You know the clichés: The grass is always greener, she’s playing hard to get, we want what we can’t have. And as it goes with life, so it goes with marketing. We always seem to be focused on customer acquisition, chasing what’s shiny and new while neglecting our existing customers.
But that’s an expensive attitude. Acquiring a new customer can cost seven times more than retaining one1. What’s more, existing customers who are made to really feel the love also share it – with their families, their Facebook friends, their dentists. They become ambassadors of your brand, doing some of the customer acquisition work for you. For free.
So how do you treat existing customers right? A lot of the responsibility rests with your call center or customer service department, but there are several things marketers can do to show you care.
Make sure your customer information is robust and up to date. There’s nothing worse than a “personalized” email that completely misses the mark by being either incredibly vague or just plain wrong. It’s embarrassing for you. It’s insulting to them. And it’s bad news for your bottom line. In fact, 68% of lost customers bail because they feel like the brand doesn’t care about them.2
Take things to the next level.
Develop a messaging strategy for customers who’ve already heard – and bought into – your original sales pitch. What information or advice would make their original purchase(s) more satisfying? Are there any promotions that you can run specifically for existing customers? What’s a logical and relevant cross-selling opportunity? Try to anticipate their needs without giving them the hard sell.
Be a good listener.
Solicit feedback, and take it to heart. Put together a good social media strategy by closely monitoring what’s being said about your brand and responding in ways that are respectful and genuine. This will require working closely with your customer service department, which can be tough, but it’s absolutely critical. Learn from those who’ve made major missteps, and those who get it right.
Don’t give up.
Go after lost customers – without getting into stalker territory. Find out why they left, and if there’s anything you can do to win them back. The effort is worth it: studies have shown that your chances of winning back a former customer are two to four times higher than landing a new one.3. But even if they’re gone for good, you may learn valuable information in the process to keep future churn to a minimum.
So start showing your existing customers the love. Once you have a good retention plan in place, you’ll find that the grass is pretty green in your own yard after all.
U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In 2012, many people were proclaiming “native advertising”
the buzzword of the year, with all the fly-by-nightness that implies. But signs
indicate that content will not only continue to rule, but do so with an iron fist,
which means that native advertising is here to stay. And just like any trend,
there’s a right way and wrong way to do it.
What is native
The term refers to digital ads that blend into a site’s
content. You can “place” native advertising on social media (sponsored stories,
promoted tweets, featured videos) as well as editorial and news sites
(sponsored content, featured partners). Done well, it becomes part of the
user’s experience (as opposed to interrupting it) and nets higher engagement
rates. Done poorly, it paints brands – and publishers – as disingenuous,
out of touch and untrustworthy.
An infamous lesson on how not to do native advertising comes
from The Atlantic. The venerable
magazine’s online outlet published a
sponsored piece on Scientology – and got a face full of backlash. And not just
because the “sponsored” nature of the piece wasn’t as obvious as it should have
been. It was a bad fit in terms of sponsor and site, and made The Atlantic look like they cared less
about their readers than about ad revenue. After the outcry on social media (as
well as a mocking Onion
article), The Atlantic removed
the story and apologized. But the damage was already done.
If you’re ready to go native, you should first get very
familiar with content marketing: what
it is and how to do
it. From there, it’s really all about understanding the publisher’s audience
and speaking its language. Because the last thing you want is to look like a
A new year’s resolution list should always be a mix of “gimmees” – things that you know you can accomplish – and loftier goals that are going to require a little more commitment. It’s in this spirit that we offer four marketing resolutions for 2013.
Dance with the one that brought you By which we mean: focus on customer retention. This one should be easy peasy – after all, these are people that already know and love you, right? It’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one, and you can create loyal brand ambassadors who will act as evangelists – effectively doing some of the customer acquisition work for you.
Find your sweet spot – and stay there You know the saying: Jack of all trades, master of none. When it comes to your marketing efforts, identify the channels and tactics that make the most sense for your business and perfect them. Don’t spread yourself thin trying to be all things to all people – or trying to ride every trend wave.
Get mobilized That being said, mobile is one channel that every business needs to commit to in 2013. For more and more consumers, mobile devices are quickly becoming the linchpin in the buying cycle, while social media mobile apps are growing exponentially in use. To realize the best ROI, get smart about your mobile strategy before investing in a lot of technology.
Measure up For many, this is fast becoming a perennial resolution. Our ability to track data keeps getting better – but it also keeps getting more complex, and trends like so-called “big data” can be daunting. But marketing metrics doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition – and the payoffs are more than worth the investment.
You may be thinking, “easier said than done.” Not to worry. In the upcoming weeks and months, we’ll be posting longer entries on each of these four topics to help you make the most of your marketing this year.
When it comes to increasing your site
traffic, you've got to give a little to get a little. And that's where content marketing comes in. It's all about providing valuable, relevant content to people – content they want to share, content that keeps them coming back for more. Done right, it can turn prospects into loyal customers, create brand ambassadors, even do wonders for your search engine rankings.
Think it through
To provide high-quality content, you've got to have a strategy. Do you want to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry? Then providing a series of white
papers might be the way to go. Do you want to create a
community? You can host a forum for like-minded people to get connected, find expert advice and share stories. Want to raise brand awareness? Try a super-unique video series. No matter how you deliver it, your content should always be relevant – to your audience, and your business. Cat videos may be popular, but if your business has nothing to do with cats, posting cat videos will be a pretty transparent ploy for traffic. (That is, unless you've figured out a way to connect the two. And it can be done.)
With content marketing, it's never one and done. You have to keep a steady stream of fresh content on your site to stay relevant. It helps to create an editorial calendar so that you're prepared for a few months out, but don't plan too
far ahead. Work some flexibility into the schedule so you can
capitalize on trending topics. The goal of fresh content is to keep
people coming back for more. The key term here is engagement – you
want to create an ongoing relationship with people that goes beyond
you shilling your products. Give them valuable content. Then give
them some more. Rinse, repeat – you get the drill.
Share and share alike The sure sign of quality content?
Shares. Whether it's getting posted across Facebook, distributed
through email or tweeted and retweeted, content that's good enough
to share will inevitably drive traffic. But don't just create the
content and sit back and wait. Make it easy for visitors to your site
to repost your content by adding sharing buttons. You should also
develop a robust social media presence to jumpstart the
process of socializing your content.
The traffic circle In terms of driving site traffic,
content marketing is closely tied to search engine optimization.
That's because the more traffic you get to your website through
valuable, relevant content, the higher you rank on search engine
results pages. And the higher you rank, the more traffic you'll
get. Content marketing: the gift that keeps on giving.