Using Email and Social Media to Build Customer Loyalty

Your best customer is one that you’ve already done business with. Your previous customers:

  • Trust you enough to buy from your company (they’ve done it before)
  • Know how to use your site, what to expect, etc.
  • If you’ve done all the right things, your previous customers like your company

Studies have shown that repeat customers convert at a higher rate than “regular” website visitors. These repeat conversions tend to be for higher dollar amounts too. According to one study, repeat visitors spend three times as much as first time buyers. In fact, roughly 40% of all ecommerce website revenue (on average) comes from repeat customers.

Repeat customers are important. Here’s how you use Facebook and Email to boost repeat business.

Email social loyalty

Make Sure They Don’t Forget You

One of the fundamentals of advertising is “recall.” If people can remember seeing your ads (aka “recall” them) or your brand name, then your ads are working. Traditionally, mass media is used to increase recall. Companies buy TV or radio ads, make sure everyone sees or hears them, and then enjoy the benefits of being a well-known brand.

But what about companies that don’t have the budgets for mass media? For them, targeted advertising directed at previous customers is the best tool for increasing recall:

  • Direct mail, which you can target to people you’ve already mailed packages too
  • Email, which you can send to previous customers
  • Social media, assuming that you use the targeting tools available

These tools allow small companies to build a loyal customer base, and do so on a budget. Here are some tips and tactics for each.

Direct Mail Marketing Tactics

Direct mail has gotten awfully cheap the last few years. There are some great online tools available for sending out postcards. We recommend you check out Lob and Click2Mail to see the possibilities, then get with a print designer to come up with a postcard.

Direct mail

Also, as inexpensive as direct mail has become, it’s not always the right place to spend. Companies with a limited budget are probably better off focusing their ad dollars on email and social media advertising. These mediums are easier to track, and generally have a better ROI.

Email Marketing Tactics

Most companies use the following email marketing tactics to make sure their customers don’t forget them:

  • Mailing a newsletter on some repeating basis, which is usually stuffed with advertising.
  • Mailing a coupon or special offer, which is exclusively advertising

See the problem? No one is interested in advertising! Some of your customers will care that oil filters are on sale, but most of them won’t. This is because most of your previous customers don’t need to buy parts right now. If you’re going to get people who aren’t in market to remember your company, you need to give them something more than advertising.

Too many ads

People love Times Square for a lot of reasons, but no one is going so they can find out about deals, top brands, etc. Bombarding previous customers with advertising doesn’t work as well as mixing ads and content.

Your company’s customer loyalty strategy must include creating interesting emails. Newsletters should contain both compelling offers and compelling content. That way, your previous customers will have a good reason to read what you send them. Readers will recall your brand much better than people who delete your email without opening it.

Some suggestions:

  1. Flesh out your newsletter with actual, honest-to-goodness article content. The kind of stuff your customers might read in a magazine. Hopefully, you’re already publishing this type of content on your website and you can just link to it in your newsletter.
  2. Share cool content that you think your customers will like. If your customers are classic Ford fans, send them a link to a great story about the Model T Runabout you found on Hemmings.com. If they’re Honda tuning fans, send them a link to a Facebook page you think they might enjoy.

You’re putting this content in your newsletter because you’re trying to give your customers a reason to care about your emails. If they’re only stuffed with ads, at some point your customers will stop opening them.

Social Media Tactics

When you’re sending email, it’s OK to to balance advertising and content. You want to give email subscribers a reason to open your emails, but you can’t be bashful about your special offers.

However, on social media, you want to follow a 90-10 rule: 90% of your posts should be socially interesting content. 10% should be self promotional. This is because social media is tuned to deliver interesting content.

Facebook ad

One of the popular tricks in social media advertising is to use a meme as a very simple call to action. Just make sure you know your brand and your audience before you try it.

If you post something to your company Facebook page or Twitter account, the post needs to get a good response. People need to “like” it, RT it, click on it, etc. If not, the post or tweet isn’t going to be visible to all your fans.

This also applies to advertising. If you pay to “boost” a post on Facebook, but your post is boring, Facebook won’t show it to all your fans. Instead, they’ll throttle the number of impressions your ad receives. You’ll get fewer ad impressions for your ad dollar.

Therefore, you want to post interesting “stuff” to Facebook and Twitter almost all the time. Sale announcements, new product notices, and other self-promotional items can and should be posted. But they should be posted sparingly if you want anyone to notice them.

It’s also important to target your advertising on social media. Facebook and Twitter both offer email-based targeting and cookie-based targeting:

  • With email-based targeting, you can upload a list of your previous customers to your account. Then, your ads will be shown to customers who use the same email for their social media profile.
  • With cookie-based targeting, you place a tracking code on your website. Then, ads can be shown to people who have recently visited your website, recently checked out, etc.

Cookie-based targeting is great for building up fans and followers. Email-based targeting is great for promoting specific content or offers. But either system can show ads to previous customers at a low cost. Keep in mind that both have minimum audience requirements in order to use these targeting methods.

Conclusion

If you take nothing else from this article, remember this: Revenue is not the main reason you want to advertise to previous customers. The main reason is to remind your previous customers that your company exists. That way, they’re more likely to return next time they need to buy a part you sell.

Direct mail, email, and social media are useful when you’re trying to reach your previous customers. The trick is to utilize them correctly.

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