Customer marketing, also called customer relationship marketing, is the art of building a personal relationship with customers. Building good customer relationships is instrumental to business development and growth as it involves marketing to existing customers while attracting new customers. According to studies, retaining existing customers is up to 5 times cheaper than acquiring new customers. With customer relationships at its core, it makes sense to implement effective customer marketing activities that support your success. Loyal customers are more likely to spend 31% more with their preferred supplier, but you can’t ignore the value new customers bring to your business. As you can see below, both markets bring revenue to your business, making customer marketing a valuable tactic.
Thus, customer marketing also encompasses the process of acquiring and gaining new buyers and then nurturing them to become loyal customers. However, mistakes occurring after customer acquisition can sometimes cost a business the benefits of returning customers.
Mistakes in customer marketing
#1. Creating one-way communication channels
The strong desire to keep customers informed and engaged typically drives communication plans involving social media activities. However, social media platforms are designed to introduce a two-way symmetrical model of communication, as identified by public relations experts. In a two-way model, each user must become part of a natural conversation, whether it is the business or a customer. In contrast to traditional media that involves speaking at, customer marketing involves speaking with, a key distinction. Otherwise, the model becomes a monologue. When customer interactions, queries, and comments are left unanswered, chances are customers rapidly lose interest in the business.
That puts the onus on companies to listen to conversations happening about their brand, whether they occur on your social media page or on those owned by other users and brands. Hence, rather than just responding, brands must sense conversations and seek to participate in these conversations wherever they occur. Tools like Brandwatch make this monitoring easier, while paying attention to hashtags on Twitter and Instagram may also help develop a conversation.
You shut down any chance of a conversation if you just defend your brand from criticism or, worse, attempt to delete negative comments. These efforts infuriate your community and expand the negative effects. Instead, take ownership of the problem identified by your community and be transparent in your efforts to fix the problem. In this way, you turn a negative into a positive.
#2. Not sharing knowledge fairly
CRM systems provide you with in-depth information about customers, including:
- Contact details
- Preferred payment method
- Detailed demographics and interests for further marketing activities
Sometimes, using this information feels like an invasion of a customer’s privacy. Attempt to make your use of private information less stalkery through less invasive promotional efforts.
By the same token, you can show more openness about your own team, making them a person rather than a faceless robots. While customers may not need to know everything about the agent handling their requests, it is helpful to create a fair knowledge exchange so customers are not left feeling exposed. Simple additions such as a team page on the website and name tags for customer-facing employees — you can look online for suitable custom badges — can erase some of the discomforts customers experience from nameless workers. Also, making your employees into full people with foibles and interests makes it easier for you to use customer marketing effectively.
#3. Personalize as a priority
Customers are required to leave personal information when they commit to a purchase. So, they expect you to handle that information confidentially and only for purposes related to your relationship. Ensuring your computer systems are secure, information is sequestered from employees who don’t need to access it, and you employ suitable safeguards against unauthorized use of their information is paramount. In fact, many countries have legislation requiring you to keep customer information and privacy safe.
You also want to personalize your communications with customers as part of your customer marketing campaigns. The last thing customers and prospects want is to receive an offer email addressed to “Dear Customer”. Customers want to feel valued and appreciated by the business. Therefore, it’s crucial to sync the CRM system in place with every communication activity. Lack of personalization can push customers away, encouraging them to look for another supplier.
Personalization goes far beyond simply using the customer’s name in communications. Your messages must relate to them, where they are in the customer journey, and the products that interest them. Sending a message offering a discount on a product they already purchased from you is the worst failure as they not only realize you failed to engage with them as an individual, but they also paid more for something you now offer at a discount. Despite their extensive data management systems, Amazon does this to me all the time and it’s frustrating.
#4. Over communicating
How often are customers happy to receive news from your company? Obviously, that’s a function of your subscribers and the value you provide in your email marketing program. Email frequency best practices vary greatly, so the only way to determine the optimal frequency, too little, means they lose connection with you, too much means they get annoyed and unsubscribe, is to test your actual list to see what works best over time. Approximately one-third of marketers send email campaigns weekly. Is that too frequent for your subscribers? Some customers may want to receive news regularly. Others may rapidly become disengaged and mark the emails as spam if they receive them too frequently. So, it’s important to provide subscribers control over the frequency and type of communication they want to get.
#5. Thinking previous customers want to buy the same thing again
No, they don’t. It is a frustrating strategy that drives customers away if you offer the same product in every message. A common mistake made by beauty or intimate hygiene businesses, for instance, is to target customers with offers for products they already bought and don’t need to buy again. Washable period underwear companies, for example, tend to remarket existing customers with new designs of the same products without considering that the main reason customers purchased in the first place was so they wouldn’t need to buy new products as often as they did.
By the same token, expendables require replenishment frequently so sending a reminder is actually beneficial to the customer. Some companies offer discounts when customers choose a suitable frequency for automatic replenishment. For instance, Amazon and Chewy offer a discount when a user signs up for automatic replenishment. Chewy even lets you determine the right frequency for your needs and notifies you of an upcoming shipment to allow you ample time to cancel if your needs change.
Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes? You could be losing existing customers and not making the most of your customer marketing strategy.
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