You know how you spend a lot of money on things like PPC, SEO, and blogging?
My bet is that you’ve got a sizeable budget for them—and for good reason.
But what if I told you that’s not the best way to make the most money in the long-term as an eCommerce business?
That would get your attention.
Here’s the deal:
Spending money acquiring customers is important, but not nearly as important as keeping them. That’s why I want to share some tips and tricks on running promotions that keep your customers around.
But first, let me prove my case. Let’s talk about why loyalty matters.
Why Loyalty Matters
It’s easy to think that it’s best to spend your advertising budget on finding new customers.
While that’s not entirely wrong, there’s tons of research out there that shows you may be spending your money in the wrong bucket—to a degree.
But the fact is that customer retention costs so much less: six to seven times less to be exact.
So if you had to choose between one or the other on a tight budget, you probably want to consider retention as a top priority.
But this isn’t just about saving money—it’s about boosting loyalty and customer lifetime value.
So the real question is: Does focusing your marketing budget on retention help in those areas?
The answer is a resounding YES.
A recent study conducted by Visa and Bond Loyalty found that 81% of customers are willing to spend more money at loyalty-oriented businesses. They’re also 10x more likely to be “Very Satisfied”—which means more referrals, upsells, and cross-sells.
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So boosting your loyalty isn’t just a vanity metric. It’s a critical path to building a sustainable eCommerce brand.
But how do you do it effectively? That’s the hard part.
It’s also why we’re sharing a four-step guide with you here and now to help you learn everything you need to get started. Let’s get to it.
Step #1: Know Who You’re Talking To
This first step may seem simple, but it’s important. You’ll never increase customer loyalty if you don’t have an idea of who your ideal customer is or what they need.
You’ll also fail if you don’t have a way to contact them.
So this point carries to practical aspects.
First, you need to work on building your contact list, both pre- and post-purchase. This is your primary group of targets that stand to benefit from your promotions.
And second, you need to ensure that you’ve mapped out your customer journey. You need to outline and document every step of your loyalty-building path to purchase:
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The second aspect here is vital. You could be sitting on a goldmine of customer personas and value-driven offers, but without knowing where to place the promotion, you’ll always fail.
But when you can match the right contacts with the right promotions at the right time, you’ll increase customer loyalty like never before.
Step #2: Determine a Structure
Once you know your customer and what will keep them around, the next step is to design your promotion accordingly.
But let’s not overcomplicate things. Above all else, your promotion must be easy to understand and use.
So at the most basic level, you need to use everything in your arsenal to answer these three key questions:
- What actions will your customers be rewarded for?
- How do customers redeem their rewards?
- What kind of rewards can and can’t they get?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ve laid the groundwork for your customer loyalty promotion.
Then, you need to consider how to implement your promotion on your site. Thankfully, this is where things get a bit easier.
There are a variety of plugins that work with every sort of eCommerce website for everything from simple promotions to complex loyalty programs. Check out tools like Swell, Beans, WooCommerce Points and Rewards, or Sumo to find the one that works best for you.
Step #3: Focus on Building Value and Community
This is where most promotions fail in their application because in a sense, this is where the rubber meets the road.
Most customers who leave your business don’t go away because of pricing or a deficiency in your product. They leave because they think you don’t care.
That’s why value and community are so important.
But once again, it’s key to not overthink this. You can create a community with simple, heartfelt promotions.
Just look at how PuraVida approaches their own promotions. They recently celebrated the success of their lifetime donations—which highlights their community-oriented efforts:
But they also draw you in with this popup overlay promotion wheel to help add value, on top of the community they’re trying to build:
It’s the perfect one-two punch. The customer helps a cause while saving money—which means they’re much more likely to come back to purchase again.
Step #4: Advertise Your Promotion
Finally, once you’ve set up your promotion and have worked out all of the kinks, it’s time to share it with your customers.
Spread the word about your promotion (or loyalty program) through social sites, emails, and online ads.
It’s also a good idea to rely on the goodwill of your already loyal customers, as studies have shown this helps improve conversion rates, click-throughs, and your long-term customer loyalty rates.
Once you’re here, it’s up to you to track your success and find new paths forward. Don’t just rely on one-time success. Always be testing!
If you remember nothing else, remember this: Your promotions need to be adaptable if you want to increase customer loyalty.
Don’t just do what you’ve always done. Build promotions and loyalty programs based on your customers’ needs and wants.
And don’t think any old promotion will work. The easier it is to use and understand your promotions, the better your results will be.
As long as you deliver value and spread the word, you’ll see the results you want in the end—and can continue building well into the future.