Want More Sales? 3 Easy Ways to Create Customer Loyalty
Jul 24, 2012 4:00 AM - Posted by Brad Smith
Customer engagement is the vital link between strangers landing on your website, and loyal customers.
Because you’ll never sell anything if people aren’t engaged with your company, your product/service, or you. They need to know you and trust you before turning over their hard-earned resources.
So after getting people’s attention, you need to use a variety of methods to engage them over time and get them to buy.
Here are 3 ways to increase engagement this week.
1. Social Media
Engagement is where social media shines.
And it’s one of the primary reasons why the ROI of social media is so difficult to measure. By improving engagement first, social media is indirectly influencing sales. There’s no direct correlation like there is with search engine optimization or paying for Google AdWords.
The most obvious form of social media engagement is through regular status updates. These occur frequently through-out the day and are easy to overlook.
But you should put more thought into each update, and think about what the goal behind each is.
For example, the objectives you want to target should align with your social media goals:
Another important sub-set is promotions, which help improve engagement in a variety of ways:
- They break the everyday monotony by introducing something unexpected
- They act as an incentive to lure people’s engagement
- And they can include viral hooks to draw new people in
The actual type of promotion depends on your marketing goal or objective:
Increase Reach: If you want to increase Reach, then use a sweepstakes.
These lower the barrier to entry and make it easier for people to enter and spread. You should see more overall participants as a result.
Increase Engagement: If you want to increase Engagement, then use a contest.
These usually require more interaction from others, which will increase community interaction.
Your business can run a social promotion right now by doing these three things:
- Use the simple and affordable Wildfire to host and manage everything
- Come up with “packages” of your own products and services to give away for free
- Partner with other brands to cross-promote, increase participants and make the prizes more exciting
Now the biggest internal problem with social media is scale. It takes people to manage each community and invest in it’s growth.
Fortunately that’s where email marketing excels…
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is old, boring and tired.
But when used correctly, it can be insanely profitable for your company.
The true beauty comes in through timing and scheduling. With autoresponders, you can create elaborate sequences to stay-in-touch with prospects or customers for weeks, months, or even years in advance.
In their April 2011 study, market research firm, Gartner, found that using event-triggered techniques results in a 600% lift over traditional outbound marketing programs.
And email marketing specifically gives you an incredible tool to scale your own limited resources.
There are two primary stages of email marketing:
Stage #1. Pre-Sale: The goal is here is to nurture each lead, build trust and get them to the point of sale.
Your business should have a “welcome cycle” where you bring in new customers, and an “abandon” cycle if people start but abandon the purchase process or shopping cart, etc.
Stage #2. Post-Sale: The goal here is to follow up and transform each one-off customer into a loyal, frequent buyer.
You should have a series of emails sent right after someone purchases for the first time, thanking them, showing them next steps, and even promoting up-sells or cross-sells.
You should also have emails sent to past customers who might not have bought for a certain amount of time, or have switched to your competitors.
3. Content Marketing
Finally, the glue that holds everything together is content marketing.
It’s the building block for each step of the online marketing process.
Your blog content is what draws people in and get’s them interested in the first place.
Your newsletter content keeps them engaged over time and builds trust. You can use Facebook Insights to uncover what people like, and what they don’t.
Your lifecycle email content can deepen that trust or retain customers after each sale.
And it’s at this step where most fall short…
Because content marketing is part art, part science. You have be bold, experiment, and create new experiences. But you also have to test, iterate, and measure progress over time.
And a successful piece of content needs several different pieces working in unison. Specifically it’s Topic + Theme (USP) + Style + Format:
- Topic: Some topics succeed while others fail. You need to pick popular topics that also somehow relate back to your industry or audience.
- Theme (USP): Each topic should touch-on or reference a company theme. You need to take popular topics and connect them with a deeper meaning.
- Style: Style is all about copywriting 101. The words you use, the way you write, your “voice,” and how you get people interested enough to read your entire blog post.
- Format: The structure and format of your post will have a huge impact on your success.
So your business needs to do:
1. Hire: a content creator to help you get awareness, build an audience, and increase trust.
You can place an ad on a job board, search for freelancers, or look for journalism students at your local college.
But either way, you still need a high level understanding of how to translate content into traffic into customers. So you should also…
2. Invest: in resources that will help you learn how to create content that turns traffic into customers.
Because the most effective way to learn what works is to start trying, start experimenting, and start failing on a small scale each day.
You can use resources to get you started in the right direction.
But the best way to increase engagement — and sales — is to get started right now.