This will be remembered as the year the world went virtual.
Think back to the beginning of 2020. Most people were operating as business as usual, driving to the office and opening up their retail locations daily. Then stay-in-place orders changed everything.
While the fallout is still being assessed, it doesn’t take much thinking to realize we won’t be going back to where we came from. That may be bad news for brick and mortar companies, but it’s good news for people growing their online presence.
First, it’s important to understand that digital marketing is growing by leaps and bounds over more traditional marketing methods. You can’t ignore its growth when you know:
- Inbound marketing costs 62 percent less per lead than traditional outbound marketing
- Companies that blog get 55 percent more web traffic
- 57 percent of all businesses have acquired a customer through blogging
- 78 percent of online users perform product research online before making a purchase
- The number of marketers who say Facebook is critical to their success has increased 83 percent in 2 years
It’s also important to realize people have more choices than ever when they surf online. If they aren’t motivated by your site, if they don’t get what they want in seconds of showing up, they’ll back away and never return.
What is loyalty marketing and how is it related to digital marketing?
Loyalty marketing is a fairly simple concept. It encourages your customers to do business with you again and again. In most cases, the easiest strategy to implement is one that incentivizes purchases – the more they buy, the more they are rewarded. You’ll see this used well at quick casual restaurants – buy a certain quantity and you’ll get one free.
Of course, it can be used in lots of ways. Coupons, discounts, getting things for free are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making your customers happy.
Ultimately, it’s also about acquisition. And that’s where digital marketing excels.
People do business with companies on their radar. Even if they purchase the same product over and over again, it’s easy to be swayed by something shiny and new. Brand recognition is a big part of customer loyalty. If a different company makes better claims, and offers more of what they’re looking for, it might be enough to convince them to buy.
And your customer could be lost forever.
That’s where digital marketing enhances customer loyalty.
Imagine a customer seeing a competing product, one that touts better features or more benefits. In today’s world, the first thing they do is to pull out their mobile devices and search. And what comes up can change their minds.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is controlled by content. It identifies keywords, content, and referral sources that are engaging with your prospects and customers. As this information is captured, it can be personalized to draw people into your own site, capturing their attention, and giving them more of what they are looking for.
And if they already know you, trust you, it can confirm they are doing the right thing. That means they’ll have no reason to leave.
Why you should care about loyalty marketing
The biggest reason to build a strong loyalty marketing system is cost. It’s expensive to bring in new customers. It’s much more economical to retain existing customers and keep them happy. Studies show it can cost as much as five times more to attract new customers as it does to retain an existing one.
There are a lot of steps to go through to market to someone that doesn’t know you. You have to make them aware of your brand. You have to tell them what you do. You have to explain why you do it better than other businesses doing something similar. You have to convince them to take a chance on you.
But when they already know you, have purchased from you, it changes your action steps exponentially. It becomes a matter of keeping them happy and giving them a reason to buy one more time.
You can sell them on the same product or service they purchased before.
You can introduce new products or services.
You can upsell and move them into different lines.
You can even make them happier with what they’ve purchased before. And a happy customer is more likely to share their opinions with their friends. Meaning you gain potential for new customers.
How can you combine loyalty marketing and digital marketing together?
Loyalty marketing – especially online – is an ever-changing process. Because we all have access to a wealth of information, right at our fingertips, it can be challenging staying top of mind.
But there are strategies you can implement that will help you hold onto customers for as long as possible.
Encourage feedback and interaction
You can’t stop people from using online resources to talk about their experiences. That’s what has made places like Amazon and Airbnb thrive. Before you hit the buy button, you can scroll through reviews and determine the true quality of whatever it is you’re about to buy. Dozens of opinions are enough to sway a person’s decision.
It’s also about using social media channels the right way. How many times do people head out to their favorite social media site – Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, for example – and ask for recommendations? If they have a large enough audience, they could receive dozens of ideas in minutes.
Whether you build your audience on a social media site, or email them regularly, send out surveys periodically to gain insight into how your customers feel.
When you get good at using this tactic, you can use it for a variety of things. Customer satisfaction surveys will be just the beginning. Use them as focus groups – which do you prefer? Ask questions, Leave some of them open ended to allow your customers to dive deep. And always be up front as to how long the survey will take. It should never be more than a few minutes of their time.
In today’s technology driven world, people like to be a part of the action. Showcase your best customers on your site and your social media challenges.
In fact, you can even encourage it. Say things like, “Take a photo of you with our product.” You can hold contests this way, or feature your best case studies. There are so many different ways to play with this idea, plus you’ll gain insight into what your customers really want.
Have you incorporated loyalty programs into your digital marketing strategy?