Articles - Written by Arthur Hughes - 1 Comment
Five Consumer Messages that Build Relationships
In case you hadn’t heard, the best customer is the one who buys from you more than once and engages your brand regularly. In fact, many marketers don’t consider a one-time buyer to be a customer at all-only those who have purchased two or more times. This is due in large part to the increasing costs involved in acquiring customers.
By way of example, add your spending in print, TV, radio, direct mail, search engine, banner ads, and commissions to the sales force, and divide that by the number of new customers actually acquired. The result is your customer acquisition cost. You may be amazed at what you are spending.
Given the cost to acquire new customers in this increasingly challenging economy, there will be more interest than ever in attracting repeat buyers. Internet sweepstakes and aggressive sale prices are popular, and both produce lots of leads. However, they seldom lead to long-term relationships. These consumers are only interested in getting something for nothing, or require constant “price feeding” to return, resulting in lower gross margins.
So what should you offer to consumers to convert them to loyal customers? The answer is value. Here are five fundamental messages that you should consistently convey.
- 1) You have a superior product or service. Consumers want to know why your product is the best choice for them. How is your product made? What special features will make me proud to own it? Why does your product deliver the best results? Product differentiation has always been a goal of successful advertising. This is why there are a dozen brands of laundry detergent still on the market today, all with a loyal following.
- 2) Your company stands for something. Brand is still popular with consumers. People like to identify with a brand-my BMW, my Crest toothpaste, my Kraft Crystal Light. Brand building is worth it, and is a useful tool in acquiring loyal customers.
- 3) You have excellent customer service. Before the toll-free number, it was next to impossible for a consumer to reach customer service at any large company. Today, customer loyalty is bolstered by robust service-oriented websites that encourage comments and respond to them. Why buy from a brand with no accessible service?
- 4) Millions are buying your product. People want to believe that they are making the right decision to buy from you. If you can get across to consumers that they are not alone in choosing your product, you have won half the battle.
- 5) You are constantly improving to keep up with the times. Do you have a research and development program? Tell consumers about it. Talk about the new features that you have added recently. People like to feel that they are up to date, and will opt to choose the latest products with the latest features, as long as they trust the brand.
So how can you get these messages across? One of the most powerful communication methods today is the personalized email. Companies today are building customer marketing databases that include scores of fields of relevant data, such as age, income, presence of children, wealth, type of dwelling, own versus rent, length of residence, ethnicity, etc. Using that data, you can create segments and design marketing strategies for each segment.
When customers buy for the first time, encourage them to provide their email, with permission to contact them about your products and services. Now is also the time to convey these five value-driven messages. And as you learn more about each customer, you can adapt your messages to reflect their lifestyles and interests. You can begin a dialog that will quickly build into a relationship, and eventually convert these consumers into loyal customers.
Arthur Middleton Hughes, vice president of The Database Marketing Institute, has presented 28 seminars on database and email marketing. Arthur has also authored several books includingStrategic Database Marketing 4th Edition (McGraw-Hill 2012). He and Andrew Kordek, chief strategist and co-founder of Trendline Interactive, are hosting a two-day Email Strategy Study Group in Fort Lauderdale March 26-27, 2013, featuring group competition for email marketers responsible for subscriber acquisition, lifetime value, ratings and reviews, boosting their email budget, and doubling their ROI. To learn how to attend the Study Group, click here
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