Trouble is, a 2016 small business survey revealed that while 72% of small businesses plan to allocate the majority of their marketing budget to customer acquisition, only 28% plan to allocate the majority to customer retention.
To help marketers refocus their retention plans -- especially those in the ecommerce industry -- I've put together six creative ways to keep your loyal customers coming back. Check them out below.
6 Little Ways to Reward Your Customers This Holiday Season
1) Offer a compelling discount.
By a compelling discount, I don’t simply mean “20% off your next order.” Instead, try a discount that will inspire your customer to continue shopping with you.
What does that look like? It depends. And there are a couple things to consider:
Focus on the value your product or service provides customers, not just the price you discount it by. In other words, position yourself in a way where buying your product is a complete no-brainer.
Choose your words carefully. According to research from Psychology Today, a “Get $ Off” promotion emphasizes achieving a gain, while the "Save $" wording emphasizes avoiding a loss -- and customers recognize that difference.
For example, check out how T-Mobile positioned this holiday deal on the Samsung Gear S2:
2) Get personal.
Great customer service is about more than just solving your customer’s issue. Try going above and beyond by creating something awesome to remind your customers why they love your business.
For example, you might send out a personalized holiday card or thank you note to their home address. Even though we’re in a digital word, it means a lot to receive something handwritten, and capitalizing on the holiday spirit in this way can build a positive brand association.
Not only do the folks at Buffer engage their audience on social, but they also go out of their way to send handwritten cards, stickers, and t-shirts to their clients:
Their strategy works well because with every exchange, they are encouraging customers to become brand ambassadors.
3) Tap into referrals that reward.
Referrals are a great way to get customers to sell your products for you. It’s a simple evolution of word-of-mouth marketing, as customers usually refer friends or colleagues.
For example, when shopping with The Clymb, you are gently reminded to refer a friend in the website header:
Notice how it provides a clear call-to-action along with an incentive -- $10 for your loyal customer and $10 for a future one -- encouraging visitors to take action even before they start shopping.
4) Use premium packaging.
Anyone that's spent any amount of time wresting with a roll of wrapping paper and tape dispenser knows the value of a pretty package. In fact, according to a 2015 Dotcom Distribution packaging study, 49% of online shoppers said that branded packaging made them more excited about receiving or opening an item, while 44% admitted that packaging reinforces that a product is worth its cost.
The lesson? First impressions make a huge difference in our fast-paced lives, so by using premium packaging you allow your product to stand out against others. Take Pad & Quill, for example. This tech accessories company packages its iPhone and iPad cases in paper with friendly messages printed on it. It even uses an authentic-looking Roman seal to give a more hand-wrapped feel.
5) Turn the small print into a feature.
Refund and exchange policies are often part of the small print on your website. During the holiday season, you have an opportunity to make them a feature. After all, these policies are in place to increase trust and promote sales, right? Make them known.
When buying gifts, customers prefer a return policy that ensures that if the recipient doesn’t like it, they can easily return it. If you can offer this, you have a better shot at increasing sales, while keeping your customers happy.
Nordstrom does a great job of displaying all of its holiday shopping, shipping, and return perks right on the homepage, giving potential and existing customers peace of mind during one of the more stressful times of the year:
6) Create a holiday-inspired video.
Why does everyone love and anticipate the John Lewis holiday advertisements year after year? Because they tell a story that evokes emotion.
Fortunately, you don’t need a million-dollar TV advertising budget to do this, just an idea for a great story. As video is becoming more and more popular, it’s key that you apply it to all areas of your marketing strategy.
Back in 2014, the Lowell Police Department went viral due to its "Christmas Surprise Traffic Stop" video. In the video, police officers asked the folks they pulled over for traffic violations questions about what they wanted for the holidays. Meanwhile, their behind-the-scenes crew quickly purchased the items and drove them to the scene. Watch the magic unfold below -- trust us, it's worth the four minutes:
The holiday season is a time of giving, so be creative with how you can implement goodwill into your marketing campaign.
Offering compelling discounts with creative call-to-actions will inspire your customers to buy, but great customer service is why they return.
Remember to focus on the value that you are bringing your customer, not just how low you can get your prices.
How are you creating the holiday cheer with your marketing this year? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.
Originally published Dec 15, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017