How to turn customers into loyal returning customers

There is a number of reasons why customers only purchase off you once. While most don’t return and many businesses aren’t ready to look at why because the cause is usually them. A lot of companies are constantly spending their marketing money on customer acquisition and are usually wanting to generate 100% new business because they feel that growth from external sources is the best way to generate income. In actual fact turning a one time customer into a loyal customer is around 5X cheaper than trying to acquire new customers.

There are simple, effective and cost-saving ways of implementing strategies and programs that can allow you to understand and keep loyal customers coming back In a world where customers are expecting that extra level of engagement, personalisation and service.

1.     Understanding who is buying

Understanding your buyer is probably the most underrated part of a lot of businesses, most customers don’t buy off your business for no reason. It is said that marketers still struggle to understand what audiences want and according to HubSpot, in 2015 49.33% of marketers said it was a priority for them to understand. To understand your current customers that have bought off you already is always the best first step to being able to understand who can truly benefit from your product. For example, a number of audiences that are identified in this area and it becomes a case of segmenting your customer database and tailoring the content to what that audience wants.

2.    Personalisation

I personally think that personalisation is one of the most underrated marketing tools out there in 2019. I have recently noticed a number of business such as Country Road, Mon Purse, ade. and many other businesses offering personalisation services. Personalisation can be taken a number of steps further by providing content that is specifically created with your customer in mind with a level of personalisation to that person. According to HubSpot 70% of consumers said they got annoyed when content wasn’t relevant to them. Ways that content can be more relevant and personalised is first understanding your buyer then targeting relevant, personalised and quality content to that buyer. This, in turn, will make them feel that your brand understands what they want.

There are so many customisation options that can be added including loyalty programs which we will talk about in a latter part of this article. According to Exit Bee it is said that “66% of marketers continue to struggle in personalising content in real time, 77% of marketers believe real-time personalisation is important.” That is a staggering number of marketers who see personalisation as a real benefit to their audiences and customers. However, they are under underutilising software that can allow this sort of personalisation to occur. Simple personalisation can be administered by any business, and we would suggest using MailChimp.

MailChimp have many features to help you automate and personalise digital content distribution. Using merge tags will help automatically populate pre-registered and collected data from your businesses email lists and other databases. That is why receiving the most information possible about a company, or your customers/consumers is a significant advantage at the beginning of the buying process to be able to help in future personalisation.

Tip: Add an option to add your customers birthday or first purchase date to your system and reward them with an anniversary gift such as a discount or free service.

3.    Don’t forget about your customers

Within marketers, business owners and others around there is such a misconception around re-engagement and ongoing engagement with businesses thinking that too much engagement will annoy a customer and therefore make them not want to re-purchase another product from their business. According to Converto, more than half of companies admit to not having a formal customer engagement program in place, and 60% didn’t know how many customers they’d lost over the past year. That is a staggering number of customers that those 60% of businesses that don’t invest in or feel there isn’t any point of engagement post-purchase lose.

Of course, in every circumstance, there is the sweet spot between too much and too little when it comes to communication. However, when looking at if it is worth investing the time in engaging with existing customers, remember that a new customer is 5–20% likely to make a purchase while existing customers are 60-70% according to Shopify.

Key Point: Engagement with customers varies between industry and business type, however, once a month should be the minimum that you engage with your audience while some business chooses to email their audience 3 times a day. It really is dependent on what your audience expects and what your goals are.

If your thinking to yourself that customers don’t really care if you put effort into these communication experiences you are sadly mistaken, in fact, according to Kampyle 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a more consistent experience. This can be in many places, especially with communication. We have outlined a number of ways to keep in touch post-purchase that will allow you, customers, feel that you care about them.

1.     Email Marketing

We think that the word marketing puts many people off sending emails as they don’t want to ‘sell’. This isn’t always the purpose of an email. You can set up automatic emails that can trigger on purchase, signup or engagement with something on your website where they have opted in to receive information. This could be to explain the benefits of shopping with your business or being a customer of your company. These can be in a series which is stagnated over a period of time or a one-off email that gives the person what they need only once. You can also set up automatic reminder emails to remind them to rebook or re-purchase the product. This doesn’t have to be an invasive process and personalisation can help with open rates and engagement.

4 purposes email marketing has:

•    Education

•    Communication

•    Deals

•    Announcements

2.    Loyalty Programs

Setting up a loyalty program can help customers feel that they are getting benefits from shopping with you. Loyalty programs are a great way of rewarding regular customers. Also allowing them to accumulate more rewards through referrals as well as specific tasks. Tasks such as signing up for emails, likes on Facebook and Instagram, as well as sharing posts and promoting the product or service to others.

Loyalty programs can yield better results for retaining as well as maximising lifetime value. According to Bond, 71% of consumers who are members of loyalty programs say membership is a meaningful part of their relationships with brands. There are many effective ways to reward customers through loyalty, but one that we have used for our customers is Smile.Io. Smile allows you to create accounts with existing customers, set rewards points per dollar spent, reward people for signing up and also reward based on the amount spent over the lifetime. Check out for a live preview of how it works through Shopify.

3.    Ask for a review or feedback

A good or bad review can help your business. Firstly, good reviews are of course amazing PR for your company, other people see the review and will hopefully, therefore, view your business as somewhere to be trusted. However, sometimes a bad review can also be just as helpful to let you understand where you have gone wrong in the buying process and your ability to be able to fix this issue. Simply sending an automated email after a few weeks asking for a review on Google review or some other third-party application will allow you to get real, honest and valuable feedback about how to improve and what to keep doing right. With more reviews, it will mean that more people will trust your brand when looking at buying. According to Testimonial Engine, 72% of customers don't take action until they have read reviews.

We have looked a number of ways to promote loyalty within buying cycles. If you want to retain, grow and build relationships with your customers you need to start with simple things such as what we have discussed today. Start with looking at your customers, creating a mailing list, send a campaign and then start to segment based on characteristics. From here you can better tailor and personalise the content based on what your target audience wants. These tips can be applied to any business by simply tailoring them to the type of business you have. Of course, not all of these are applicable, but that’s why it’s called personalisation.