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Leveraging Buyer Behavior and Automation: Keys to Retention Marketing Success

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
10 April 2013

Most marketers know that loyal customers are key to their success, but they still tend to get caught up in filling the top of the funnel instead of enticing repeat buyers to come back for more. A recent study from Silverpop partner Windsor Circle, a retention automation platform, revealed that 55 percent of ecommerce revenue was from 31 percent of customers who were repeat buyers, so this is obviously an audience that marketers should be nurturing to build long-lasting relationships.

I recently co-presented a webinar on this topic titled “10 Most Effective Retention marketing Strategies for Digital Marketers” with Windsor Circle and our joint client, evo. In this Webinar, we discussed 10 real-life examples of brands using marketing technology to keep their loyal customers coming back and how to re-engage those who might have fallen off the radar. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:

Leverage each customer’s behavioral data to drive personalized, targeted messages.

Your customers’ inboxes are constantly flooded with marketing messages, and it’s easy for them to hit a quick “delete.” Sometimes marketers get caught in a “batch and blast” mentality and forget to incorporate their buyers’ needs and wants into their messaging. By “listening” to a buyer’s behavior and using this data to send uniquely relevant content to that person, you’ll increase the likelihood that he or she will come back to make a purchase.

You don’t have to boil the ocean to see the benefits of this approach. Start by leveraging information you already have, like purchase anniversaries or the geographic area where a buyer lives, to send them meaningful messages. evo, for example, sends emails with winter gear specials to geographic regions that have just had a snowfall.

Also, consider surprising or rewarding your customers – a little “thanks” for making a purchase or sharing a piece of content or rewarding your most loyal buyers with something exclusive can go a long way.

Automation is key for maximizing conversions throughout a customer’s lifecycle.

Whether it’s through email, social or the Web, marketers need to give buyers what they want, when they want it. Automation, though not traditionally associated with retail marketing or content humanization, is an excellent way for businesses to drive more personalized experiences and give your brand the edge when it comes to standing out from the rest of the pack.

Welcome series are probably the most basic automated program to set up, and a great place to start. A friendly “hello” after signing up for your email program or a nice “thank you” after a first purchase gives consumers a positive impression of your brand. It also puts a human touch on your marketing messages, setting them apart from generic inbox clutter.

To go above and beyond, consider expanding your single welcome email into a multi-message format, with each email warming the new subscriber to a different value proposition or call to action based on his or her point of entry, interests or what the new contact needs to do to become an experienced user of your product or service.

Give your customers the content that matters to them.

Delivering content based on past purchases is another way to deliver a more personalized experience. For example, if a customer has purchased a set of plates, send them follow-up content with the matching bowls and a how-to video on caring for their new tableware.

Implementing Web tracking is another smart way to capture data you can use to enhance the customer experience. You can these use this information to automatically send relevant content to customers who have been browsing a particular section of your website, for example. Providing content, advice and tools about which specific product or solution is right for them builds credibility and keeps your brand fresh in your customers’ minds, making them more likely to come back for a purchase.

The key to personalization is actively “listening” to your customers’ needs and wants and then acting on those things. A great way to get to know a customer better is to entice them to provide product reviews. It’s a win-win for both of you – once they’ve made a purchase, use automation technology to trigger an email requesting a review. They are able to provide feedback in the form of a review that can help convert future customers. Further, these customers often make additional purchases once they are back on your site posting or reviewing their live review.

Or, offer fun contests or gifts. evo, for example, recently held a “Vote for your favorite snowboard” promotion. To the consumer, this is a fun way to engage with one of their favorite stores. For you as a marketer, it’s another behavioral data point for you to act on.

Related Resources: 
1) Blog Post: Windsor Circle on 3 Holiday Marketing Tips to Boost Revenue
2) Blog Post: Browse Abandonment Emails: How You Can Use Them to Bring Browsers Back to Buy
3) White Paper: 7 Digital Marketing Strategies Made Better through an Integrated Marketing Platform


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