4 marketing strategies to increase customer loyalty

As a busy ecommerce marketer spinning multiple plates, it’s easy to find your marketing activities plateauing. When there’s limited time available to us, we tend to stick with the tried-and-trusted methods that we know will make some difference, rather than innovating or experimenting with new and creative ideas that may help us to reach our KPIs. However, playing safe won’t help you to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

As experts in customer loyalty and retention, we know that focusing on engaging with your existing customers – rather than striving to gain new ones – is an effective strategy that will increase customer lifetime value. In fact, 65% of your sales are likely to come from existing customers, while as much as 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

In this article, we take a look at four diverse marketing channels that ecommerce marketers are harnessing successfully and discuss how a concerted focus on customer loyalty strategies can help you improve the effectiveness for your brand. 

Email Marketing

While you might feel tempted to eye-roll at the thought of using email lists to promote your brand, don’t be too hasty to write off this form of marketing. Email campaigns are used to huge success by ecommerce brands looking to keep customers up-to-date with their order progress, make them aware of new product drops, conduct post-purchase follow ups and signpost relevant editorial content they might be producing. 

In 2019 alone, a staggering 293.6 billion emails were sent and received each day – showing the flood of email communication isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Despite this deluge of inbox traffic, email campaigns have a surprisingly good ROI; for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42

The key to driving engagement through email is to make sure that the content you send offers something your customers want. For example, you could link up a loyalty program with your email service provider to send loyalty emails. Loyalty emails have been shown to have a 2.5 x higher open rate than the industry average; this is because they are personalized to each individual and the receiver knows they will contain something of value to them inside, incentivizing them to read on. In other words, you can measure your customer loyalty strategies in a more effective way.

With your loyalty emails, adding personal touches – such as your customers’ loyalty point balance and a nod to a reward they’re close to redeeming – will make them want to return to your brand sooner rather than later, as they are more aware of the points they have waiting to be spent. 

For example, leisurée brand Lively provides the customer with a clear overview of how many points they’ve earned and a recap on the available tiers they might move up into: Total Boss and Powerhouse. There’s also a recap on the benefits the customer will gain once they reach those tiers. 

Social Media Marketing

If you’re an ecommerce brand, you probably have a presence on social media. 87% of ecommerce shoppers believe social media helps them to make a shopping decision. However, it’s easy for your message and brand to get lost amongst feeds packed with numerous eye-catching content. 

To counter this, consider using your loyalty program perks to stand out on social media. If you offer birthday gifts with your loyalty program, why not tell your fans about it on social media? Using your platforms to amplify the benefits you give to your loyalty members can help you to publicize the value of your scheme and entice people to sign up. Social media is the perfect space to serve your audience in a meaningful way that benefits them, rather than simply shouting stale marketing messages into the abyss. 

Health and beauty supplements brand Jeuneora did just this when they ran a social media campaign to promote the launch of their loyalty program. This was designed to generate excitement, build interest and drive engagement from fans. The messaging focused on how the program could best serve their customers to reward, surprise and delight them. 

Pay-Per-Click Ads

Digital ads now cost 12% more than they did only two years ago. This means businesses are paying more than before and reaching fewer consumers than they used to. It’s a crowded space, which calls for creativity when employing PPC campaigns. 

Yet, this promotional medium still holds value for brands and, in 2017, seven million advertisers spent $10.1 billion on PPC ads. This is because PPC visitors are 50% more likely to purchase something than organic visitors – meaning that the model works in terms of attracting valuable customers to your brand, rather than just generating uninterested web traffic to your site. 

However, it’s no use sending out a generic message with no targeting and hoping for the best. A way to be cost-effective with your PPC spending is to make use of  your loyalty program data to target your most valuable customers and send them targeted PPC campaigns. 

For example, Waterdrop uses Facebook PPC to advertise specifically to its loyal customers. These customers receive perks such as early access to new products and this drives excitement and makes the loyalty program members feel valued and want to return to shop.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has long been a big driver for ecommerce, with 93% of marketers saying they’ve used it. Influencers typically generate higher user engagement than content published by brands themselves. The average engagement rate with influencers is at 5.7 percent, approximately two times the two to three percent engagement rate for branded content on Instagram.

Today, there’s a marked shift towards using micro-influencers so that brands can tap into a greater sense of authenticity. This is because there’s been a growing sense of influencer fatigue among social media users. Recent studies have found only 3% of consumers are being influenced by celebrity influencers to purchase specific products. Now, customers are engaging with each other (and brands), looking for authentic engagement and forming their own communities based on shared interests and values. Smaller, more authentic accounts can garner trust in a way that huge accounts are less able to. 

Use your loyalty program to reward customers for acting as influencers for your brand through user-generated content (UGC) or referrals – as your customers are real people, this is exactly the kind of authenticity that others will be looking for. 72% said an ordinary person (as opposed to a celebrity) was the most influential endorser of a beauty product, while 71% said they trusted the word of past customers that reviewed and shared details about the fashion items they’d purchased themselves. 

Through a loyalty program, you can reward existing customers for referring others to your brand, ultimately encouraging them to become micro-influencers on your behalf.

For example, Manuka Doctor gives out 1,000 loyalty points for each referral. This encourages micro-influencers to tell others about you while you acquire new customers who trust you, avoiding the problem of influencer fatigue in the process. 

If 65% of your sales come from your existing customers and 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of these purchasers, it’s clear how crucial it is to keep these customers engaged and excited through your marketing efforts, strengthened by your loyalty program. 

Loyalty can be the key to diving deeper and reinforcing your marketing efforts, regardless of whether that’s through email, social media, PPC or influencer marketing. All it takes is to step outside of the comfort zone and approach your marketing from a slightly different angle. Following this approach will also help you to measure your customer loyalty and retention strategies more effectively via Google Analytics or various other platforms.

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About the author

Ipek

Ipek is a Product Marketing Consultant at LoyaltyLion. Before doing her Marketing masters at the Queen Mary University of London, she worked in top global advertising and marketing agencies providing creative strategies for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Ipek makes sure our readers get the best content about LoyaltyLion's features and how it can help to power your ecommerce businesses.

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