You’ve put in the time and money to attract valuable, qualified, bottom of the funnel leads to your website. If your site is optimized properly, you’ve captured them with Hello Bar. What’s next? Just because someone raises their hand once – whether it’s to download a resource, schedule a meeting or even make a purchase – doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Now the work begins on nurturing, tracking and converting visitors into customers or keeping customers engaged and happy with a strong sense of brand loyalty.

With new businesses popping up every day, you’re bound to face competition. And without plans to out-market and outsmart those other brands, there’s no doubt that at least some of your prospects and customers are going to leave you for the other guy. So how can you keep your prospects interested and your customers loyal? We’ve got five foolproof tactics to help you build brand loyalty and create raving fans.

Pinpoint the Stickiness Factor.

How in tune are you with your customer base? If you’re not sure who your radical buyer is, that’s the first place you should start in your brand loyalty journey. Not only is a buyer persona vital for your branding and messaging, it’s even more important when you’re building a new product or offering a new service. Is it something your customers actually need or want? Or are you wasting your resources? If you’re sending your business roadmap in a direction that isn’t going to fit your target market need, you’re almost certainly going to see higher customer churn and lower sales.

What is it that makes your long-term customers stick? Is it your customer service or your team members or your product? The easiest possible way to gauge that stickiness factor is through net promoter score (NPS). NPS is one of the most vital metrics for a business. Net Promoter Score is a worldwide standard for businesses to measure, understand and improve their customer experience. NPS is a simple way to get customer feedback on your brand and to understand how likely customers are to recommend your organization to friends, family and colleagues.

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Tools like SurveyMonkey, AskNicely and ZenDesk allow you to regularly survey your customer base to see what’s working and what isn’t. Regularly analyzing your customer base – How is their experience? What changes would they like to see made? – will help you create a better customer experience and build loyalty more aggressively.

Step-Up Your Onboarding Process.

The first interaction a new customer has with your business is the most important. If customer experience isn’t a major objective on your priority list, your customers might be in for a bumpy ride. Is your onboarding experience different from one customer to the next? If Customer A works with your most engaging team member and Customer B works with your least engaging team member, you can pretty much bet they’re going to have very different experiences and takeaways.

Before you fire off a generic welcome email, think outside the box. Sending promotional swag or a handwritten note can be a simple, affordable, thoughtful way to get your partnership off on the right foot. Is there anything that shows their brand loyalty more clearly than a new customer rocking your company’s logo on their shirt?

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At Hatchbuck, we start off every partnership with a quick, recorded intro video through Vidyard or Wistia to put a face to a name and to get our customers as psyched as we are to get started. Not only do these videos get stellar click-through rates, but they help us ease new customers into our multi-step onboarding process consisting of emails, phone calls, and instructional videos. By making it personal, we’re able to let new customers know that we’re here to help them succeed.

The payoff for a personalized onboarding experience that wows your customers? Increased satisfaction means that your customers will stick around longer, spend more through upgrades and add-ons and even help you attract new customers through word-of-mouth referrals.

Mine That Data.

If you’re not already utilizing a CRM, your business is without a doubt missing out on opportunities to build and grow relationships. Your CRM data is a wildly valuable resource that you should be leveraging on a day-to-day basis. It can offer deep insights into what your customers are doing online – which will help you stay on top of how their business is changing and what their goals are. By properly storing your data in a centralized location (CRM), keeping it up to date and taking action on it, you’ll easily be able to step in to offer help, advice or even to make a upsell.

Letting your CRM data go stale can have a negative impact on your business as a whole. If you’re not regularly using a CRM to keep customer records current, you risk letting customer experience fall by the wayside and increasing customer churn (which is the opposite of building brand loyalty!).

Keeping your customer data clean and actionable is a team effort. Everyone from marketing to sales to customer support has a role in creating a data goldmine:

Establish contact statuses:  Everyone on your team should know what the contact pipeline looks like. That way, the marketing team doesn’t accidentally message current customers, the sales team isn’t chasing after cold leads, and your support team can easily refer a former customer back to a sales person. A typical contact pipeline looks like:

contact-pipeline-chart

Encourage good note taking: As a customer, there’s nothing worse than feeling like a number instead of a name. When your sales and customer service teams leave solid notes in your CRM, it’s much easier for everyone in your business to provide a personal experience for every contact in your database.

So how do you promote note-taking excellence? Invest in a CRM that your team loves. Clean, simple, easy-to-use software is the best way to foster adoption across your entire team.

Leverage tags: Tags help to categorize your contacts based on their interests, actions and more. Work with your team to establish set tags to add to your contacts. For instance, you can use tags to segment your contacts by the product or service they are interested in. Then, slice and dice your customer list to offer relevant offers and incentives. It’s an easy way to upsell and cross-sell your current customers – in turn boosting brand loyalty.

Utilize lead scoring: Lead scores are a valuable piece of information that indicates how engaged your CRM contacts are. This is a super powerful metric that is configurable in many CRMs, meaning that you can give more weight to specific contact actions or attributes. As an example, you may find that contacts who fill out forms on your website are highly engaged and boost their lead score accordingly.

Analyze your lead scoring data to find the lead score sweet-spot where your prospects are the most engaged and ready to buy, helping you convert more raving-fan customers. You can also use lead scoring to find your most loyal customers, giving you the ability to target excellent candidates for referrals, case studies and reviews.

Make Automation a Priority.

Brand loyalty directly corresponds with responsiveness. If communication is slipping through the cracks, your customer relationships will suffer. When you’re juggling multiple accounts and trying to stay afloat, you need a surefire process to keep things on track. That’s where automation comes in.

Marketing automation allows you to keep tabs on prospects and customers at every stage of the customer journey. Tags, lead scoring, and nurture campaigns will allow you to keep in touch with contacts before, during and after a sale with intelligent automations. You can be sure that you’re sending the right message at the right time so that your brand is top of the inbox and top of mind.

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Through automated tags and tag rules, you can easily keep tabs on what visitors are doing on your website. Whether they’re visiting landing pages, filling out forms or watching videos, marketing automation allows you to automatically tag and segment visitors based on their actions and interests without repetitive daily tasks.

Your contact lead score is created through those automations. Any time a tag is triggered, an assigned value is added to that lead score – so the more engaged your contacts are, the higher the lead score associated with their record.

Nurture campaigns come in many shapes and sizes: general nurture campaigns, hot prospect campaigns, customer nurture campaigns, win-back campaigns and so on. Unlike old-school drip campaigns, the nurture campaigns we’re referring to comprise many steps beyond just email. A well-executed nurture campaign will include emails, tasks, notes, tags and contact record updates. A nurture campaign is truly meant to take a contact down your sales funnel while keeping your sales and marketing teams in the loop.

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Nurture campaigns are guaranteed to make your life simpler, make your business run more smoothly and make sure valuable leads and loyal customers don’t fall through the cracks.

Work For and With Them.

Brand loyalty is created when the relationship is beneficial for both sides. By acting as an extension of your customers’ team, you can continue to build a partnership, address pain points as they arise and become a trusted advisor to their business.

Transparency is key. When customers feel like they’re being taken advantage of, ignored, duped or worse, they’ll feel disposable. Creating an open and honest feedback loop is a must. Treat your customers as partners instead of simply a revenue source, and they’ll be singing your praises.

Remember those NPS surveys we mentioned above? That’s where the feedback loop comes in. You can ask the question (like Chargify does below), but more importantly, you need to take action on that feedback. If the feedback you’re getting is negative, take action on it. Fix a problem, find a solution or at the very least reach out and acknowledge the issue. Your customers may think of you as a partner, but they’re also paying you for a product or service and that payment comes with expectations.

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In the age of internet and social media, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create and maintain loyalty with your customers. But if you’ve got a process and a plan in place to create better customer experiences, building brand loyalty is well within your reach.

Author Bio

Jonathan Herrick is co-founder, chief sales officer, chief marketing officer, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000 percent. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family and working to make a difference in the St. Louis community.

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