The digital provides more opportunities to acquire new customers. But once you acquire these customers, the timely delivery of compelling and consistent customer experience must be met. Thus, the question arises, once you acquire a new customer, how do you keep them and drive loyalty to your brand?
To secure a new customer relationship, several important tactics must be implemented to bond your customer to your brand through your marketing efforts. They can be broken down into three phases:
Phase 1: Build a rich customer profile
Understanding your new customer across all channels is the first and most crucial step in the process. It begins by understanding their path to purchase:
- How did the customer become aware of your brand (owned/paid content), refer a friend, others?
- How did the customer navigate your website to make a purchase and what products did they browse before they purchased?
- Did they browse online and then purchase in store?
- Did a specific offer compel them to make a purchase?
By understanding these behaviors and micro-decisions of a consumer, you will be able to understand their future wants and needs.
Another important aspect is to gather as much self-reported information from the consumer as possible. The digital space enables opportunity for you to accomplish this. For example, e-receipts, welcome mails, purchase confirmation, or asking your customer to fill out a profile via a customer preference centre would help in creating self-reported information. Gaining customer information at the beginning of the relationship will bear fruitful and shall be worth the investment. While gathering the information, focus must be put on:
- Trying to gain an understanding of why the consumer made a purchase.
- Was it for their own personal use or for a gift?
- Are they a frequent category purchaser or less frequent?
- Are there specific products or product categories they are most interested in?
- Ask your customer how they would like to be communicated to, in what channel and how often.
A point to be noted: Ensure that you are ready to execute on these preferences, or you risk damaging the customer relationship.
To enrich first-party data it should be corroborated with 3rd party data which provides a wealth of information on consumers including demographic and psychological insights
Phase 2: Act on the profile through 1:1 messaging and continue to enrich the profile
Based on the information gathered, assign the customer a segment that suits their needs and ensure that there is a follow-up program designed specifically for their benefit. Supply content that is pertinent to the consumer such as information about recent product purchases, complementary products or new offers products in the same category with intent of repeat purchase.
Messages to the consumer must be based on the data collected in the first phase of this process. In the case where the consumer makes an additional purchase, update the information, re-assign segments and tune the follow-up cadence. Updated customer profiles are imperative to keeping customers engaged throughout the customer lifecycle.
Phase 3: Refine the message
Over the course of time, try to understand what drives your consumer to purchase and add this to their profile. Altering content delivery and offering a mix based on their purchasing pattern in addition to adjusting your communication will be key to the process.
Encourage your consumers to share their brand experience through refer friend programs and social shares to increase brand loyalty. It is through these loyal groups that you will be able to reach cross-sell and upsell communications.
In the case of a lapsed customer, put them in the win-back or suppressed segments to refine your messaging or eliminate communication costs.
Although these phases are challenging, they will help narrow the focus and scope of work to turn new customers to brand loyalists.