Consider it the “low-hanging fruit” of marketing. You’ve already put the time and effort into bringing these people in as customers. Now it’s time to focus on keeping them around!
Engaging current customers has many benefits — and can even be a smart way to attract new customers. How?
When you build customer loyalty, your customers are more likely to talk about your brand to others — essentially leading to free marketing for your business. This can come in a number of ways, from leaving positive reviews of your business on Google, Yelp or other platforms, to publicly posting about your products/services on their social media accounts. In short, a fancy ad or digital strategy cannot compete with word-of-mouth marketing.
Building customer loyalty can be more effective than many other types of traditional marketing. Recent studies have shown that the younger generations — particularly “Gen Z” — are more likely to buy products based on “real voices” vs. traditional advertising. Meaning: this new generation of consumers want to hear what “real” people — including friends, family members and the “average” person online — have to say about a product or service before they pay for it.
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Even “influencer marketing” isn’t as effective with Gen Z customers (ironically, this is the same audience segment influencer marketing typically targets). This generation just doesn’t “buy it,” pun intended, because they feel bombarded with daily advertisements. They don’t trust the popular influencers/celebrities to tell the truth about a brand. They crave authenticity.
Beyond building trust and overall brand loyalty, reaching out to existing customers as a marketing strategy is more cost effective and sustainable than many other marketing strategies. It can also boost your presence on social media and increase your search rankings.
So now that you know the why — how do you engage your current customers?
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Here are 7 Ways to Engage Your Existing Customers:
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1. Create a newsletter
A newsletter can be an effective way to keep customers engaged. The key is to create a successful newsletter that people actually want to read. Avoid eblasts that are essentially a giant ad for your brand. Yes, definitely add special sales, promotions, or business news to your newsletter. But the bulk of the newsletter should be made up of something that’s actually useful to your clients.
What type of content you include depends on your business goals and industry. If you want to align yourself as an expert in your field, fill the newsletter with educational information for your clients — whether that’s industry-specific tips, your own helpful blogs or other free resources. You can also make it an actual newsletter by including headlines relevant to your industry. You can even pick a specific topic relevant to your business/industry and focus on that.
Some examples include:
- A restaurant sharing cooking tips or how to buy the best cookware
- A business in the automotive industry sharing how to take care of your vehicle with DIY videos on how to change your oil or how to change a tire
- A travel agency sharing the best packing tips, what you can bring on a carry on, or what you’re allowed to bring into other countries
- A grocery store sharing recipes for easy meals or how to save money on groceries
- A clothing store sharing the latest fashion trends or how to style different types of clothing
Need some more tips to help you get started? Check out this blog from Hubspot.
2. Start a customer loyalty program
Starting a customer loyalty program doesn’t have to be high tech or complicated; it can be as simple as creating “punch cards” for customers to later redeem for a free or discounted service or item. You can do phone or email sign-ups where you award customers with coupons or other “exclusive” discounts, offer free trials or referral programs, or even create events only for loyalty members.
3. Be responsive on social media
Need a super easy way to stay engaged with your customers? Just be responsive on social media! This builds trust with your audience that you are attentive and communicative.
Try to respond consistently to comments on your pages, as well as the occasional tag/mention. If someone’s taking their time to say something good about your brand, thank them for it! And if someone has negative feedback, respond and show them you care — and try to find a solution to their issue.
4. Follow up on customer feedback
This is pretty much the same as the above: Listen to your customers and respond when you can. That means commenting on reviews — both the good and the bad — and even using the feedback to help improve your products or services.
After a customer purchases your product or service, drop them an e-mail to see how things are going. This might be a good opportunity to upsell your services or products if the need arises.
5. Create resources for your customers
If you’re starting a helpful newsletter, you’re already on the right track. Some other examples include:
- writing a blog,
- sharing ebooks or other free downloads,
- creating a webinar,
- making YouTube videos
These resources can be helpful for your specific products, or can highlight your business’ expertise in your industry.
6. Send personalized postcards
Yes, postcards are still a thing. And actually, people tend to respond to them a lot better than emails these days, thanks to our oversaturated digital inboxes.
Sending personalized thank-you notes or birthday wishes can be a nice gesture to your existing customers. Postcards also don’t need to be super serious — or even specific to a special occasion. Why not send a fun greeting just to spread joy?
Creating postcards with a motivational quote, a cute graphic or even just a “thinking of you” could bring a smile to your customers.
7. Share customers’ content on social media
Finally, make sure your business is engaging with your customers as much as possible! That means not only responding to comments/questions on social media, but sharing your customers’ content on your social platforms.
If your business is tagged in a post, share it on your story or on your feed! It’s a great way to make your customers feel seen.