|Image courtesy of Econsultancy.com Ltd
The age of digital has changed the way we do business and
the way we market and grow the business. Acquiring a new customer is only a
third of the battle, as you must then convert them and retain/grow their
loyalty to your brand, continuously repeating the cycle to grow your business.
This article is part of a trilogy in which we highlight the digital tools that
help to acquire, convert and retain/grow new customers into loyal customers. In
this article we will focus on the conversion stage of the cycle and the digital
tools that go with it.
The first and foremost thing to remember when marketing on
the internet is to ensure all your online content (website, online shop, social
media sites, etc.) is accessible to even the most un-technological mind. Not
everyone is a computer whizz, but due to the vast shift in where the majority
of markets and industries do their bidding many people are feeling they have no
other choice but to follow suit.
Therefore there are many customers out there who are new to
using the internet to find what they need, business and consumer alike. Without
being patronising of course, it is important to make everything as straight
forward and easy to locate as possible so people aren’t intimidated or
frustrated and abandon you for an easier to access competitor product or
Due to the vast amount of information about products and
services on the web, it is hard for any individual to seek out and process this
information on their own. That is why customer decision support systems were
created, to group all the information from across the web in one place. These
can come in the form of completive comparison websites such as GoCompare.com or
TravelSupermarket.com, or they can be something less about the competition and
more about the information such as the ‘Google Shopping’ tab or ‘shopping.yahoo.com’.
These sites are unbiased ways for consumers to find exactly who offers the best
deal all in one place, as the website does the leg work for them.
Having an outside body backing up your product or service is
a useful tool to have. The same way in which you wouldn’t hire a plumber who
wasn’t Corgi registered over one that was, the certification or accreditation
can wield the same power over most industries.
A great way to tip the scale on an undecided customer is to
offer them some more for their money. This can be done by offering branded
gifts if they purchase a certain amount or within a specific time frame, or
offering the services or products at a discounted rate when purchased on the
day or by a particular date.
Nothing makes a customer feel more wanted and valued than
showing them you know what they want/need. It takes time and effort to get to
know each customer but that in most cases will tip the balance and help in
gaining their loyalty for future.
Use of email marketing to gently ‘nudge’ or remind previous
enquiries that you are still there can be very useful in turning them from
enquiries into customers. Pairing this approach with personalisation and
targeting is often effective.
Having to put your card details in every single time you go
to a new website to purchase something is annoying to say the least. That is
why payment options such as Paypal and Google Checkout are becoming ever more
popular, as they save your payment details and enable secure payment to all
websites that use them.
Having an onsite search option is a must for businesses,
especially if you sell a varied range of products and services. It makes for
quick and easy access to the information the customer wants, and offering a way
to compare certain products on your site can also help in the decision making
Functionality and Presentation
If a website was brimming with useless and pointless
content, making it look messy and hard to work your way around, what would you
do? Go somewhere else of course. So make sure your website looks fresh and
sharp as first impressions count, and that you aren’t filling your blog/news
area and other pages with useless and not very well written information just to
fill the space.
It is worth hiring an experienced copywriter to help you
ensure you have enough of the right information on your site. It is also worth
hiring a good web designer who can take on board your individual needs and the
needs of your customers to produce a well set out and fully functional website
that will win over customers and ensure their return.
Ratings and Reviews
When you purchase something or look at using a company you
haven’t used before, do you find yourself looking at the type of reviews and
ratings they have received before you make your decision? I know I do. That’s
why it is important to encourage your customers to review you and have
comment/ratings sections where possible on your service and product pages of
LinkedIn company pages also have a great recommendation
option on the services/products tab of any company page, so connect with your customers
and encourage them to be honest. Even bad reviews can be good, as they can be
dealt with and turned around, and if you are seen to publically do so for
example on LinkedIn or other social media then it shows you provide good
customer service, another plus for any new customer.
Labels: acquire convert retain