When his client is faced with the conundrum of how to direct a campaign that’s received some negative PR, Draper offers up this advice: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Even if you aren’t facing resistance from the City of New York over the prospect of demolishing Penn Station, you might have your own dilemma: how to present your message in the way you WANT it to be received. Craft your message, make it clear and steer the conversation in the direction YOU want it to go. Here are some tips…

  • Is your brand unwittingly spreading an unintended message? Perhaps it’s time to get back to the basics. Brand colors are important and brand consistency is vital when crafting the brand message you want to spread.
  • Review these 4 ways you may have missed out on connecting with leads and customers.
  • No one wants to think about it, but brand crises happen. How the conversation is directed from that point forward makes all the difference. Chipotle’s recent crisis could actually strengthen the brand if handled correctly. On the other hand, Volkswagen’s recent missteps might prove detrimental to their brand in the long run.
  • One of the secrets to directing conversation is to steer it away from you or your company and move it towards the audience—your customer. Think of it like a cocktail party: the most interesting conversationalists aren’t droning on about themselves.
  • Conversation is two-sided. To ensure your customers are interacting with you in ways that meet their needs, choose responsive design for your website. Responsive design ensures your website renders beautifully and works great on any device.
  • Still looking for ways to shape the conversation? Study these 12 Greatest Marketing Campaigns of All Time for examples of simple messages engaging customers to change the conversation.

For more ideas on how to craft the conversation you want to have with your customers, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

 

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Fertilize Your Mind Weekly Marketing Updates

Marketing creativity is the ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, information, insight, stats, examples — and combine them in unique ways. The larger the library of creative building blocks, the more visionary your ideas will grow to be.

Fertilize your mind. Subscribe now to get a weekly digest of our latest blog posts delivered directly to your inbox:

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Motivational Monday: Envision More Repeat Customers

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Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you. –Tony Hsieh, Founder & CEO of Zappos

A clear vision helps you, your team and your company maintain focus. What’s your vision? Are your employees and your customers on board with it? Know what your customers want, define your vision, then define how their vision aligns with yours.

When everyone is working toward that common vision, you’ll be able to keep steering your company toward success. The first step? Getting in your customers’ heads. Next? Working to retain that customer for the long haul. Here’s how…

  • We weren’t kidding about step one. Get. Inside. Their. Heads. Not sure where to start? Try these 12 Books to Read If You Want to Understand Customers Better.
  • Understanding your customers is also one of the most powerful things you can do for retention. This goes beyond simply offering up something shiny to get them in the door. It’s about getting to know your customers SO well you intuitively know what they want. But don’t forget the icing on the cake: you need to continue to deliver what they want—consistently. Read these 5 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid to learn how to get there.
  • What’s all this about retention? Truth is, repeat customers are your goldmine. They’re less expensive than new customers, they spend more, they’re loyal, and if they REALLY love you, they work FOR your business as your brand ambassadors.
  • Still not convinced customer retention should be your focus? Hey, it’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em—repeat customers literally pay for themselves.
  • If you feel like something is missing in your customer relationships, trust might be the key. Learn all about it here: establishing customer trust, building it, and measuring it.
  • Want to Win the War on Customer Churn? While 55% of current marketing budgets are spent gaining new customers, there’s only a 5-20% chance of making a new sale. Yet there’s a 60% chance of a repeat sale—so WHY does customer retention only account for 12% of most marketing budgets?!
  • How do top B2B companies ensure retention and repeat business? These 3 important ways they wow their customers.
  • Want to learn more about wowing your customers at every stage in the buy cycle? Download this FREE guide: Side Door Thinking for more suggestions on how you can use content marketing to build customer loyalty.

 

For ongoing ideas to help you hold on to more customers, be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn or subscribe below to receive Motivational Monday updates in your inbox each week.

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Fertilize Your Mind Weekly Marketing Updates

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Fertilize your mind. Subscribe now to get a weekly digest of our latest blog posts delivered directly to your inbox:

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Pro-Tips: How to Keep More Customers

It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.

It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.

Great customer service. It’s a buzz phrase we hear all the time—but are you really making the most of your customer relationships? Of course most of us are constantly thinking of ways to gain new customers, but holding onto existing customers (and wowing them!) can be even more important.

Not convinced? Harvard Business School notes that increasing customer retention by just 5% increases profits 25% to 95%. Whoa. Plus, 80% of companies proclaim they offer excellent customer service, but only 8% of their customers agreed. Yikes.

Here are a few ways to get on the same page with your customers and ensure you aren’t missing the customer retention boat.

  • Repeat customers are your goldmine. They’re less expensive than new customers, they spend more, and they’re your brand ambassadors.
  • Great customer service goes beyond simply offering something shiny to get them in the door—it’s about intuitively knowing and deeply understanding what they want, then delivering that consistently. To help you get inside your customers’ heads, here are 12 Books to Read If You Want to Understand Customers Better to add to your reading list.
  • Understanding your customers is one of the most powerful things you can do for customer retention. Do so by avoiding these 5 marketing mistakes.
  • If you feel like something is missing in your relationship, trust might be the key. Check out these great ways to establish, measure and build customer trust.
  • Still not convinced customer retention should be your focus? It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em—repeat customers literally pay for themselves.
  • Win the War on Customer Churn: While 55% of current marketing budgets are spent gaining new customers, there’s only a 5% to 20% chance of making a new sell. Yet there’s a 60% chance of a repeat sale…so WHY does customer retention only account for 12% of most marketing budgets?!
  • How do top B2B companies ensure customer retention and repeat business? These 3 important ways they wow their customers.

For ongoing ideas to hold onto your customers be sure to follow Cultivate on LinkedIn.

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Growth Cycle Marketing: A proven process for growing and attracting more customersToday, the decision to buy is no longer a moment–it’s a process. Are you truly connecting with your prospects? Are you engaging with your customers before, during, and even after the sale? Download our FREE White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing and you’ll learn:

  • 14 ways to engage your prospects to drive home the sale
  • How to influence your customer’s decision to buy
  • Why your current customers are your biggest asset
  • The exact type of content your prospects and customers want
  • How this proven, 5-stage process attracts new customers and grows your business
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All Aboard! Sync with Your Customer’s Train of Thought for More Repeat Customers

When a successful marketing campaign attracts new customers, do you spend a lot of time celebrating the win? We all do—it’s just human nature. But one great campaign isn’t really the big win. The big win is in developing that relationship with your customers over the long haul, creating more repeat customers. That’s why follow-up is so important: you need to continuously syncing with your customer’s train of thought before they switch tracks and leave you standing at an empty station with bags full of what-happened-to-my-business.

Nailing that first sale is expensive. It costs at least 6 times more to onboard a new customer than it does to sell to repeat customers you already have.

Too many businesses let existing customers get off the train without so much as offering a courtesy cocktail that might convince them to extend their journey.

 Too many businesses let existing customers get off the train without so much as offering a courtesy cocktail that might convince them to extend their journey.

How do you know what your customers want?

Believe it or not, it’s likely you already have the majority of the tools you need to sync with your customer’s mind and react in a positive and meaningful way. The more you sync, the more repeat customers you’ll gain. You just need to know HOW to keep that repeat customer feeling happy and good about their relationship with your business.

Ask. One of the most direct ways to reach your customers? Just ask! When a customer makes a purchase, send a follow-up email a few days later to ask how they liked your product or service. Ask how they think you might improve. Offer drawings or rewards to improve your response rates.

Respond. If your customer takes time to give you a detailed answer, be sure to respond. People feel best when they know their comments are heard. Even better: move the conversation from email to social media. To drive traffic to social, include an invitation in your email response, such as, “We loved your idea and we happen to be discussing that issue on Facebook. Come join us and post your ideas.” Allow your customers to share their ideas on social to encourage even more prospect and customer engagement.

Analyze. Carefully examine your customer interactions for patterns. Use a CRM to track your customer service activity. Are the same issues, complaints or compliments continuously cropping up? Analyzing your customer data is a great way to identify strengths and weaknesses—and your starting point for developing a plan to address the most urgent and/or frequent problems and issues.

Listen. Your customers are already all over social media expressing their likes and dislikes. You can use any one of half a dozen tools to monitor social media for keywords, your products and services, your brand or company name (include common misspellings), or even your slogan.

Growth Cycle Marketing: Free White Paper DownloadResearch. Let’s not forget online reviews. While you can’t control what people post about your business or products on Yelp, Amazon or TripAdvisor, you can research these services to understand how your customers use your products and/or interact with your business—not to mention, it’s a great way to keep tabs on your competition. Ensure your info is up to date so your customers don’t feel misled by an outdated menu or price list. You can even contact customers who complain to see if you can do anything to fix the issue. Hey, they might even update a negative review if your company goes above and beyond to fix a problem. You might also retain that repeat customer, so it’s win-win!

Your goal should be to enrich your customer relationships throughout all 5 stages of the Growth Cycle Marketing process, so syncing with your customer’s train of thought all along their journey is priority.

What is Marketing’s Impact on Innovation for Growth? Download this Free White Paper on Growth Cycle Marketing

Download our free Growth Cycle Marketing white paper for more ideas to develop awesome, long-term repeat customer relationships and keep your sales keep chugging along at full steam.