No matter what your business, your customers have a relationship with you. The stronger the relationship they have with you, the more loyal they will be. It'll then be harder for a competitor to lure them away.
I've mentioned before the parallels between buying decisions and relationships. The process of nurturing a new customer is similar in many ways to meeting and dating a new love.
And the parallel doesn't end there. In both situations, it’s not uncommon to find that relationships somehow get neglected over time. We are all familiar with divorce rates reported in the press. Do you know how many of your long-term customers quietly decide to move to a competitor?
If your sale is quite transactional, It’s easy to forget that you need to sustain your customer relationships to avoid them drifting away.
So how do we “keep the magic alive”? Funnily enough, this might start to sound a little like marriage advice:
1. Keep the communication going
Think about how you can connect with your customers for other, more engaging, reasons. Let your brand’s personality shine through, especially if your business is quite quirky or fun. Even it if your business is quite conservative, you are still human beings and people buy from people. How can you show your human side to your customers to strengthen the relationship you have with them?
- Perhaps you could run a light-hearted seasonal campaign that they can take part in
- Consider running an event (offline or online) solely for long-term customers that they would enjoy and get value from.
- Make sure your newsletter always includes a “human-interest” story about members of staff and their activites outside of work.
Whatever you do, keep it fun and engaging.
2. Show you appreciate them
Last week Ocado sent me a voucher for £10 off wine or chocolates because I’ve been their customer for 4 years. The marketer in me knows it was an automated email with an automated voucher code. Even so, as a human being it spoke to the emotional part of my brain and I felt appreciated. This simple automated email reignited the emotional connection.
3. Be honest
If you go above and beyond to help a customer then they will value you so much more for it. The companies I am most loyal to – as a customer – are not the ones who have never made mistakes. They are the ones who dealt with those mistakes best
4. Never stop givinG
I don’t want to put the rubbish out when its dark and raining, but I love my husband so I do (even when it’s his turn sometimes).
In Watertight Marketing, Bryony talks about “being helpful” to customers at the Trial stage of the buying process, but are you continuing to be helpful to your customers after they have bought?
What useful content, tips or advice would you customers want to receive that might reaffirm your helpfulness in their minds? Again, a newsletter is a great tool here to regularly provide customers with relevant, valuable content. However, if your business is very relational then you might prefer to send personalised emails or letters to your key long-term clients.
If you don't know whether your marketing supports your loyal customers as well as it could, drop me a phone call, email or message and I'll be happy to talk it over with you and see if we can find a way to make it better.