The #1 Writing Tool

Customer relationships shouldn’t end after a sale. In fact, the best relationships never end.

Key Takeaways

  • Resonating with customers and building long-term loyalty are crucial to building a successful brand.
  • With the demise of third-party customer data, brands must pivot toward establishing authentic relationships with their customers, which leads to better customer experiences and long-term loyalty.
  • Building customer loyalty involves delivering personalized experiences while respecting privacy concerns.
Constant Contact managed by Spearhead Multimedia

1. Find your audience

The best place to find your audience is to pay attention to those who visit your website. Turning visitors into customers is relationship marketing 101.

For too long, brands have relied on tracking cookies to accomplish this. But not only are cookies going away, customers don’t like them. However, they do like relevant offers based on their interests and preferences.

Consider the following insights from the Marigold Consumer Trends Index:

  • Indirect tracking tools like third-party cookies are considered “creepy” by 61% of customers. Yet, 68% say getting reminder emails about items they left in an online shopping cart is “cool.”
  • Getting ads from unknown brands based on location is again considered “creepy” by 64% of consumers. But 59% are okay with receiving messages based on their interests (like hiking, running, etc.).

In other words … stalking is creepy. Conversations are cool. So, a far fresher strategy is to make each site visit an opportunity to connect. With on-site forms and interactive experiences, brands can directly collect the information needed to determine the right product-market fit with far greater granularity than just a note about which web page was visited.

By establishing interactive experiences on your site, you can analyze consumer interests, organize them into customer segments, and ultimately deliver personalized offers based on what you know they’ll like.

Related: 10 Customer Retention Strategies For Essential Growth in 2024

13053 135800213053

2. Get to know them

Once you’ve converted unknown visitors into established contacts, you can engage them with useful and interesting content to get to know them even better. After all, your customers have all the information you need to know. All you have to do is ask. Data acquired this way is called “zero-party data,” it’s the most valuable information you can collect.

Of course, you must give them a reason to do so first. Most consumers are willing participants in a value exchange, where they trade personal data about themselves for something of value or interest.

According to the Marigold Consumer Trends Index, the “value” in the value exchange can take several forms. Saving money is a top incentive. A majority of consumers find value in discounts/coupons (91%), loyalty points/rewards (89%), early/exclusive access to offers (83%), a chance to win something (81%), unlocking content (60%) and brand community (55%).

But money isn’t the only incentive. Customers have data needs — exclusive content like previews, eBooks, guides, and other insights into your niche make the “cost of entry” participation in a survey, poll, or quiz easy to collect zero-party data.

Surveys are one of the top formats for collecting zero-party data. These can take different forms, from new customer surveys to surveys about their experience with the products, thoughts on products they’d want in the future, or even why they stopped buying your products. All of these are useful.

Just make sure the survey is executed correctly. Our global study found that 66% of consumers are more likely to complete brand surveys if they are easy to complete. In comparison, another 55% pointed to how the survey will be used as a factor (such as informing the development of new products or services).

Doing this right is essential because, once collected, zero-party data allows you to create highly personalized and dynamic content and product recommendations, coupon codes, and promotions for your most loyal (and valuable) customers.

3. Make them superfans

Relationship marketing is more than just finding and getting to know your customers. It’s also about keeping them loyal, and there are many ways to accomplish this.

Talk with your customers using the information you’ve collected in the steps above. Personalized email and text messages, delivered at the right time with actionable information, will make your customers feel heard and appreciated. Both are critical first steps to establishing customer loyalty.

According to the Marigold Consumer Trends Index, more than half (51%) of consumers still complain about receiving irrelevant content or offers. Conversely, 85% of consumers say their favorite brand treats them like individuals, and 78% say they will likely engage with a personalized offer tailored to their interests.

But that might prove difficult unless your email/messaging platform is integrated with your zero-party data collection platform. Relationship marketing requires an integrated approach, with clear connections from the first step to the last.

Of course, creating personalized messaging with data collected from users requires being sensitive to privacy concerns. Respecting these concerns opens up another opportunity for brands to develop and maintain customer loyalty. According to the Marigold Consumer Trends Index:

  • 77% of consumers cite data privacy policies as essential or critical to maintaining their loyalty, second only to product options/availability and above customer service and support.
  • Roughly half of consumers do not trust social media platforms with their data, and 68% actively share less data with social platforms over concerns about how that data is used.
  • 63% of consumers will pay more to shop with the brands they’re loyal to.
  • More than 70% of consumers cite the following as important or critical to maintaining their loyalty: customer service/support, offers/promotions, data privacy policies, product/service quality, options, and availability.

Related: How to Build Your Own Community and Create Raving Fans for Your Brand

Remember, customer loyalty is earned on multiple fronts — with every customer interaction.

In other words, you must build that loyalty through authentic and personalized communications, respect for customer privacy, and a product that meets customers’ needs.

Like any good relationship, your relationship with customers is not a transaction. It’s not a journey from point A to point B that ends with just a sale. It’s a circle … an ongoing virtuous circle because the result of good marketing is to establish a relationship. And the best relationships never end.

pa 4
Michelena Howl

Article by Michelena Howl

COO of Marigold