Many businesses spend the majority of their marketing resources looking for new sales opportunities by generating new leads. While finding new leads is an important part of any marketing strategy, existing customers shouldn’t be overlooked. Your existing customers will already be familiar with your brand, which means that they will be easier to convert than new leads. If you’re not focusing on customer marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, you could be missing out on a significant number of sales opportunities.
What Is Customer Marketing?
Customer marketing at its core is a simple concept — it is a strategy that focuses on marketing to existing customers. The main difference between marketing to new prospects and marketing to existing customers is that your existing customers already know who you are and they already have your trust, making engagement easier.
You are already familiar with who your existing customers are, which means you’ll be able to target your marketing efforts much more effectively. This will allow you to increase their trust in your organization and to identify new opportunities to increase your revenue and to meet their needs, thereby building on your existing relationship and developing it into a long-term relationship.
The Importance Of A Customer Marketing Strategy
There’s a common misconception that many businesses share about what it takes to drive success: more customers equals more money. On the surface, it’s difficult to argue with this logic, however, it is repeat business that will drive revenue, not only first-time sales. According to Marketing Metrics: The Definite Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance, the probability of closing another sale with an existing customer is around 60 to 70 percent, whereas the chances of closing a sale with a new prospect are only 5 to 20 percent. This also means that marketing to existing customers is more cost-effective.
Finding new prospects is vital to your business, but your existing customers arguably play a much more important role in the long-term growth of your business, since the majority of your revenue will likely come from your current customers.
Using Customer Marketing To Achieve Business Goals
Customer marketing can help increase revenue and is a cost-effective way to do so. Over time it can also help you achieve specific business goals. Marketing to your existing customers isn’t just about making more money. A good customer marketing strategy can achieve so much more, such as improving the customer experience, building customer relationships and evangelists, attracting higher quality leads, improving your organization’s reputation, and much more.
Increase Sales Opportunities
Continuing to engage with existing customers can help reveal new sales opportunities. Such opportunities can be discovered via direct engagement as well as through analytics. For example, if you track a customer’s behavior, such as what kinds of emails they’re opening, what kind of actions they take on your site, what types of content they’re consuming, and what their purchase history is, you may be able to pinpoint new opportunities for sales. Direct interaction with your customers can provide you with information revealing new or additional needs that you could fulfill as well.
In addition to tracking and engaging with existing customers in order to find new sales opportunities, customer marketing should also focus on discovering upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Not only can these opportunities be easier to identify, but they can also greatly enhance the customer experience as well.
Find Upselling Opportunities
Upselling is a tactic used to encourage a customer to purchase a more expensive product or service, such as a premium version or upgraded version of that product or service. Upselling is generally done directly prior to the purchase. For example, if you’re selling a software application to a customer, you can upsell them by letting them know that there is a version of that software available that comes with more features — or maybe that the application they’re purchasing is available packaged together with other applications for a better overall deal.
Upselling opportunities are typically present at the point of purchase since you can’t usually get a customer to spend more after they’ve already bought your product or service. However, if you track a customer’s purchase behavior and you notice that they routinely purchase the same product or service over time, then this could present an upselling opportunity as well. For example, if your customer is paying for a SaaS subscription, you could attempt to upsell them before their next payment is due or right before their subscription runs out.
Find Cross-Selling Opportunities
Cross-selling is a tactic in which a customer is encouraged to purchase a product or service that is in some way relevant to their previous purchase.
Cross-selling opportunities can present themselves at the point of purchase as well as following the purchase. Not only can cross-selling be an excellent way to increase revenue, but it can also provide the opportunity to inform customers about products and services that they may not have realized you offered. Cross-selling can also help to educate customers about products or services that they didn’t know they needed or that they didn’t realize would supplement their original purchase.
Cross-selling does sometimes require more of a long-term strategy. While you can recommend relevant products and services at the point of sale, in some cases customers may need to be better informed about why these additional products or services are relevant to them. An email drip campaign can be one of the most effective marketing strategies when it comes to cross-selling.
Increase Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is not something that begins with awareness and then just ends with a sale. Keeping the customer happy following their initial purchase is what drives them to make additional purchases. Via customer marketing, you can keep your customers happy as well as identify more effective ways to increase customer satisfaction across the board. By improving customer satisfaction, you’ll also directly impact your customer retention and your organization’s reputation.
Improve Customer Retention
The Harvard Business Review estimated that increasing your customer retention by 5 percent can increase profits by anywhere from 25 to 95 percent. They also estimated that it costs anywhere from 5 to 25 times as much to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. It’s no wonder that keeping existing customers is a priority and why customer satisfaction is so important.
Generate More Positive Customer Reviews
A one-time customer may not feel obliged to leave a review of your product, service, or company, even if they’re happy with their purchase. The more you work to keep your existing customers happy and engaged, the more likely they are to leave a positive review. This is especially true if they end up making an additional purchase.
Repeat customers may even be willing to provide a testimonial for your website. If you manage to build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, you can even request that they leave public feedback — and they’ll generally be more than happy to do so. Positive reviews of any kind, whether on Google, social media, or third-party review sites, will improve your brand’s reputation.
Improve Lead Generation
Although customer retention does directly influence revenue generation in that existing customers are more likely to make additional purchases, your customers can also help influence revenue generation indirectly by improving your ability to find new and better quality leads. Though happy customers will often leave positive reviews that can influence both B2C and B2B prospects, your best customers can also refer new customers directly by becoming brand advocates on behalf of your organization.
Generate Leads Through Brand Advocacy
Brand advocates, or brand evangelists as they’re sometimes referred to as, are existing customers who are so happy with your products and/or services that they willingly promote your organization and products/services to others on your behalf. They are marketing your brand for you. For example, a client may have a business partner that is looking for a service or product that you offer. If you have a good relationship with that client, they may recommend your service or product to that business partner and send a new prospect your way.
Brand advocates may just promote your company by spreading positive awareness of your organization and its services or products on social media. For example, by mentioning how happy they are with your services in a social media post or by routinely sharing content on your website on their own social pages or websites.
Generate Leads Through A Customer Referral Program
Although improving customer satisfaction is an effective way to increase brand advocacy, customer marketing can help improve lead generation in other ways as well. For example, many companies set up customer referral programs to encourage customers to bring in new leads on their behalf. This is done by implementing a reward system that existing customers can take advantage of. Not only can a customer referral program help bring in more prospects, but it can also improve customer engagement as well as customer satisfaction as a result of the rewards that you offer.
The Keys To A Successful Customer Marketing Strategy
The benefits of customer marketing cannot be disputed; however, the success of your customer marketing efforts depends on your customer marketing strategy. Haphazard customer marketing efforts may not drive the results that you’re looking for. Consider some of these keys to creating a successful customer marketing strategy:
Provide An Exceptional Customer Experience
Customer satisfaction is arguably the most important element of a customer marketing strategy. The moment that a customer makes a purchase, you should begin working to improve their customer satisfaction in every possible way. There are three areas to focus on that ensures a positive customer experience and strengthens customer satisfaction:
Create A Helpful Onboarding Experience
First impressions are important, so make an effort to successfully onboard new customers. Make sure that your new customers don’t have trouble implementing the product or service that they’ve purchased and that they know how to get the most out of it.
An effective onboarding plan requires that you provide the appropriate instructions and guidance on how to use the product or service that they’ve purchased. Consider engaging in an email campaign that provides content that is not only relevant to their purchase but that provides useful information as well. Reach out to find out if the adoption of your product or service has been successful and whether they need assistance with anything.
By providing a helpful onboarding experience, your new customers will be happier with the product or service that they purchased. They will also be happier with the customer experience as a result of your efforts, which will build brand trust and loyalty. Finally, an effective onboarding plan can help you identify and reveal potential upselling and cross-selling opportunities to your customers. For example, as they learn how to use a product more effectively, they may be more willing to invest in a premium version or in a related product that can supplement their original purchase.
Establish High Standards For Customer Service
Being available is key to good customer service. If you’re available for questions and concerns prior to purchase but are difficult to reach following the purchase, it won’t leave a good impression on your customers. Poor customer service will deter many customers from doing business with you again and certainly won’t instill any sort of loyalty for your organization.
Your customers should be a priority for your customer service representatives, especially since they present a better opportunity for sales than any new prospects do. Make it easy for your customers to contact someone within your organization, whether by email, online chat, or phone. Be sure that they not only have options for contacting you but that they’ll reach someone (or someone reaches them) quickly to solve whatever issues they might have with your product or service. Speaking to an actual human that knows them will go a long way towards building a long-lasting relationship as well.
Customize The Customer Experience
Customers don’t respond to your efforts to build a relationship if it doesn’t seem like you know them very well. Your communication with your customers, whether it’s one-on-one or via email, requires a level of personalization. No customer is the same, which means you need to customize their customer experience. For example, make sure that you segment your customer list so that when you send out email marketing campaigns, you are ensuring that you will only be emailing content to your customers that is actually relevant to their needs.
You should also track communications, behaviors, and purchases so that you can address their specific needs. This kind of personalized experience helps customers feel like you care about their experience and that you’re authentic in your efforts.
Track Customer Satisfaction
Improving customer satisfaction and providing a good customer experience will be a challenge if you don’t know how customers feel about you. A big part of this is determining whether or not they are happy customers.
Identify Happy Customers
Happy customers are the easiest customers to keep happy and are the most likely to make additional purchases. It isn’t too hard to identify who your happy customers are. There are many ways that you can do this. If they regularly purchase products and services, they’re probably happy with your company. You can also use analytics to track direct communications with your company as well as social mentions to get a grasp of exactly how happy they are with their customer experience. You can also ask them directly about their customer satisfaction through a customer survey.
By making a special effort to engage with happy customers, you will be able to identify more upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Happy customers are also more likely to become brand advocates and will be more willing to participate in customer referral programs. Nurturing happy customers is the best way to increase your overall revenue.
Identify Unhappy Customers
Many businesses will focus their customer marketing efforts on customers that they know to be happy, dismissing unhappy customers as a lost cause. This, however, can be a big mistake. Finding out who your unhappy customers are can be very valuable to your ability to market to existing customers. Using the same methods to find out who your happy customers are, identifying unhappy customers can help you save relationships from souring. There’s no reason you can’t turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer if you put in the effort.
Even if the customer is too dissatisfied with their customer experience to salvage the relationship, you can still learn a lot from their experience. Find out why they are unhappy and you can prevent other customers from experiencing the same poor experience in the future. For example, maybe they were unhappy with the product they purchased because they didn’t know how to use it effectively. This tells you that you need to improve your onboarding experience.
Engage With Customers
You might have a great onboarding program to ensure that you kickstart your customer relationship with a good impression. You might even engage with customers whenever sales opportunities present themselves. Engagement, however, shouldn’t be limited only to these events. Building customer relationships is a long-term strategy. This means that you should engage regularly between sales opportunities and purchases as well.
Show You Care
Regular engagement can show your customers that you care more about just making a sale. Sending personal emails checking in on customers to see whether they are happy with your products and services can be very effective in building loyalty. Even sending an email wishing a happy holiday or a happy birthday to your customers adds a personal touch that won’t go unnoticed. This kind of effort to stay in touch will also benefit you once you do find new sales opportunities. Your customers will be more likely to listen and to take your offer seriously when those opportunities come up as a result of the effort you put into nurturing your relationship.
Stay At The Top Of Mind
One of the dangers of not continuing to engage with your customers is that they will simply forget about you. If they forget about you, they are less likely to make another purchase from you. Even worse, they won’t hesitate to try out a product or service offered by a competitor. Regular engagement will help keep your company at the top of the minds of your customers and help to strengthen brand loyalty.
Give Your Customers A Voice
Engagement isn’t a one-way street. While you should certainly make an effort to nurture existing customers with relevant content and to address sales opportunities when they come up, give them a voice as well. Request feedback privately as well as publicly through surveys and online reviews. You may even want to ask your best customers to either write or film customer tutorials for you that you can use on your website. Not only is this beneficial to your ability to generate new leads, but your customers will feel privileged to have been asked to participate, strengthening your relationship as well as improving brand loyalty.
Don’t Ignore Your Customers – Create A Customer Marketing Plan Today
Attracting and converting new prospects is important, but so is nurturing existing customers. Your existing customers are responsible for the majority of your revenue now and in the future. By implementing a customer marketing strategy, you will be able to identify new sales opportunities, build brand loyalty, and attract higher quality prospects through the relationships you build with your existing customers.