Keeping customers actively buying products and services is a key component of every marketing and service strategy. The longer people remain in the buying funnel, the greater their lifetime value and contribution to corporate profitability. People can easily shift loyalties with a click of a button in our global marketplace. This makes it much harder to keep them actively engaged and committed to your business.
Companies with storefront are better equipped to keep customers because they have the opportunity to build face-to-face relationships. Ask anyone who is extremely loyal to a brand why they love it so and invariably you'll receive a response similar to these: "The products/service is amazing." or "Ben always takes good care of me."
When people have good relationships with individuals within an organization, they are more loyal.
Amazing products and services contribute to loyalty but there is always another option available. If not today, rest assured that someone is working on one to replace your best sellers. The only way to guarantee a loyal customer base is to create unbreakable bonds. This is done one person at a time.
Pure play direct marketing and ecommerce companies are at a disadvantage when competing with bricks and mortar organizations. Creating bonds with individuals is much harder when transactions are handled electronically. Social media changes the playing field because it provides a venue for the one-to-one connections that create unbreakable bonds.
Capitalizing on this opportunity requires a strategic plan that includes connecting with customers across channels. The plan must include building a community of customers. Companies are investing too much money in the hopes of launching viral campaigns. Connecting with customers delivers a better return on investment. To get started, replace passive links to social media networks with aggressive campaigns that invite customers to join your communities and reward them for doing so.
Connecting with customers takes more effort and time to build your communities than typical social media acquisition strategies.
The rewards are greater too. When customers are the foundation of your community, they help you answer questions, introduce new people to your business, and respond better to your promotions. People who are actively participating in brand communities have longer customer lifespans and higher lifetime values. And, one more thing...they look forward to your marketing messages instead of complaining about them.