Joe Chetcuti – MD of Front – on keeping customers close when they stay away
Now is a difficult time, and we’re in unchartered territory, but business isn’t stopping and it’s now more important than ever to have your voice heard and to stay relevant. It’s a daunting task but one that you shouldn’t be afraid of or shy away from.
I’ve listed eleven clear strategies and tactics for brand and marketing managers to use to help keep their customers. Each one can be implemented simply and quickly so is the perfect starting point to stimulate campaigns that will keep a brand front of mind.
- The new user journey
Map out how your customers see and hear about your brand, engage with your communications, buy and receive products or services and identify any new barriers.
Create a simple map for new and existing customers. Treat older customers (depending on frequency or purchase or usage) as new.
Use this to identify gaps in the user journey and use some or all of the following strategies to create communications that help them complete their journey.
- Be the helpful, understanding brand
Times are strange, so now is the time to communicate what you’re really good at and how you can help. Offer simple user-friendly email or online updates to your product and services. Keeping in-touch, even without trying to sell, with help with brand awareness, lead generation, web traffic and ultimately conversions.
- Old skool
With less face to face contact it’s natural to go completely hands-off and digital. However, consider postal direct mail as a way of physically keeping in-touch, delivering offers, ideas and lead generation. If your customers aren’t used to direct physical comms from you it can provide great cut-through.
- Pay it forward
If people can’t buy or use your product or service right now then offer a reward to them for booking in advance, pre-ordering or buying gift vouchers for future use. Reward them for their loyalty through a discount or some added value. Ask customers to pay your gift forward by doing something positive for the next person they interact with.
- No hassle
Customers normally expect to incur a cancellation fee or not get their money back if they buy then have to cancel an order or booking. This can stop sales completely in uncertain times. Simply remove these barriers, or at least make them more flexible, to keep orders and bookings coming through. Use this as a key competitive offer in your comms.
- “How do I?”
Your service or product delivery may have changed. Use this to make a virtue out of a necessity by building a comms campaign around “how to..” questions that customers, both potential and current, may have.
- New ways to do old things
Often marketing plans and user journeys need some sort of face to face contact to convert customers. Make it easy for them by communicating the ease that they can contact you by video or conference calling. Create user guides, FAQs and have your people ready and waiting. Make sure that this service becomes a key part of your product and brand advertising.
- Content is king
If ever there was a time to make sure your web presence was a good as it can be then now is it. Improve your SEO; audit your website, plan what needs to be updated, develop new content, bring in fresh ideas. Improve your organic search results through better content as online activity is only going to grow.
- Check your algorithms
Google display ads and social media campaigns that were running before the current crisis will need to be reviewed. Re-plan all digital campaigns. Review and reset your objectives in light of the spike in online activity. Align the ideas above to your digital marketing.
- Reach out and cut through
Everything has changed but nothing has changed. Advertising creative drives awareness, engagement and sales in the same way today that it has done for decades. It’s time for a fresh approach - plan new advertising creative.
Ask your customers what they need now. The simple act of asking can be a powerful brand builder. Use online survey tools (many are free) and advertise the fact that you’re open to suggestions and questions.