Customer acquisition is an exciting part of any new ecommerce venture. It’s also competitive and expensive. For new online stores, earning a customer’s trust often earns them the first sale, but if you really want your ecommerce brand to succeed, it’s customer loyalty that ultimately drives profitability.
By some estimates, you have a mere 5-20% chance of successfully selling your product to a new customer. Selling to a customer you’ve already sold to, however, instantly increases your success rate to 60-70%. When it comes to increasing your bottom line, a 5% jump in your customer retention rate can yield up to 95% more in profits.
One positive buying experience does not a long-term brand loyalist make.
Unfortunately, one positive buying experience does not a long-term brand loyalist make. The trick is to figure out how to consistently delight online shoppers and keep them coming back for more.
Looking for ways to engage loyal customers and drive repeat ecommerce sales? Two words: content marketing.
Ahead we’ll uncover some ways to magnetize your content, but first, a bit more about why the relationship between customer loyalty and content marketing is so strong.
Content Marketing and Customer Retention
If up to this point your content marketing strategy has been primarily aimed at landing new customers it’s time for a redirect.
As we’ll see, when it comes to retaining your customers, research data supports the idea that content marketing is a heavy hitter.
Here’s what it looks like by the numbers:
- 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase after reading recommendations in a blog post.
- 78 percent of survey respondents “perceive a relationship between themselves and a company using custom content”.
See, at its core content marketing is about sharing info that’s both helpful and entertaining for your key consumer. It’s also a way to information gather. When you track what your customers engage with and respond to it reveals data-driven insights about their interests. This allows you to curate your content, and product lines, around topics that are most likely to generate repeat business. Done right, it can even increase a customer’s lifetime value.
What is Customer Lifetime Value?
We can’t talk about customer loyalty and skip over customer lifetime value. Also known in the ecommerce world as CLV, it measures the revenue a particular shopper will spend at your online store over the lifetime of your relationship. It’s basically the best tangible metric to measure brand loyalty.
'Great content brings customers back after a purchase and makes your brand useful beyond just having products to buy. This helps you generate repeat purchases and increases the lifetime value of your customers'.
The lower an ecommerce merchant’s average CLV, the more likely their customer retention efforts have some holes. Conversely, a higher than average CLV suggests a brand has created a culture of return shoppers who are potentially willing to spend more.
But what does CLV have to do with content marketing?
LemonStand’s Vice President of Growth, Ross Paul, said it best, “Great content brings customers back after a purchase and makes your brand useful beyond just having products to buy. This helps you generate repeat purchases and increases the lifetime value of your customers”.
In essence, if you’re an ecommerce brand looking to focus on customer loyalty, and subsequently your CLV average, quality content is key.
CLV and Customer Loyalty Content Tips
So you want to whip up some commendable content to encourage strong shopper loyalty? Here are four ways to do so by artfully showcasing your brand online.
Stay fresh and consistent.
The more relevant your content, the more likely customers will gravitate back to your store. This means monitoring the analytics of each post to see what’s performing well. Zero in on the topics and formats that resonate most, then create more them.
The more relevant your content, the more likely customers will gravitate back to your store.
For instance, if you notice high engagement for a piece you did on dog sweaters or a company wide volunteer event, consider other topical offshoots you can speak to. Maybe you want to profile additional local nonprofits looking for help or put together a lookbook with seasonal trends for the fashionable fur friend.
Just remember that the more engaging and interactive it is the longer you’ll have a visitor’s ear. Not every post will be product-specific, but it also doesn’t have to be. The freshness of the content could inadvertently spark interest in your inventory. However, if a shopper is confronted with the same stale generic fodder every time they visit your site you brand could be classified as boring.
Finally, be sure to update your platforms regularly. Here’s where a content calendar will come in handy. Customers appreciate consistency and will be more likely to visit and track what’s trending.
Position your brand as the expert.
The benefits of aligning yourself as an industry expert are twofold.
For starters, you’re crafting content that helps meet the customer’s need for information or entertainment. They have an issue and you have the fix. To that end, the better you are at anticipating and solving potential problems, the more your online store is heralded as a trusted, authoritative resource. And who doesn’t want to pledge their loyalty, and their business, to a helpful subject matter expert?
One emerging example is the detailed list of model measurements posted to clothing sites. Now, not only can a customer see product specs, they can also see the exact inseam of the model and which size she’s wearing, giving them a better idea of potential sizing disparities.
Publish posts that accurately addresses a widely researched query and in the process you’re likely to drive quality traffic your store.
Another core goal of content marketing is to increase sales conversion rates. But first you might have to improve your SERP standing. The more information rich your web content, the higher you’re likely to appear in search results for that particular topic. Publish posts that accurately addresses a widely researched query and in the process you’re likely to drive quality traffic your store.
Don’t try to "sell" them.
Produce compelling content and you all but guarantee increased brand loyalty. But let us be clear here, there’s a big difference between creative, helpful content and a sales pitch. Customers are tone deaf to most of thousands of advertisements they come into contact with each day. Don’t let yours be one of them.
Try and gain a reputation for sharing, not selling
Instead, try and gain a reputation for sharing, not selling. What online shoppers are really looking for is value.
Whether your content takes the form of quizzes, Instagram stories, a video series, or long-form guides, the aim is to regale them with fun and exciting content that’s pertinent to their interests. Even if they never make a single purchase, the more satisfied they are when they leave your site, the stronger the relationship will be.
Valuable content also lays the groundwork for future purchases and positions you as a trusted acquaintance, not a money hungry business. When crafting your marketing messages, approach them like you would any other meaningful conversation. Remember that your customers can buy product from anywhere. What you’re offering is connection and understanding from a brand who’s been in their shoes.
These are the precursors to long-term loyalty.
Leverage different channels.
Finally, your ecommerce platform should appeal to buyers at every stage. This means gently reminding customers you’ve haven’t heard from in a while that they’re still important to you. Just be sure to put an ABP across a variety of different channels and social media platforms.
If you’re not sure where or what to post, review this short guide from Azahar Media.
Top 3 Most Effective Types of Content B2B Marketers Use for Content Marketing Purposes:
- Ebooks/White Papers [50%]
- Case Studies [47%]
- Social Media Posts – excluding videos (e.g., tweets, pins) [41%]
Top 3 Most Effective Types of Content B2C Marketers Use for Content Marketing Purposes:
- Social Media Posts – excluding videos (e.g., tweets, pins) [71%]
- Videos (pre-produced) [45%]
- Illustrations/Photos [29%]
A balanced mix of content will appeal to the right customers at the right access points.
Ultimately, long-term growth and long-term customer loyalty are one in the same. As you shore up your 2019 sales strategy, remember that it’s great content that takes online retailers from no name to household name. The more engaged shoppers feel, the more the content will keep pulling them back and priming them for future marketing offers.
What kind of content do you create for your store? Let us know in the comments!