Make a customer, not a sale: 6 effective ways to build a lifelong relationship with your customers

There’s no better day to learn something new than today — that’s why RetargetApp continues to share useful insights from industry experts. In this article, Aida Kubatova (Growave) offers 6 different ways of making sure that the customer stays loyal to your business.

No matter the size of your brand, building relationships with your customers is incredibly important in order to keep your business growing and prospering. The longer you are able to keep a customer, the bigger is the value that they provide during their lifetime relationship with your brand.

There are basically two strategies to grow your online business — keep acquiring new customers and focusing on retaining existing customers. Even though data shows that retaining existing clients is a far more effective strategy for a stable increase in revenue, 44% of companies still spend most of their time and money on acquiring new customers and only 16% of companies focus on reducing churn and retaining and delighting existing customers. Winning a new customer is already hard, and also after a new customer’s first purchase, there is no guarantee that he will come back to make another one. That’s why customers who regularly buy from you are the biggest asset of your business.

A happy customer is a repeat customer. According to Wunderman, 79% of customers say that they want brands to show that they “understand and care” about them before they make a purchase. Katherine Barchetti once said “Make a customer, not a sale” and that’s probably should be every merchant’s motto. Create value for your customers to earn their loyalty. Because when customers feel a connection to a brand, their lifetime value can increase by 300%.

Obviously, establishing this kind of relationship takes time and effort, just like any other type of relationship. So how can your brand build this important connection with a customer? Let’s dive in.

6 effective ways to build a lifelong relationship with your customers:

1. Communicate with customers effectively

It’s no secret that communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, especially relationships with your online customers. Promoting your business and building a genuine and personal connection with your customers is equally important.

Regular communication with your customers keeps you fresh in their minds and lets you share the news and information about your brand. As a shop owner, you probably have an email list of your customers. You can send news and updates, friendly reminders, birthday greetings, upcoming sales information, or a monthly newsletter. According to Microsoft68% of consumers say it increases their perception of a brand when companies send them proactive customer service notifications.

Social media websites are another great way to communicate with your customers on a daily basis. Research says that 65% of people aged 18–34 believe social media is an effective channel for customer service. So make sure you post messages with high-quality content, useful information, fun reminders, and answer all of the questions, comments in a timely manner.

2. Provide excellent customer service and support

The good news is that customers remember when they’re treated well, and the bad news is that they also remember when they’re treated poorly. Either way, they usually share it with their family and friends, and this may bring either more or less great sales opportunities for your brand.

When asking consumers what impacts their level of trust with a company, offering excellent customer service was ranked number one, and 52% of consumers also said they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience, according to Dimensional Research.

So how can you make sure you provide excellent customer service? Well, the main thing is that you need to respond to every concern. When a customer asks for any help, offer a friendly and attentive service right away, and it doesn’t matter how many times purchases a customer made before. And if a long-term customer meets a problem, then red flag the call for immediate attention and action, and avoid losing someone who regularly shops your brand.

3. Provide extra for loyal customers

Some customers just won’t ever shop at your online store again, and that’s actually ok. That’s why you need to focus on the customers that are actually loyal. A great way to build customer loyalty is to remind your long-term customers that you value a relationship between them and your brand. You can do this is by offering special sales and loyalty discounts.

Another way to show value to your customers throughout the year and get personal is by acknowledging them during holidays, anniversaries and, of course, their birthdays. These type of perks encourages loyal customers to stay loyal.

Design Rewards and Loyalty Programs, as they let you offer value to your customers and motivate them to like and promote your brand, to repeat purchases and to increase their customer lifetime value. It’s not a secret that people love discounts and rewards, and they are ready to hunt for them on your website if you let them — the more rewards they gain the more they come back to buy again and again from your store.

Thank the most loyal customers you have using a system of ranks or tiers. It will let you keep the best ones engaged with your loyalty program and your brand. For example, when reaching a certain condition, customers in addition to or instead of points gets a special status that allows them to enjoy certain privileges or get access to additional features.

4. Use smart email marketing

Emails are a great help in building lifelong relationships with customers. Your brand needs to use the right strategy for email marketing, and sending typical “spammy” marketing messages to your customers’ inbox isn’t it. To make it work for customer relationship building, you need to pay attention to the quality of the content of your email and know your buyer persona.

Keep the tone friendly but professional with your customers and try to share content that is more likely to interest them. Give your emails a personal touch to show your online customers that every one of them is important to your business. For better communications create more targeted email campaigns. When sending out promotions to your existing customers make sure you handpicked them to their interests and shopping habits.

Automation tools will become your email assistants as you can set up regular messages to be sent out to different customer groups, in order to save time while staying in touch with customers. One of the most effective automated emails feature can be found in the all-in-one marketing platform Growave. Their automated emails work as a reminder to purchase things that customers liked while browsing your website, put in the wishlist but never actually bought it. Growave automatically sends a friendly reminder about these items and helps you to turn a one-time visitor into a customer

5. Gather customer feedback

Knowing what do your customers think of your business is extremely important, as it helps you build a great relationship with them. According to Microsoft, 52% of people believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers. Also, detailed and rational feedbacks make the process of growing your brand easier.

You see, understanding your customers lets you prioritize the aspects of your business, and after analyzing it gives real data on how likely your existing customers are to recommend your products to their family and friends. It’s better to collect and store all the feedback you receive and have an employee or a team that’s responsible for monitoring all customer sentiment online — on social media, reviews websites, forums and etc.

You can use your existing customer base to give you the information about how can you get repeat purchases from new customers. Also, it’s nice to find out what people love most about your brand. Use surveys and feedback forms and find out why do customers love your brand.

6. Always go the extra mile

With your competitors only a click away you need to make sure that you’re giving 120% to your customers. Try to always exceed their expectations, little things as birthday cards, nice packaging or greeting emails could be the game-changers. Make your customers feel special. No customer wants to feel like he’s just a number.

That’s where small businesses have an advantage over large companies. And as your business grows it will be more difficult to know and remember each person, so keep your database detailed and updated, including the date of the customer’s first purchase.

And lastly, always be there for your customers.Even the greatest products in the world will become useless if customers won’t receive service and support when they need it. Try to provide your customers with the most excellent service and support possible — both before and after a person made a purchase — and your customers will reward you with loyalty.

You see, simply focusing on getting more sales is not the best way to build a lifelong relationship with your customers and establish a profitable business. A sign of a truly successful business is loyal and happy customers. Be sure that you and your entire team are focused on holding the customer shopping experience as a top priority, keeping your ears open to feedback, and encouraging personal connection with customers. This will help to create a strong segment of customers that builds your brand loyalty.

And remember that the best type of customers is happy customers.

About the author: Aida Kubatova is a Content Strategy Manager at Growave. She believes in the power of eCommerce and loves online shopping herself. Every day she creates useful content to help entrepreneurs around the world learn more about the latest news and innovations from the world of Digital Marketing and eCommerce in order to grow their online business and, of course, sales.

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