After an unprecedented e-commerce hyperjump and an overall challenging year, customer reality has irreversibly changed. To find your new shopping demographic’s heart, it’s important to learn about the best practices and technologies that allow brands to engage modern customers in a new and meaningful way.
As we settle into 2021, the biggest challenge is to now retain hard-earned customers from last year. Inboxes are inundated with more outreaches, offers, and promotions than ever before. This means that brands must work harder to keep their customers coming back.
But how do you stand out in a crowded inbox?
Brands have always had to fight to keep customers engaged in the inbox. In this new world, brands must go further than ever before to engage subscribers and keep them flowing through the marketing funnel. Promotional emails aren’t enough. Customers need more to connect with brands. With so many new competitor brands popping up online, you have to refine and optimise your tactics to capture the reader’s attention.
To achieve this, there are four areas that you can tap into to build customer loyalty straight in the inbox. These tactics will help you provide relevant and emotive marketing that resounds with your audiences. And, as a result, they’ll get more value out of your marketing and have more reason to keep coming back.
Content should be the core of your marketing strategy. What is your brand story? What sets you apart from your competitors? It’s your content that’s going to help create a strong bond between you and your audience. A clear and well-planned content strategy will make you stand out in a crowded inbox. Think about topics that will add value to your customers’ experiences.
Having a strong understanding of your customers is useful for your marketing strategy, but understanding interests and motivations is essential for your content strategy. When you know what drives customers, it’s easier for you to target them with appealing editorial content. Customers will develop a stronger connection with brands that provide valuable content. It helps them see you as a brand that cares about them as much as you do about making a sale.
Often today, brands are so focused on converting customers and acquiring new leads, they forget about the importance of editorial content. That is, content designed to engage, inspire, and educate, rather than simply promote your new product or service.
When brands make the time to include this type of content into post-purchase or nurture programs, they’re establishing a stronger connection with their customers. By including it in your newsletters, you can guarantee customer engagement once a week, once a month, or however frequently you send them. Readers will look forward to receiving this content.
The more value you can add to these campaigns, the more customers will turn to your brand in times of need. They will return to you time and again because they value their exchanges with you.
There’s no better way to show customers that you value them than with a loyalty program. These intelligent automation programs incentivise and reward customers every time they come back to your brand.
Modern customers see their relationship with a brand as a two-way street. When they interact or make a purchase, they want something in return. So, in order to deliver experiences that inspire loyalty, it’s important to consider how you can reward customers.
While discounts are a common reward for loyalty, that doesn’t always have to be the case. E-commerce brands can drive a whole range of actions using point-based loyalty programs. For example, you can drive customer referrals using points as an incentive to unlock exclusive content and products for your most active and loyal customers.
As well as driving repeat purchases, loyalty programs themselves can be revenue-generating when you offer customers the choice to pay to receive a more exclusive experience with your brand.
Rather than blast customers with generic promotional email marketing campaigns, your biggest opportunity to stand out in the inbox lies in your moment-based messaging.
Moment-based messaging can use both email and SMS to deliver contextually relevant communications, relevant to the consumer’s needs. They’re triggered by customer actions or external dates and events that are appropriate to the customers’ journey. Using your marketing automation tools you can design intelligent programs that will keep customers engaged at key stages throughout their journey with you.
Smart automation platforms segment your audiences and ferry them along specific pathways designed to optimise their experience with you. Whether they’re recently acquired customers or repeat purchasers you can create personalised journeys that deliver relevant messages at the optimal time for the reader.
Post-purchase automations are a great way to remind shoppers that you want them to have the best experience possible. Consider what after-care hints and tips you can send customers to ensure they get the best out of your products. Tailoring these messages to the specific type of item the recipient has purchased helps give it a hyper-personalised feel.
You can take personalisation even further by adding AI-powered product recommendations to your post-purchase emails. These can be used to showcase items that pair with a customer’s recent purchase.
As well as dramatically improving your bottom line by generating revenue, moment-based marketing automation allows you to build unique customer journeys to keep customers engaged year-round. Birthday programs, anniversary gifts, thank you automations all remind your customer that they’re more than a number to you. While it’s always important to review and optimise your automation programs, you don’t have to constantly build new campaigns to keep existing customers connected to your brand. Your automation program will do all the hard work for you.
If you operate in multiple countries, you already know the importance of localising your content. After all, native Japanese speakers don’t want to receive your content in English. But that’s not the only way to localise your content.
A direct result of the 2020 pandemic has been a significant population shift from urban areas to suburban and rural regions. Customers want the convenience of accessing their favourite brands wherever they are. This means brands will have to develop new ways to geographically target customers to maintain their loyalty.
Customers are using mobiles and smartphones to find new brands and products locally. Creating a localised marketing strategy will help you meet the needs and demands of customers in both urban and nonurban areas.
Collecting customer data is essential to the success of localisation. Customers are happy to hand over data about themselves if brands use it to deliver personalised and tailored marketing. By collecting information such as hometown or their local store, you can identify areas where your brand is popular and deliver tailored content and experiences that drive loyalty.
“Near me now” searches have grown exponentially in recent years. Adopting marketing tactics that boost your presence locally is going to boost your results significantly. Customers are going to consistently return to brands that meet their demands in their neighbourhood.
Convenience is a key factor in the modern shopper’s decision-making process. By localising you marketing you’ll be putting yourself at the top of customers’ minds when the time comes to repeat their purchase.
I don’t have to tell you how important customer retention is. Loyal customers spend more money with you and are more likely to convert by 60-70 percent.
But as it is with true love, there isn’t a way to hack customer loyalty. You can’t convince customers to return time and again in a matter of weeks. The tactics I’ve outlined above should make up a central part of your marketing strategy and should be routinely evaluated and optimised to ensure the experiences you’re building a loyal customer base.
Aparna Gray is the Head of Marketing, APAC at dotdigital.
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