In my last blog post, I talked about ways to prevent coming across as creepy when acquiring customers. I also covered how to make the most of the “honeymoon phase” by delivering a robust welcome experience informed by profile information. Lastly, I covered how your brand can dress the part by providing responsive and agile email design for those engaging with your brand on a mobile device. Here are a few more tips to get you well on your way to cultivating long term relationships with your customers:

Digital marketing is like love.

Give a little space

It’s been several months since the first date. You spend every waking hour together and, as a result, have been quarreling more than you’d like to admit. The same happens with your customer if you’re constantly bombarding his/her inbox, sending a steady stream of SMS messages, display retargeting him/her every day and just being too clingy in general. Start to gauge your customer’s engagement with your digital touch points, his/her purchase history patterns and create some segmentation from it. Perhaps you just need to make your customer miss your brand. I am not suggesting that you ignore your customer for months, just slightly reduce the digital cadence (start with 25% reduction) and see if that has a positive effect. I recommend you do this as a test. If your company saves money on marketing spend, while increasing demand, you’ll know it’s time to change segmentation on a broader scale.

Give the relationship long-term potential

You’ve been dating your love interest for a while, yet you keep going on dates without talk of a relationship or long-term potential. Are you doing the same to your customers? Do you keep scheduling calendar-based promotions and pushing them out as siloed, product-focused campaigns? If so, the message you’re sending your customers is that there isn’t long-term potential because it will never be about them. A way to remedy this is to put some automated, multichannel relationship marketing programs in place. Here’s a short, yet non-exhaustive, list of ideas you could implement:

  • Welcome series
  • Birthday acknowledgment
  • Post-purchase information and support
  • Re-engagement program

By creating relationship marketing programs, you’re putting your customer—not product—first.  This change in strategy often leads to higher lifetime value with customers, but requires a significant mindset change by your business team.

 

Listen to Hints

Lastly, you want to always listen to your partner and try to meet his/her needs.  Your customer expects the same.  By looking at your web analytics reports, you’ll begin to see patterns in the data that tell a story.  For example, if you send mobile optimized emails and they have a high click-through rate on mobile devices but a low conversion rate, perhaps you need to optimize your website for mobile. (See “Dress the Part” from Part 1.) By “listening” to the data, you’ll be able to better serve your customers and provide the experiences that they need and deserve.

Unlike in real-life, your customers won’t formally break up with you in most cases.  They’ll disappear and won’t even give you the “it’s me, not you” speech.  It is imperative today that digital marketers lose the self-serving, myopic focus because customers will simply leave and never return. It typically costs a lot more to acquire customers than to keep the customers you already have in your marketing database today, so treat your customers well and create a long-lasting relationship that will be mutually beneficial for years to come.

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