What does every business want more than anything else? To attract and keep good customers forever!
But that is easier said than done, right? Understanding how to communicate with your customers throughout all stages of the customer lifecycle is more critical than ever, particularly as e-commerce giants like Amazon expand their universe.
Our research on this topic shows the following:
- Forty-five percent of consumers say that they first heard about a new company or product through word of mouth, primarily a recommendation from a friend or family member.
- When asked about the factors that most influence their likelihood to buy something from a retailer they have never purchased from before, 36% ranked comprehensive product information as their No. 1 priority.
- Figuring out how to instill deep customer loyalty is critical, as 54% of research respondents say they will actually pay more to do business with a company they feel loyalty toward.
Overall, consumers rank the following factors as influential when purchasing something from a retailer they have never shopped with before:
- Price (47%)
- Quality (39%)
- Variety in product selection (8%)
- In-stock availability (7%)
Based on these consumer preferences, here are some ways to increase your customer base and instill long-term loyalty:
- Show that you are serious about the quality of your products by offering full refund guarantees. Brands such as Lands’ End promise lifetime guarantees for all their products, ensuring that new customers don’t have to gamble when purchasing from them.
- Since price may be a deterrent in terms of keeping new, prospective customers from purchasing something from your brand, give them an enticing “intro offer” for an initial purchase.
- Be sure to incorporate product reviews in your marketing campaigns. The third-party credibility which is inherent in reviews from actual customers is a much stronger enticement to new customers than the wonderful things you have to say about yourself.
- Make it convenient for your customers to buy things from you. Offer free shipping, an easy returns policy, and/or the ability to purchase via a mobile app, for instance. Now that consumers are used to Amazon Prime, they no longer want to pay extra for shipping, nor do they want to wait weeks for a purchase to arrive.
- If you have a bricks-and-mortar location, that’s another value-add in the minds of your customers. Provide easy to find local store information and hold interesting in-store events (Barnes & Noble does a good job of this through book club promotions and author signings).
- Actively encourage word of mouth marketing by creating rewards for current customers who refer others to your company, such as percentage-off opportunities and exclusives.
- Make it easy for new customers to find you online through smart search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that dominate search engine results pages. Google reports that search/pay-per-click ads can boost awareness by as much as 80 percent.
Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at [email protected]
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