In the world of hyperconnectivity and AI, people put their trust in those businesses that are honest with them. Simply put, the world of digital marketing has started shifting to the ultimate transparency and highly-targeted customer experiences. This is why on-demand marketing, as a relatively new form of marketing, is rising at an astounding rate.
Just take the introduction of GDPR as an example. The sites complying with it need to let their users know that they’re collecting their data. The regulation gives those people full control of their personal information, inspiring them to treat their personal data as their private asset.
Based on the solid foundations of interconnectedness, on-demand marketing allows you to make your brand more relevant to a specific customer, appealing to their preferences. And, in this highly competitive business world, personalization is the nerve center of building strong customer relationships.
In this article, we will break down the ways you can make on-demain maketing and personalization work for you and boost your customers' loyalty and retention.
Let's dive in!
1. Offer a highly personalized browsing experience
The mere fact that one visits your site means that they’re looking for certain information. And, you need to help them find this information effortlessly.
Start by optimizing your navigation. Apart from simple menus and search bar, you should focus on personalizing their buying journey from beginning to end. Let’s take Amazon as an example, as it truly rocks website personalization.
The first thing you see once you land on their homepage is their hottest offers, such as:
- Deal of the day
- Today’s deals
- Low-cost products
They make their most popular and engaging categories prominent. They also strive to address seasonal trends. For example, in September, they focus on promoting “Back to school picks.”
Now, once you click on a product you like, Amazon also displays “Frequently bought together,” “Sponsored items related to this product,” and “Customers who bought this item also bought” sections, where it presents you with more products you may like to see or buy. You can see the products you’ve viewed even if you haven’t created an Amazon account. Still, once you sign in, you the site will provide you with personalized recommendations, created based on your previous searches.
Finally, they boost transparency by presenting its visitors with product reviews and comparing different products in the same the selected item with related products. Remember, honesty is the key ingredient in your customer retention strategy.
2. Bring value through highly targeted content
To boost customer loyalty, you first need to position yourself as an authoritative source of information and a leader in your niche. This is where blogging, blogger outreach, and content marketing can help you. However, not every piece of content you create will be relevant to your target audience. This is something I learned the hard way.
Namely, when I was starting my career as a blogger, the digital landscape seemed so confusing to me. Back then, I didn’t understand the true importance of the terms content personalization, storytelling, or buyer intent. I was writing about the stuff I considered important and organized my articles however I wanted. Then, I noticed that the articles I create don’t resonate with my readers and lack engagement. This clearly told me I had to rethink my approach.
First, I started writing about the topics relevant to my target audience to spark my readers’ interest. Here, BuzzSumo helps me a lot, as it tells me what content is shared most across different social networking platforms, finds the major influencers and discovers the content they share. Above all, it lets me “spy on” my major competitors and see what strategies work or don’t work for them.
Second, I started experimenting with the forms of content. At first, I focused on writing brief, 700-word articles, as they were dominant a few years ago. However, I noticed recently that short-form articles are not enough for me to cover a certain issue from an original viewpoint, add the relevant data, and keep the reader engaged. This is why I switched to producing long-form content and it proved to be a great idea. In their recent research, where they studied 1 million Google search results, Backlinko has found that articles with at least 1800 words dominated the first page in the SERPs.
However, there is no need to limit yourself to old-school articles only. Just like your website, email marketing, or social media, your content also needs to be highly engaging, interactive and personalized. Track your visitors’ engagement to see what content forms work for you. Experiment with different types of content and track people’s engagement with it to find out what works best.
Make sure you introduce some interactive types of content, such as:
Finally, no matter if you’re creating a video or an article, create a strong narrative around your content to boost brand awareness and engage your customers on a personal and emotional level. People love shocking plots and stories that begin with a problem and end with the right solution and this is a great way to emphasize your brand value. And, don’t forget to have the "Read more" section, where your readers can find similar pieces to the one they’ve read.
3. Remove the line between the physical and the digital
In the past, each customer acquisition channel was observed in isolation. However, the emergence of new, sophisticated technologies has changed the mere notion of the touchpoint, introducing us to what we today know as the omnichannel customer experience.
Your customers are incredibly tech-savvy. They will start their search on Google, navigate through your site, and then move their search to social networks — and they expect you to make this transition smooth.
Optimize website navigation
Make sure to optimize your landing page to have a simple menu, a prominent search bar, easy-to-see CTAs, and links that will guide your customers through your site towards the content they’re looking for.
Provide real-time feedback
I strongly believe that customer interaction is the basis of building strong relationships. Ever since I started blogging, I’ve focused on responding to my target audience’s questions as fast as I can. I spend at least two hours daily on answering their emails, social media messages, and blog comments.
Above all, to stay on top of your online conversations, I track my online mentions. There are numerous tools like Google Alerts or Mention that will let you know whenever your brand or product name is mentioned online.
Leverage the omnichannel communication
Different marketing channels cannot be observed in a vacuum anymore. Your live chat, email, social networks, telemarketing, IM apps, content, website, and offline marketing efforts are all essential pieces of an enormous puzzle called the real-time customer support. And, Buffer’s Happiness Team (yep, this is how they call their customer support team) is a perfect example of how important providing real-time customer support is. Namely, their average Twitter response time is about 4 hours, while their customer satisfaction score is above 91%.
The omnichannel communication makes the line between the physical and the digital blurrier. Here are a few steps you need to take:
- Add your major website links to your social networks.
- Add your social media profiles to your website to make your accounts findable.
- Make your phone number on your website and social networks tappable so your customers can call you directly.
- Implement QR codes into your digital marketing strategy. By scanning the code they see on your promotional items, business cards, or storefront displays, your customers can jump instantly to your homepage, a certain landing page, or your Facebook profile.
- Try using a Facebook Messenger bot: it works for thousands of business and will work for you.
4. Show appreciation — it is the key element of on-demand marketing
Today’s customers understand how important they are to your business and want to be appreciated for their loyalty. And this is exactly what you should provide them with.
Start by making little and yet significant changes to your marketing strategy.
Know who your major customers are and show how much you value their loyalty. Be it a hand-written thank you note or a free gift basket, they will be proud to know that you’re thinking of them. Just make sure you observe your customers’ interactions with your brand regularly (check what pages they spend most of their time on and leverage the abovementioned social listening tools to track their discussions) to figure out what really works for them.
For example, when they sign up for your site, send them an exclusive piece of content. Upon a contract renewal, you could gift them one of your exclusive products or a personalized prepaid Visa card, with their name on it.
This could be a great starting point for creating a strong customer loyalty program, similar to the one Starbucks has. Here are a few reasons why this company is a true king of customer loyalty programs:
1) Their rewards are highly personalized. They offer free birthday products and host member events. Starbucks’ customers can also find customized offers on their mobile app and redeem the offer with just one tap.
2) They offer an exceptional mobile experience, as their loyalty programs are directly linked with mobile payments. Their customers can not only make mobile payments effortlessly, but also check their card balance and get points for making purchases and take advantage of numerous discounts.
3) Their orders are user-friendly. Customers can order the item from the menu ahead of time and pick up the order at the store. This smooth move saves their time and boosts user experience.
4) Their rewards are exclusive and make people feel special, such as personalized gold cards or monthly double stars.
5) Their contests and giveaways are highly engaging. For example, in 2014, Starbucks started a White Cup Contest, inviting their users to decorate their recognizable white cups and publish the photo of their art on social networks with the dedicated hashtag. The winning design was printed on the limited edition of their reusable cups.
Over to you
Small business owners usually ask me how to keep their customers happy. And, the answer is surprisingly simple. When posting something on social networks, writing a piece of content, giving feedback, or sending an eNewsletter, keep in mind that you’re doing so for your customers, not for search engine bots.
Your every decision should be purpose-led, with an aim to hook your customers’ attention, bring value to them, and boost their brand awareness and loyalty.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
This guest post was contributed by Emma Worden – a startup funding consultant from Sydney and author at Bizzmark Blog. She enjoys reading and writing on different aspects of entrepreneurship, usually finance and marketing. If you want to read more of her work, you can find it at Bizzmark Blog or @EmmaRWorden.