One of the challenges of marketing is finding the right balance between adding new customers and getting continual business from existing customers. You may think that business is business and it doesn’t matter where you are getting your revenue. However, the importance of customer loyalty can’t be understated. According to Gartner, 80% of companies’ future revenue will come from 20% of their existing customers.
You may look at that statistic and think it’s a no-brainer to have your company’s salespeople shift their primary focus to current customers. But the thing is, existing customers don’t demand much one-on-one human interaction in order to remain loyal. That’s why the Loyalty phase of marketing is another area where marketing automation adds value. It can easily handle the repetitive check-ins that would quickly fill the sales team’s schedule.
Simple, Low-Cost Marketing
Retaining current customers and building a loyal following is necessary to ensure sustainable growth for your company. Luckily, this important part of the process isn’t as daunting as you might think. Here’s why:
Marketing to Current Customers is Easier
Marketing to existing customers is much different than marketing to prospective customers. Current customers know what you bring to the table and trust you. They wouldn’t have purchased from you if they didn’t. It takes less convincing on your part to get them to commit to repeat purchases. Leads, on the other hand, need to go through the “get to know you” phase first. They need time to see what you’re all about and decide if you’re worthy of their business.
Here are some statistics that reinforce the convenience of having a long list of loyal customers:
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. — Marketing Metrics
- 61% of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) report that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new business. — BIAKelsey
- Reducing your customer defection rate by 5% can increase your profitability by 25% to 125%. — DestinationCRM
Marketing to Current Customers is More Affordable
Trust translates into savings. Loyal customers require less marketing money in order to win them over. In many cases, one or two marketing touches is all it will take to convince them to buy again, while nearly all new leads require lots of time and engagement to come to a decision. According to Forrester, it costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones. When it comes to ROI, current customers are low cost, high potential while new leads are high cost, unknown potential.
Tactics to Keep Customers in Your Corner
The relatively low maintenance needed to retain existing customers and increase their loyalty makes them ideal to put onto a marketing automation platform. The MAP makes it simple to keep in contact with all customers and reinforce why they did business with you in the first place and get them to continue your business relationship. By deploying strategic, timely touches, your business will never be far from their minds. Additionally, it allows salespeople to maximize their time and skills.
There are five main marketing tactics that apply to existing customers. Your team and the MAP can use them to not only retain customers but also get them to sing your praises. This will, in turn, increase revenue and promote company growth.
All of the tactics listed in this article help to grow customer loyalty. The first one we’ll discuss covers ways to grow loyalty in general. With loyalty, you want to stay at the top of existing customers’ minds. You want to remind them why they chose you in the first place, but it goes deeper than just a transaction. The goal is to make your customers brand evangelists who go out of their way to talk you up.
With a MAP, your company can constantly communicate with customers and provide them with valuable content. It could be additional information about products they already purchased from you, information about other products or services, or industry information. The MAP can also further personalize the content with things like birthday emails, congratulations on personal or career milestones and more. Customer experience is a major differentiator, especially in a commoditized market. According to Gartner, in 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience versus just 36% four years ago.
Existing customers can’t be expected to purchase on a weekly or even monthly basis. However, you don’t want them to be inactive for too long. The renewal tactic is used to reinvigorate dormant customers and get them to do business with you again. It is similar to loyalty in that you’re staying in front of them, but it’s more focused on the aspect of getting them to fall in love with your company all over again.
Customers who haven’t purchased in awhile need to be enticed to buy, so renewal content should be loaded with calls to action. Make it obvious that you want them to do something, and give them a reason to do so. Include incentives or other offers/promotions that will give them a reason to get back in contact with you.
Subscription is similar to renewal but is more timing based. The goal of subscription content is to get customers to re-up for another month, quarter, year, etc. If your business model is subscription-based, the MAP can be set up to send reminders to customers that have subscriptions that are nearing expiration. It keeps them from forgetting and makes them less likely to look elsewhere when they need additional products or services.
Another great feature of a MAP is that it has the capability to store and manage very detailed customer data. In addition to demographics, it can track things like interests and purchase history. Your company can use this data to upsell or cross-sell.
Content can be deployed that provides information about your bigger and better products or services. Messaging can be along the lines of the following: “You can do great things with Product X that you purchased previously, but just think how much more productive your company can be with Product Y.” Or, you can suggest ancillary products or services. You can let your customers know: “Thank you for your purchase of Product A. Your company can be even more efficient when you use it in conjunction with Products B and C.”
According to Leap Job, only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment. A more effective way to expand your business is to give your current customers an incentive to suggest it to others. Marketing automation can constantly remind your clients to sing your praises, providing them with a reward of some kind for generating a lead.
One of the difficulties with referral programs is that customers will do it once and then forget about it — even if they can be rewarded multiple times. That’s because it’s not a high-priority task. A MAP will send periodic reminders, which will increase the chances that you’ll get subsequent referrals. This will also keep your customers loyal because they’ll appreciate the rewards they are receiving.
Utilizing marketing automation is an outstanding method of differentiating your company from the competition. Chances are, your customers could get the products and services they need from someone other than you. Marketing automation keeps them from forgetting about you and, more importantly, reinforces their decision to choose you. It’s consistent and never-ending, so your team will appreciate the fact that the MAP allows them to focus on other important tasks rather than loading up their calendars with follow-ups. It’s the most efficient way to increase customer experience and decrease cost.
Look for our next post, as we will discuss tradeshow marketing…