Two of the most powerful ways to generate repeat business is to build customer relationships and establish brand loyalty – especially in an environment where customer service is lagging. In fact, a recent study from Zen Desk reports that 47% of respondents in North America feel that customer service is “an afterthought for most of the businesses they buy from.”
It wasn’t that long ago when the majority of business was conducted face-to-face. Businesses spent a tremendous amount of training on customer interaction and the brick-and-mortar experience. With the popularity of social media, Google and couch surfing, the reality is many potential customers make a purchase decision before they ever shake your hand.
So, how do you lay the groundwork for a longstanding customer relationship and building brand loyalty? We have a few tips to help you build your pipeline.
Understand your target audience
Like most things in our industry, it all starts with research. The list of digital tools out there is endless. So much so, that you can waste a lot of time (and money) in the wrong places. This is why you much evaluate and understand what platforms your ideal customers use. Truly, you can’t build customer relationships without this knowledge.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to understand the customer’s pain points, needs and search behaviors.
We see a lot of brands these days being witty (or even mean) on Twitter and creating fun and engaging TikToks. But to connect effectively on digital channels, you need to produce content that solves their problems. This helps build trust, which leads them into a relationship. It’s impossible to get this right without first doing your homework.
Utilize social media platforms to build relationships
To build customer relationships, you need to be present on social media. However, you don’t need to be on every single platform. Decide which social media platforms most likely resonate with your target audience. We’ll give you a freebie. If you are marketing to other businesses, they’re most likely not going to be responding on Facebook. However, there is an audience for you on LinkedIn.
Identify a content strategy that resonates with your ideal customer and engages them through clicks and comments. Also, we recommend a strategy called social listening. This helps you keep a pulse on what people are talking about and what questions they are asking. You just might have the answer they need!
Craft personalized email marketing campaigns
If a potential customer signs up for your email list, then they probably want more content from you. This is what we call a warm lead in your marketing funnel. If your list is large enough, we recommend segmenting customer data to personalize the content for each target audience.
Perhaps you have both business and leisure buyers. The information that’s relevant to each of these segments (and the reasons why they make purchase decisions) will be different. They are two different audiences; therefore, they would need to have two different customer journeys.
Many email distribution platforms also have the ability to set up email workflows, which automate communication to subscribers as they move closer to a purchase decision. Lastly, we’re big fans of data-informed decision making, and email marketing provides a treasure trove of clues about what your customers value.
Look at data points like link clinks, or try serving two different versions of the same email to A/B test which one performs better. This allows you to continuously tweak the message for optimal performance.
Evolve and evaluate how you build customer relationships
The digital landscape is always changing, and new platforms are constantly popping up in the market. Threads, anyone? Or have you heard of Google’s Search Generative Experience?
Unfortunately, this is one area of business you’ll never be able to set and forget. Stay up to date on the latest digital marketing trends and embrace innovation and experimentation.
While the digital landscape evolves, nothing will take the place of face-to-face communication. Digital channels may seem like they create barriers to getting in front of the customer. But, effective digital marketing can actually accelerate your sales process by getting your brand in front of interested customers.
Leverage digital channels to build strong and lasting relationships with your customers. This ultimately leads to increased brand loyalty, customer retention and trust and overall business success.