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Five strategies for creating loyal customers

Five strategies for creating loyal customers
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Five strategies for creating loyal customers
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

We’re living in unpredictable times – it’s hard to know whether we will be in full national lockdown or different tiers by the time this article is published, even. Statistics and government policy are changing very quickly, but one thing remains clear: business conditions are going to remain tough. So it's never been more important to improve customer loyalty and increase conversions at every stage of your customer journey to win new clients. Siobhan Stirling of Sharp Minds Communications explains how to increase customer loyalty through effective marketing and valuing connections.

STRATEGY 1: a seamless customer journey

Drawing on the notion that it is harder to win new customers than retain and upsell existing ones, you need to be thinking about improving your conversions at every stage. It is between five times and 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. By creating a seamless customer journey, you can work out the kinks and barriers that may be holding your prospective customers back, as well as optimise your profitability.

For example, once your customers reach your website, is there a clear next step that they can take to get in touch with you, like an easy-to-navigate contact box or instantly visible phone number that they can call? According to business data platform Statista, one of the leading barriers to a smooth customer journey is the complexity of the qualification process and number of touchpoints.

Walk yourself through your website and usual touchpoints with an impartial view, and put yourself into your customers’ shoes. Are there ways that you could make your content easier to navigate or understand? Are you contacting your prospect too much in the early stages? Make note of any barriers you identify and think about how you can work to eliminate these to smooth out the journey your customers are taken through.

STRATEGY 2: personalising customer experiences

Throughout lockdown and the shift to working from home, your customers’ experiences have changed, as have their outlooks and opinions. From the early stages of lockdown, right through to recent weeks, there has been an emphasis on shopping local and supporting brands that reflect the same values that they do. Companies with a customer-experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher above their market. Think about how you can personalise your brand and make your values more visible – you might just attract a group of new people who are already invested in your message before getting past the first stage of the customer journey.

Move your messaging away from a one-size-fits-all routine – evaluate if you have the capacity to be more attentive to your new prospect, rather than communicating an overused spiel to them that you’ve used many times before! By prioritising what makes your customers happy, you could generate a growth in revenue, as do 83% of companies that value this.

STRATEGY 3: emphasising connections

In these times, we’re all getting by with a little help from each other, and the same applies in the business world. By collaborating on projects or offering to scratch someone’s back if you scratch theirs, you could simultaneously grow the loyalty of your client base as well as give your business connections a boost.

For example, in March, Sharp Minds Communications collaborated with accountants at Synergee and business coach Julian Weekes to offer free business consultancy to local businesses. Not only did this provide some relief in an unpredictable time, but it also opened avenues to create more loyal, engaged customers, who had come across these businesses through a gesture of goodwill. Never underestimate the power of making local and friendly business connections – they could just give you a leg up in a time of crisis like this.

STRATEGY 4: keep it social

A tool that is often overlooked by companies when wanting to improve their customer loyalty

is social media – and yes it is a tool! Through social media, you have access to hundreds of local connections, experts in your field, and prospective customers in the palm of your hand. Ensure you make the most of this by updating your connections on what your business is going through, and don’t shy away from honesty. A study by Sprout Social states that 73% of consumers are actually willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency. Here are just a few ways you can incorporate honesty into making the most of social media for your business:

  • Ask questions: through status updates on platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook, promote discussion by asking for suggestions, recommendations, and opinions – your connections will value your for encouraging discussion, and your customers will remember you as you pop up in their feeds.
  • Make connections: networking doesn’t have to be strictly in person anymore, as you can make a connection on LinkedIn or gain a follower on Instagram in a fraction of the time. Reach out to your ideal clients by utilising search functions on social media platforms, as well as connecting with experts in your field who can provide inspiration.
  • Engage, engage, engage: A stagnant social media profile is about as useful as no social media at all, so give yourself at least fifteen minutes a day to scroll through your feed, and like and comment on anything you find interesting. If you found something valuable, instead of feeling negative that you didn’t come up with the idea, let the creator know how useful you found it – a friendly and honest business is a business that loyal customers will be drawn to.

STRATEGY 5: valuing integrity

Companies require their own values and morals just as any person would, and these values are becoming more and more important in today’s world. During this year’s Black History Month, we saw hundreds of businesses change their social media logos to black to show their support for the movement. The same occurred with Pride month and also with businesses showing their support for the NHS with messaging on their vehicles and outdoor signs. By displaying support for these important issues, you can express your business’s integrity, while also attracting the customers who value those same issues.

We’ve recently seen environmental friendliness rising up in the list of values that customers seek in the businesses they use, as a Global Data survey suggests, and companies are responding to this. For example, Amazon’s latest campaign demonstrates the effort it puts into renewable energy and reducing its carbon footprint after unveiling its eco-friendly shopping platform. Staying true to your business’s values is an admirable thing, and your customers will see that the more effort you invest in your company’s integrity.

As times remain tough for businesses through coronavirus, it's never been more important to improve customer loyalty. Paying attention to other aspects of your business, such as integrity and personalisation, will help increase that customer loyalty and may see you with greater numbers of prospects, too.

MEET THE EXPERT

Communications expert Siobhan Stirling specialises in strategically expressing the right messages to the right audiences using the most effective channels. She founded Sharp Minds Communications, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and offers expert marketing communications to support ambitious organisations across Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Greater London.