It’s one thing for someone to buy a product from you – but how do you get a casual customer to turn into a brand advocate who’ll continue to buy from you and help you generate new customers through referrals?
While a run-of-the-mill customer might purchase a product from your brand when they come across a good promotion, and then rarely think of your company again, a brand advocate is dedicated to your brand – they’ll buy your products repeatedly without any promotional discounts, and will share their positive feedback on your products across social media and to their friends and family. That’s one of the best forms of advertising for your brand by far: 92% of customers trust word-of-mouth recommendations when considering which products to purchase.
As more and more customers are installing ad blockers, and the cost of digital advertising is constantly rising, it’s more important than ever to focus on prioritizing this important marketing channel. By focusing on delivering a best-in-class customer experience through every step of the way, you can convert more of your customers into advocates – helping you drive up lifetime customer revenue, lower your customer acquisition costs, and build visibility for your brand.
Let’s take a look at a few key strategies for getting your customers to shout your brand’s praises from the rooftops.
Create great content
It’s no longer enough to have an elegant website and mobile app to showcase your products – what’s going to keep your customers there after they’ve had a look at your product pages?
In order to build “stickiness” for your brand, it’s just as important to focus on content marketing and social media, creating resources that are educational, engaging, and useful to the customer. Your content marketing strategy should include clear messaging aimed at one or more buyer personas – a fictional individual who is characteristic of your target audience – using their preferred channels to reach them.
For instance, a sneaker brand that’s popular with Gen Z might build a content marketing strategy that’s heavily focused on Instagram and TikTok, rather than Facebook, which skews older. They might encourage their fans to submit photos of how they style their shoes with the rest of their outfit, and host a competition for the best looks. This type of social media strategy will help you to actively engage your existing customers, while raising your brand’s visibility among their social followers as well – helping you to gain new potential customers without spending on advertising.
The types of content you incorporate will depend on your brand and its customers: Beyond social content, you might develop blog content, YouTube videos, ebooks, podcasts, and even an interactive game. Whatever you build, make sure that it places your customer at its center – not the product.
Provide world-class customer support
A great content marketing strategy may help you attract and engage customers initially, but the glow will wear off quickly if your brand isn’t there for customers when they decide to actually make a purchase.
Provide customers with an intuitive shopping experience that includes personalized recommendations based on past purchases and stored data like favorite sizes and products, with a simple checkout process.
If customers have questions, you can use chatbots to help them find the answers quickly, providing links to the most frequent questions and enabling customers to search for answers, using natural language processing (NLP) to find the most relevant content in your help center. If the chatbot can’t answer the question, it should be able to immediately route them to the right customer support agent to provide a response. By scaling your customer support with chatbots, you’ll be able to reduce reliance on live agents to answer common questions, ensuring that they’re available immediately to support customers with more specialized or difficult requests.
Going the extra mile to ensure that customers have questions answered quickly through live chat, rather than spending days waiting for an email response, will build positive feelings towards your brand – ensuring that customers will be ready to recommend you to their friends and family.
Don’t forget about the post-purchase experience
The importance of a great customer experience doesn’t stop once you’ve shipped the product.
Once the customer has completed a transaction, it’s important to provide clear, real-time updates about their product status and when the customer will receive their package – using each customer’s preferred communication channels (in-app, SMS, email). The package should arrive on time and undamaged – if it doesn’t, make sure that you take steps to make things right with the customer immediately.
It’s also important to think about the returns experience. In ecommerce, up to 40% of customer purchases end in returns, so customers need to be able to easily self-manage their return requests without waiting in a customer support queue.
By using an automated returns solution like Loop, customers can initiate their own returns, and receive personalized options for item exchanges, based on your store’s real-time inventory and the customer’s reason for processing a return. They can effortlessly swap their item for a replacement without needing to return to their shopping cart, and you can even incentivize them by offering “bonus credit” that they can put towards any item in your store.
By encouraging customers to exchange, rather than request a refund, you can retain more revenue from the transaction – and encourage customers to stick around for the long term and become loyal brand advocates.
Delivering a great experience for your customers through engaging content, best-in-class support, and a seamless returns process will encourage your customers to become invested in your brand and share their recommendations with their social networks – helping you effortlessly acquire new customers through word-of-mouth marketing.
Want to learn how Loop can help you build brand advocates with better returns? Try out a demo.