Creating loyal customers

September 19, 2014
Comments Off on Creating loyal customers

By Thijs de Valk

Loyal customers peak

Today I thought I’d focus on loyal customers and returning visitors, rather than raking in those new visitors and customers. I feel this is a part of the website and online shop optimization that is easily overlooked or even forgotten. Obviously, this is a complete shame, because it’s actually a lot harder to convince people to buy your products for the first time.

However, this brings along a whole new problem; how do you get the people who have already bought something from you to buy something again? In other words, how do you create loyal customers? This is what I’ll try to explain in this post, with some nice examples we actually employ right here, at Yoast.

Be alive and kicking

The first thing you have to do to make sure people will keep buying your products, even after they already bought one (or a few) is to let them know you’re still alive. The best and maybe only way to do this is to be active. Most webshops will have a lot going on at any time, so all they have to do is to show what they’re doing. A very easy way to do this is by simply writing blogposts. Did you get a new product? Let your audience know with a blogpost. Did some features change? Let your audience know! It can really be about anything you’re currently busy with.

The best thing is, these blogposts will also allow you to become more active on other platforms than your website. You can share your blogpost on social media, of which Michiel has explained the importance just last week. And you can also feature that blogpost in your weekly newsletter. So in one easy go, not just your website, but also your social media and your newsletter have become more active.

And now I hear you asking; sure, but why would I? What’s so great about being more active? Well, the great thing is, you’ll be in the forefront of people’s mind! And this will generate traffic and sales from the audience you love most: your loyal customers. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at what a new product, our ebook, did with our traffic and our sales:

Sales and traffic from social media, our newsletter and blogpost

So we launched a new product, wrote a blogpost, tweeted about it, put it on Facebook, and sent a newsletter. And this is what happened. Oh, and see that “slight” increase (3000-4000 visitors a day) in traffic that’s been occurring since half August? That’s all due to more posts. More activity, more traffic.

And just in case you thought this was a fluke, or we just happened to have a product that resonated like mad with our audience, check out what happened after our Google Analytics by Yoast 5.0 update:

Traffic from loyal customers after social media and newsletter exposure

Sales and traffic from the Google Analytics by Yoast plugin

This is all the traffic and sales coming directly from within our Google Analytics by Yoast plugin, in the form of banners, text links, etc. Now you can guess when we pushed that update. By the way, the rest of the sales and traffic isn’t actually 0, it just looks that way because of the amount of traffic after the update 😉

Have great support

But back to your loyal customers and how to generate more of them. One very important people love the brands they love is the customer experience. If you want people to keep coming back, make sure you give them the support they deserve. And the reason is simple: happy customers are loyal customers.

And loyalty translates into more revenue for your business, with 7 out of 10 Americans willing to spend about 13% more, if they believe your customer service is top notch. Of course, for Dutch people this is about half that, but that’s because we’re cheap!

So what constitutes top notch customer service? Well, our friends at HelpScout mentioned, already 2 years ago (!), that answering within 24 hours should be the standard for every business. This is just email support, as you might’ve noticed. However, that doesn’t mean speed is everything. You do have to take the amount of time needed to decently answer each ticket. You should optimize the process to save yourself time. HelpScout is an awesome tool for something like that, by the way.

Use reciprocity

A third way to create (more) loyal customers is reciprocity. First of all, let me explain what reciprocity actually is. Simply put, reciprocity means you repay kind actions with kind actions (obviously the word ‘kind’ can be replaced by a less positive word). It’s a construct from the social psychology that actually plays a big role in all of our daily lives.

By using reciprocity, you’ll make your loyal customers feel special. And apart from that, they actually do get something out of it. They’ll feel valued for being your customer. At Yoast we’ve been doing this by giving our newsletter subscribers or Facebook followers specials deals or discounts. That peak in the first screenshot is also due to our newsletter in which we gave our subscribers a very lucrative discount code for the ebook.

You can do this even more targeted if you have a webshop where people have to create accounts. You can specifically target the people that have bought multiple items in the past 2 weeks, for instance. Or you can target especially those people that haven’t bought an item in a while, trying to get them active within your company again. My first response was actually to go for the second one, but that’s exactly the same mistake I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Loyal customers are just way more important, and way more lucrative. In fact, on average, 80% of your future profit will come from just 20% of your customers.

Start valuing your loyal customers!

So you shouldn’t just be thinking of how you can get your next visitors and customers. You should also think about how you can make your current customers more loyal and love your products even more. And you’ll probably even see they’ll generate a lot of new traffic and customers all by themselves.

Now doesn’t that sound awesome? And I know there are a lot more options to value your loyal customers, so lets discuss them in the comments!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Source:: SEO