All businesses need customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty creates an organic lead generation that you will ultimately benefit from. This is why it is so important to invest in your customers every step of the way.
Today we’re going to be looking at content specifically. How can we use content to effectively build customer loyalty?
We will start with considering what customer loyalty is and what it entails. Then we’re going to look at three nationwide bookstores that I have signed on to and compare their welcome, nurture and sales techniques.
We’ll also look at their websites and see what content jumps out and does a little dance for their customers.
What’s a great blog without some tips for you to implement? Expect some top tips too!
What is customer loyalty?
Existing customers are 50% more likely to try a new product of yours as well as spend 31% more than new customers?
Customer loyalty is nurtured with consistent positive experience, service based satisfaction and perceived value.
If you make a point of going above and beyond for your customers they will respond in an emotionally positive way and come back to your business for more great customer experience.
Happy customers tell epic stories to their network. As advocates they will bring you more leads at the most aware level than your marketing strategies can.
Think about yourself as an individual. What or who are you loyal to?
- Your family/friends
- Local businesses
- Your job
- A favourite holiday destination
- Your car make
- Town/city you live in
Why are you loyal to them? What makes you want to continue to engage?
Positive emotional experiences and satisfaction from those experiences.
Can you replicate this for your business?
How to build customer loyalty with content?
We want to create an equal playing field for analysis on how businesses engage with their prospective customers.
I chose three largely successful chain bookstores: Waterstones, WHSmith and Blackwells. Then I signed up and followed with interest on what landed in my inbox.
We’re going to look at each one’s email marketing strategy here.
You can sign up for rewards and opt in for emails. These are the emails that followed this action:
A thank you and activation email. This reminds you of what you will get from being part of the Waterstone’s Plus club and requires action. The email was received immediately.
The next email was a lovely little customer loyalty builder. A heartfelt welcome and packed full of benefits for the member. This email came through as soon as the activation was complete.
A nurture email came next that offered all the latest books to tantalise your imagination. This email wasn’t sales focused and provided heaps of value. The email landed 3 days after the welcome email.
Customer loyalty summary
Waterstones build customer loyalty through careful nurturing.
They often use benefit focused copy to generate organic relationships with their customers.
From my experience of their email marketing - it works! I love how they add so much value and create such a welcoming environment with their copy.
When you visit the WHSmith website a pop up invites you to sign up along with some top recommendations and a 10% discount offer.
Once you’ve signed up you get a welcome email and a lovely little discount. This is such a nice touch. They value your custom and reward your interest with a discount.
Customer loyalty has started growing with the welcome discount and 3 days later you get a reminder from WHSmith of how easy it is to buy from them.
The third email dropped 2 days later which was a healthy sales push with a great offer. £5 off plus free delivery!
This email arrived a further 2 days later and whilst it still pushed the £5 offer it also gave some great content about how to organise yourself at home and the top office supplies available.
WHSmith gets a little pushy and sends another email reminding you of what books are out and trending books. Just after the £5 off reminder it’s a clever sales tactic but it’s a little too much sales and not enough nurture.
Customer loyalty summary
WHSmith are ALL about the sales. They are a massive company so I’m sure their offers attract customer loyalty.
However they aren’t building customer loyalty with content and in my opinion they are wasting a really fantastic opportunity.
If they switched their approach around and did more nurture than sales it would be a big hit!
The Blackwell’s website invites you to sign up for books and offers. Simple, elegant and focused.
The first email is a welcome email. It highlights benefits and invites you into the Blackwell's family. A nice strong start to trigger customer loyalty.
The next email is value packed! It arrives 3 days later and tells you all about the history of burning books. Interesting, educational and a big tick for customers.
5 days after their last email, Blackwell's sent out another fantastic nurture email. Sharing what signed books they have available and books that have won recent awards.
Customer loyalty summary
Blackwell's wins out for me.
They aren’t pushy, they’re all nurture based and they are sharing value in every email.
Customer loyalty must be organic for Blackwell's with such a relationship focused strategy.
Website content for customer loyalty
Showing your customers that they are your priority should be at the forefront of all your content including your website!
We’ve had a look at our three bookstores and how they establish a connection with their prospects but what about their websites? Do their websites show immediate benefit and positive experiences?
Offering value from the off with their:
- ‘Just in’ section shouting about books that have just been released
- Recommendations on reading
- Reviewed books
- Best sellers
- Coming soon
They also have a ‘win’ tab which has loads of competitions which will instantly get book lovers engaging!
I love how their categories are laid out for easy navigation and the fact that they make use of a blog for ongoing nurture.
Visiting this site offers multiple positive experiences because it caters to their audience, offers recommendations and shares latest news/reviews.
Currently WHSmith has a banner offering £5 off if you spend £30. That’s over 15% of saving! A great instant value add.
They then advertise the Richard and Judy book club which is bound to get prospects signing up.
As well as ‘trending books’ and relevant offers eg: ‘back to school’.
The WHSmith website is a little corporate and not as welcoming or accessible as Waterstones but they do have some great loyalty hooks happening!
They start strong with a loud offer of ‘free UK delivery’ - everyone loves free delivery!
As far as building customer loyalty goes, they do section their website into:
- Bookseller recommends
- Recommended reading
- Hot off the press
All of which will add real benefit to someone looking for a new book to sink their teeth into.
Not much on the nurture front but overall some great content to keep prospects engaged in what they offer and how to find what they are looking for.
Top tips for building customer loyalty
We want you to succeed by being authentic and creating genuinely positive experiences for your customers.
Here are our top tips:
1. Engage via social media
72% of customers say that social media helps them engage with brands!
2. Encourage referrals
Offer your customers a gift for a referral, did anyone say £5 off?
3. Don’t forget about your customers
Just because they’ve purchased something doesn’t make them any less important, in fact it makes them more important so keep them up to date.
4. Extra perks for your most loyal customers
Reward their advocacy. Offer them first dibs on new stuff or a free call for strategy.
5. Fantastic customer service
Whether they are brand new customers or have been with you for years. Offer the best customer service to everyone!
6. Invest time in getting to know them
Track their behaviour, listen to their feedback and utilise this to offer them what they really want. Show them you truly value their business.
7. Use your data for customer loyalty
Data can really help us with great insight into our customers. Measure their interactions so you know how best to engage and grow that relationship.
8. Optimise your email marketing
Follow up is critical. Make sure you are welcoming your customers and helping them get the very best out of your service. Continually add value to them.
Customer loyalty will:
- Save you money
- Make you more money
- Build relationships with customers
- Get you more organic leads
By utilising strategic content you can build customer loyalty just like Blackwells has done so effectively.
We are experts in strategy, buyer psychology and content creation. We want to get your business interacting with your customers on a much more personal level.
Build your content strategy to increase customer loyalty and do it with our help.
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