Of all the cost metrics in marketing, from cost-per-click to cost-per-view, one of the most expensive cost metrics is the cost of acquiring a new customer. After all, we know it takes multiple touch points (7 to 13+) to convince a prospect to take that crucial step into becoming an actual customer, and each of those touch points comes at a cost. We’ve written before about how advocacy marketing programs can help brands land new customers, but did you know advocacy marketing programs can also help retain current customers and encourage them to make repeat purchases?
Customer retention is vital to any successful brand. To grow and prosper, your customers need to purchase multiple times from you, even if your product life cycle is years (we’re looking at you mattress companies). In fact, studies have found that even a mere 5% increase in retention can increase profits anywhere from 25 – 95%.
Most of the initial marketing investment is spent to land that new customer. After that, it becomes significantly cheaper to encourage that customer to purchase a 2nd or 3rd time. That makes the true profit margin on those purchases higher, adding more to the bottom line without increasing your marketing costs.
So how can advocacy marketing help retain customers and increase profits?
How Advocacy Marketing Program Can Increase Customer Retention
1) Stay Top of Mind
Perhaps the most powerful way to retain a customer is to remind them that you exist. Even if they’ve bought your product once before, it doesn’t mean that you’re forever locked into their memory banks. People are forgetful by nature.
Even more important, just because they bought one of your brand’s products (or services), doesn’t mean that they’re even AWARE of all that you offer. Think about how many times you found yourself thinking, “Oh wow, I didn’t know Brand X did that also!”
By rolling your current customers into an advocacy marketing program, you gain their permission to reach out to them regularly. These consistent touches reinforce your brand in their mind. Further, depending on the content you’re sharing, your advocacy marketing program can also educate your customers on new products, services, or opportunities.
2) Build A Two-Way Relationship
Brand loyalty is on the decline. Both Millennials and Gen Xers are showing less brand loyalty than previous generations. This is due in part to a number of causes, including dwindling trust in brand messaging, poor brand experiences, and price sensitivity.
In addition to these factors, there’s also the fact there are simply more brands and competitors in almost every market space than there were 5 or even 15 years ago! If you’re going to keep customers around, you need to give them more than just a quality product at a good price; you need to form a two-way relationship with them. Brands can’t monologue to clients anymore. They also need to listen.
At SocialToaster, our advocacy marketing platform makes it easy for brands to create and share surveys and quizzes with their advocacy marketing program members to ask for their feedback and give their members the opportunity to share their point of view. By listening to what the surveys say (and acting on the insights), brands can show that they care about what their customers experience. By fostering a dialogue they can help strengthen these all-important client relationships.
3) Reward Brand Loyalty
There’s a reason why so many companies have loyalty programs: they work. If your clients are regularly choosing your brand over a competitor’s, even if their prices are lower, then you want to encourage that behavior! Most loyalty programs revolve around rewarding when a purchase is made; however, this represents just one possible touch-point.
With an advocacy marketing program, you can help track the activities of your advocates and reward them whenever they assist your brand. Whether they start engaging with you more on social, share blog posts, or even help you push a video viral, these are actions of a loyal customer. Show them a bit of appreciation for these non-purchase behaviors, and they’re more likely to continue showing you loyalty when it comes to the checkout line.
Most times, the cost per acquisition of a new customer exceeds the revenue of their first purchase. It’s up to those next purchases to recoup that cost per acquisition and drive a profit. An advocacy marketing program, when done right, can play a huge part in earning those repeat purchases and raising the lifetime value of a customer.