Whether you’re a marketing rookie or a master, you already have one powerful tool at your disposal: your brain. But while your grey matter is extraordinary in many ways, it has a tendency to be a little short-sighted when it comes to creating bigger-picture goals.
If you’re a business owner or marketer, this can take the form of focusing your efforts on acquiring shiny new customers to make quick sales. But you can also incorporate long-term strategies such as nurturing already-existing customers.
There’s a huge benefit to nourishing clients dedicated to your brand: It can garner repeat business as well as ignite word-of-mouth referrals. That’s because brand loyalty is rooted in emotion, meaning you should be working to establish an emotional connection with customers in a personal, caring way, because that empathetic connection can lead to lasting brand loyalty.
Here are 4 more ways to build lasting customer relationships—and keep them going strong.
Every brand has a story. That’s why social media is so critical: Not only does it highlight—and humanize—your brand’s voice, it’s a direct pipeline to the consumer that allows for real-time, two-way communication.
- Use Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to keep customers in the loop about your latest store and inventory updates.
- Give customers a peek behind the scenes by highlighting talented staff members. Need some inspiration? Check out our Meet MailChimp series.
- If customers send you (or tag you in) pictures of themselves using or wearing your products, don’t be afraid to share them on your own social channels—with permission, of course! Not only is it a great marketing tool, it’s also a fun way to turn the spotlight back on your customers.
Listen to your customers
Social media also allows you access to customers’ candid thoughts and gives you the opportunity to listen—and respond—to feedback.
- When customers reach out to you on platforms like Facebook or Twitter, reply to them! It might seem like a small gesture, but that personal touch of customer service can help strengthen their loyalty.
- Add a survey or “Contact Us” page on your website to help you gauge customer sentiment and learn more about what they want. These tools will make it easy for customers to tell you what you’re doing right or voice any concerns they may have.
The bottom line: Keep your lines of communication open; being part of a good relationship means being a good listener.
Provide a great experience
One of the best ways you can make a positive first (or second, or third) impression and encourage loyalty is to give your customers a great experience—and provide great service—every step of the way.
- After a customer completes their order, consider sending a quick, personalized note to thank them for their business. If they’ve purchased an item that requires any special usage or care instructions, be sure to pass those along, too.
- Send a series of helpful order and shipping confirmation messages to help customers track their purchase—and provide all-important peace of mind.
- If a question arises—about a customer's order or shipping address, perhaps—don't hesitate to reach out to them directly so you can get any potential issues resolved as quickly as possible.
Remember: Showing accountability and reliability can only help your brand.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, and sometimes it’s important to go the extra mile to show how thankful you are for their patronage and support. Giving back to your loyal customers is a great way to make sure they feel valued and keep them coming back to your store for years to come.
- If you’re planning a big sale (or you’ve got the season’s hottest product back in stock for the first time in weeks), send frequent customers a quick email so they’re the first to know.
- Delight your biggest spenders with an exclusive coupon or discount that they can use on their next purchase.
- Consider offering a free gift when a customer spends a certain amount of money in your store.
Here at MailChimp, we love helping businesses build their brands and sell more stuff. Creating lasting loyalty doesn’t have to be difficult: In just a few steps, you can start to bolster critical customer relationships that can bring repeat business and cultivate positive word-of-mouth referrals.
We hope these tips will help you acquire new customers and provide new value to older ones.