Ashley Zeckman

5 Marketing Tips for Improving Customer Relationships & ROI With Better Communications

If you keep customers happy they will continue to buy

Improved communication turns one time buyers into lifelong customers.

As marketers and sales professionals there is no doubt that we are focused on obtaining new customers and increasing awareness within targeted market segments.  However, we must also consider the lifetime value of our existing customers and how marketing communications can contribute to that relationship.  Taking the time to examine what kind of communications can keep your brand top of mind with customers and inspire continued awareness for repeat sales and referrals is of enormous value.

Do you know how much your current customers are worth to your company?  In recent years research has found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%.  Armed with the knowledge that satisfied customers has a direct impact on your bottom line, there is no time like the present to begin targeting your current customers.  Here are 5 tips on better customer communications you can start using right now:

Tip #1 – Personalized Email Communication

96% of organizations believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance

 

96% of organizations believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance.


Creating a steady flow of email communication for customers is not a new concept.  However, how many email campaigns do you send out that are segmented based on purchasing habits or preferences?  Say that you have studied the data relating to your current customers and have identified approximately 5 profiles or personas.  Based on customer information find the persona that best fits each customer.  Then create an email drip campaign for each customer segment with different content based on need.  Keep in mind that the subject line, internal content, and calls to action within the email should be personalized based on customer segment.

Tip #2 – Create A Stellar FAQ Page

53% of customers who shop online more than once a month find customer service extremely or very important

 

53% of customers who shop online more than once a month find customer service extremely or very important.

 

Creating readily available and easy to find information is Customer Service 101.  It does not matter if you are B2B, B2C, technology, retail, or any other type of company; your customers will have questions.  A Frequently Asked Questions page on your website, social profiles, or other web destinations should be updated on a regular basis to include new questions or comments.  FAQ’s are also an additional opportunity to optimize content for improved visibility online.  It is important to remain consistent with your answers, provide a clean and easy to read page, and update or remove items that may no longer apply.  If you sell multiple products you may want to consider creating additional pages for each product.  Also, if you sell a product or service that requires assembly or setup you may want to provide instructional videos for your customers.

Tip #3 – Social Networking Channels = Customer Service Opportunity

40% of corporate Twitter accounts engage stakeholders on customer service issues

 

40% of corporate Twitter accounts engage stakeholders on customer service issues.

 

Last week we shared the example of JetBlue’s customer focused approach on Twitter.  While Twitter may not be a customer solution for all marketers there is an opportunity to utilize your existing social media channels as a way of providing additional customer service for your customers.  Customer service does not only include answering questions or dealing with problems it could also include: sharing useful articles or information, notifying customers of upcoming promotions, or reaching out to customers that are inactive.  Consideration must also be paid to the time of day that your customers are most likely to spend their time online.  There are tools available like Timely, Buffer or Hootsuite which enable you to schedule your Twitter communications during a particular time of day for the highest impact.

Tip #4 – Create Content Based on Customer Need

36% of B2B marketers listed producing engaging content as their biggest content marketing challenge.

 

36% of B2B marketers listed producing engaging content as their biggest content marketing challenge.

 

If planned for and organized appropriately, content creation can be executed efficiently and successfully.  A successful content strategy will focus on the needs, pain points, and triggers of your customers.  There are many ways to identify what those needs are including: customer surveys, research, and creation of customer personas based on buying habits.  Implementing a well thought out and concise customer survey can give you additional insight into what makes your customers tick.  A survey is also a great opportunity to crowdsource content from your customers for your customers.  Who better qualified to tell you what they want to read about than those who are purchasing your products or services?

Tip #5 – Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates

500 billion peer impressions are made per year

 


500 billion peer impressions are created each year.

 

It is extremely important that you tap into your existing customer base to find individuals or organizations who are willing to advocate on your behalf.  You could ask customers for: written or video testimonials, permission to use them as references, or employ them as a brand advocate to share information with their networks.  As user generated content becomes increasingly popular and credible, keeping your customers happy will continue to become even more essential.

Action Items:

Committing to providing customer support online is something that I recommend every company do no matter what industry you work in.  If you don’t keep your customers happy, someone else will.  I would like to leave you with the following questions that I hope will help you determine what tactics your company should implement to improve your customer service and communication online.

  • How would you rate your current level of online customer service?
  • Do you currently have a plan in place to improve your communication?
  • What tactics have you implemented that have worked?
  • What companies do you personally buy from that provide excellent online communication?
  • What impact has that communication had on your purchasing decisions?

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.

Comments

  1. Great article.  I think it would be great for you to review http://www.bizodo.com.  They have a free online form builder that I think would be great for this niche.  I use it to create and manage my landing pages and contact forms.  

  2. Matthew Steffen says:

    Great blog! I’m Matt from http://www.imprinsic.com and it’s good to get inspiration from fellow bloggers such as yourself. Thanks!

  3. Great points! I think tip #3 is especially relevant, as 2012 will be a great year for B2B social media, and B2B companies are realizing the power of social networking to connect with customers and build customer relationships.

  4. Does every new software need freemium model?  I recently signed up for http://www.bizodo.com and they offer 3 forms free and unlimited fields.  I just don’t get how they make money?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Email campaigns have certainly built up a taboo over the years. However if companies offer quality content then email campaigns can be a valuable investment for ROI (depending how how ROI is measured). Superb blog.

  6. This proves once again that content is king! I do feel that we will soon experience the death of email campaigns.

  7. Mark Jason says:

    You have the unique advantage of knowing your customers on a personal level. You will have an easier time turning your customers into fans. Give them more than they expect and watch as your customers begin to do the marketing for you.

  8. Kit Hamilton says:

    Nice list Ashley. When you link all of these tips together you get what some call “always on marketing”.  The ability to combine real-time analytics with a multichannel communication platform is within reach, but organizations will need to focus more on communications from a customer perspective.  If interested, I recently blogged on how companies can move from campaigns to ongoing dialogues.  http://www.pbinsight.com/blog/details/always-on-marketing-moving-from-campaigns-to-ongoing-dialogues/

  9. Anonymous says:

    In all  business customer plays main role so it is required to keep in touch with customer and for getting better profit we have to provide better quality and quantity more then what they expect…
    I like your post content… its too informative… thanks for sharing such a good post…

  10. Having a personal touch with your customers make them feel their importance. Thus,  marketers should never forget to deliver value to them. After all, customer loyalty comes with product/service satisfaction.

  11. Hi Ashley, 

    This is very interesting!  In our business, we really need to concentrate on two main areas: getting new customers and taking care of existing customers.  Sadly most of the companies today are busy to spend their time and budget focusing on the sale to new customers that they neglect their existing ones.  This shouldn’t be the case.  If we really want to have a long-term success, we need to focus both on our customer acquisition and customer retention programs.  Thanks for sharing.  

  12. Such a great blog. I really happy with you post. I think this is an informative post and it is very useful and knowledgeable, great post.

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  14. Thanks for sharing best 5 marketing tips. I really happy to read this 5 tips. It is very informative post for me. Such a great work.

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  16. It is true that online marketing offers ingenious alternatives to the brick and mortar mentality from the “if you build it they will come, era”. Now with research, creative copy and a landing page, you can test conversion rates at a fraction of the cost of a traditional offline campaign to see if it is worth leaning into.
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  20. James Austin says:

    Agree on all five marketing tips you have suggested here. Following up with your customers enables you to reinforce their purchase decisions and to start building good customer relationships. And doing so by using effective communication tools is quite important.

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