4 Ways to Use Digital Marketing to Increase Customer Lifetime Value

Research shows it’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Just consider the marketing or sales resources, proposal or RFP responses, multichannel acquisition campaigns, and more, that go into landing a new client, compared to the endless opportunities and automated efforts that drive repeat sales from a loyal customer.

While converting prospects into new customers is a crucial aspect of every business strategy, customer retention focuses on driving loyalty among your strongest supporters. According to Crazy Egg, returning customers spend 31% more than new customers. Moreover, when you release new products, existing customers are 50% more likely to try them out.

Data from eConsultancy supports this trend, finding that revenue add-to-cart rate for a repeat customer is 23.5%, versus a new shopper’s 5.29%. What’s more, returning customers drive $10.67 revenue per session, versus a new shopper’s $1.73 – an increase of 517%.

How are you keeping loyal customers coming back for more? The key to customer loyalty lies in delivering a consistent and simple multichannel customer journey. Think about a vacation you’ve taken: the better the experience, the more likely you are to plan a return trip.

The best customer experiences are easy. They may not be flashy or sexy, but they stand out for not standing out. Your customer get answers to their questions quickly, find the perfect products, get a refund without a hassle, autofill credit card information, access invoices fast – the list goes on.

Does your website provide a frictionless, intuitive user experience (UX) that helps customers find the products and information they need – and fast? Is your marketing on-brand, consistent, contextual, and providing value? We’re sharing four must-have digital strategies to deliver an easy and enjoyable shopping experience, deepen relationships, increase order frequency, and continuously drive repeat sales.

Your Website Must Make It Easy to Find Information and Products

Your customers want a simple online experience and seamless path to purchase. Make it easy for customers to find information or products by improving your website’s navigation to be clear and concise (fewer than 7 choices is optimal).

Guide product discovery through smart, intuitive search functionality. Add filters and sorting on product category pages, so visitors can effortlessly narrow their search, and use descriptive language to guide users’ interactions on the site.

Simplify your customers’ experience by proactively answering their questions and needs with robust product detail pages (PDPs). Feature helpful, at-a-glance descriptions and size guides with precise dimensions, and give customers inspiration with product recommendations, styling suggestions, and a call-to-action to view related products or the full collection.

The best elements of a product detail page are highly visual and showcase your merchandise in the best light. For example, our client Uttermost shows off products details with videos of each piece from their latest collection. Other examples include 360-degree product views, textural guides and material details, zoom and hover features, and VR “trials.” These interactive elements on your product detail pages help users engage with your products in the same manner they would in person – viewing fine details, understanding size and specifications, or getting a sense of “feel” and materials.

Add reviews and testimonials to your PDPs to generate trust and establish credibility. According to a recent Trustpilot report, nine out of 10 (89%) of consumers report reading reviews before buying products. Much like their tendency to read product reviews, customers also crowdsource additional information from their peers on social networks (see the next section!) or marketplaces to understand the pros and cons of an item they may be considering.

Drive Engagement (and FOMO) Through Social and User-Generated Content

We all get FOMO—that is, the fear of missing out—when we see others with things we want. We also see this phenomenon in e-commerce: Stackla found that 79% of shoppers say that user-generated content (UGC) significantly impacts their purchasing decisions.

User-generated content (UGC) includes videos, images, reviews, and other product content that is created and shared by consumers. We are big believers in user-generated content to get lifestyle shots of your product in real-life situations (and the hand-in-hand implied testimonials).

You can repurpose testimonials, product photography, and brand-inspired fan art across channels to create meaningful and relatable experiences for your customers. In fact, according to Jukin Media research, 31% of consumers say advertisements that feature UGC content are more memorable than traditional ads without it.

Wondering how to maximize user-generated content? Follow these tried-and-true tips:

  • Share UGC across your social platforms to build brand authenticity and product interest. For instance, using a memorable branded hashtag lets fans easily find you, much like our wholesale client, Creative Co-Op’s, branded hashtag #CreativelyYours.
  • Take it a step further by featuring positive user-generated content on your website, like on your homepage, product pages, contact or press pages, or on a dedicated landing page. Creative Co-Op’s website pulls #CreativelyYours images from Instagram to their homepage to create an eye-catching feature, show off the popularity of their products, and echo customers’ brand experience on social media.
  • Even better, all of the user-generated photos featured on Creative Co-Op’s website are shoppable, meaning that by clicking an Instagram photo on the homepage, the user will see a popover that includes clickable links to each product featured in the photo.

Leveraging user-generated content and social selling tactics is a cost-effective marketing strategy that leads to higher conversions, deeper customer loyalty, and greater brand authenticity.

Level-Up Loyalty with Personalization

Not all brand interactions are created equal. The most effective way to build meaningful and sustainable customer connections is through personalization. A great way of proving to customers that you understand their needs, interests, and preferences is to provide customized and curated suggestions.

Both your website and marketing campaigns should offer data-driven, revenue-boosting product recommendations, informed by customers’ recent browsing history, latest web activity, or past purchases, to deliver targeted content or products at the right time, while driving upsells and cross-sells.

Stay top of mind with targeted and timely email marketing and promotional messages. Leverage customer data by automating a personalized remarketing email campaign to increase order frequency and reduce customer churn. See how our client, Dennis East International’s behavior-triggered email program motivates new customers to buy and nurtures existing customers throughout the buying lifecycle, ultimately driving a 50% conversion rate.

Likewise, use paid digital ads to help you retarget users who may have abandoned your site before converting to recoup lost sales. Level up your re-engagement tactics across channels by including recommendations based on relevance, popularity, and newness to further entice them to return to your website.

Create Stickier Relationships with Website Portals

Today’s shoppers want personalized experiences that provide real value. This extends to their expectations for your website and the self-service options it offers them for easy and convenient account access.

Provide repeat customers with a portal on your website to view order history and high-level account information at-a-glance. This should include current order status and tracking updates, and offer customer service tools—FAQ pages, returns, and more—in an easy-to-use dashboard. Make it easy to update their account information, change their preferred payment method, and preferences.

Feature a dashboard that allows customers to track their loyalty program status and incentivize them to reach the next level with visual indicators and exclusive offers.

Earn Customer Loyalty and Keep It

Brand loyalty isn’t free – it’s earned. Delivering consistent and simple online experiences across channels is a surefire way to nurture long-lasting customer relationships and motivate repeat purchases. In fact, Five Channels found that brands that optimize a multichannel engagement strategy retain 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies that don’t.

Need hands-on help winning customer loyalty, and keeping it? Get in touch to talk to a digital marketing expert about optimizing your digital marketing plan to maximize customer retention, increase customer lifetime value, and fortify long-term business growth.