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Make Your Holiday Shoppers Lifelong Customers

Holiday Shoppers

Make Your Holiday Shoppers Lifelong Customers

Are you ready for your holiday shoppers? Here’s why you’ll want to get your marketing sorted sooner rather than later: seasonal shoppers aren’t just one hit wonders. They can be converted into lifelong customers.

In the retail industry where you literally make it or break it in a single season, the possibility of retaining customers on an ongoing basis is a pretty big deal.

Of course, there are some other factors at play as well. Like there being more channels than ever to reach customers, making it easier to do. This can seem delightful when you think about your own engagement efforts. And a bit horrifying when you think of your competitors closing in.

So how do you outwit your competition and outlast the holiday season? Plan like you’ve never planned before. And start with your target audience.

Map Your Customer’s Journeys

According to Google’s President of the Americas, Allan Thygesen, the marketing funnel as we know it continues to be altered by intent-rich moments. After analyzing thousands of users’ data over the past six months, Google has found that “no two journeys are exactly alike, and in fact, most journeys don’t resemble a funnel at all. They look like pyramids, diamonds, hourglasses, and more.”

A big part of this is how much ownership consumers are taking over their buyer journeys. They are demanding immediate answers that will take them from wanting to know to buying. And they aren’t as interested in the low hanging fruit you’re dangling in front of them to try to guide them through a funnel. So rather than assuming your buyers’ personas, and building irrelevant funnels, dig through your data and create experiences that build loyalty.

Create Buyer Personas

You can’t market to your target audience if you don’t know who they are. Start this process by approaching it like setting up a Facebook profile. Include details such as location, age, gender, employment, relationship status, interests and shopping habits. And consider how these things are impacted by time of year.

Make note of pain points and interests and how these can be leveraged to direct customer intent to your products. Also, consider what could be holding them back from making a purchase.

Finally, think about all the channels you can utilize to reach your ideal customer(s). With just under 2 months to Black Friday, you can start producing and promoting content and ad campaigns which are relevant, helpful and personal to your target audience. And once you’ve started establishing those real connections, you can continue this form of engagement long after.

Rather than simply use the proximity of the holidays as a trigger event, think bigger picture. And your customers will be more likely to make you a part of theirs.

Don’t Let Buyers Hit It And Quit It

We’re talking about your CTAs, here. If you plan all of your holiday marketing according to the funnels of Christmas past, you’re going to miss out on greater opportunities to build affinity and engagement.

Remember your end goal should not be just to drive customers to buy during BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) or for Christmas; it should be that in addition to retaining them as customers in the longer run.

You know that piece of advice about prioritizing customer retention over acquisition, because it’s more cost-effective? It’s true. And so is the fact that investing to acquire and retain at the same time, is even better.

It costs significantly more to run ad campaigns the closer you get to the holidays. And yes, there are ample opportunities to get returns on your ad spend. But what if you could get more.

Just entertain that thought for a moment. You could create a solid foundation for increased sales throughout the year, as you are generating your highest revenues of the year.

You know what this sets you up for in 2019, right? Even bigger sales during the holidays.

Getting Past The One Hit Wonder

The holidays are a time of constant adrenaline rushes. You’re whipping out marketing campaigns, for your own business or for your clients’. Engagement levels and sales start soaring. Stock runs lower. Top sellers are getting pumped out, and even those products that may not move other times of year are flying. You’re ecstatic and on top of the world. Or maybe you’ve had too many coffees. It’s hard to tell.

Then poof. It’s all over.

In the flurry of action, it can seem impossible to pause and implement a retention strategy. So, don’t wait until the holidays are upon us. Plan it all out now. And implement it, each time the dust settles. Have a strategy for how you will deepen connections with customers after each holiday and sales event.

Take BFCM for instance. After the individual events are done, focus on interactions that will nurture your new relationships. And automate this process. Set up a sequence of thoughtful emails through an automated email outreach tool. Mailshake and Close.IO are some great options.

Tell your customers about your brand. Introduce them to your story and your value propositions. And do this in ways that create value for them. There’s no faster way to have customers delete your messages then sending emails that are self-serving and too salesy. Especially following major sales events during which they’ve been inundated with these approaches already.

And then keep the conversation going. Share content that is educational, entertaining and share other customers’ stories. Curate and create content that represents your brand culture.

If you need help designing your content, Banners Mall can help you out with our turnarounds of 2-3 business days (that’s including revisions). Check out the types of creatives we design here.

Acquire, Engage, Retain, Repeat

There’s a lot that can be left to chance when it comes to holiday marketing. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to minimize this.

Tools that support predictive analysis can be invaluable to identify shoppers who are most likely to become your loyal customers. Informed marketing is cost effective marketing.

There are few players in this space whose tools, and resources may be of interest. They include Adobe Analytics, IBM Analytics, Optimove, NGData, Beyond the Arc, and AgilOne.

There are also lots of other marketing tools that can help you accelerate acquisition, engagement and retention. Investing in automation will help your business remain consistent across channels and forms of engagement with buyers.

These include the likes of MailChimp for email marketing, Intercom for targeted in-app and push messages and Zen Desk for chatbots. All these touch points can help engage your customers throughout their buyer journeys with helpful prompts and tips. This in turn allows you to position yourself according to their needs rather than your selling points.

And one more tip. Also effective to keep your one-time shoppers engaged, are customized retargeting ads. Add a Facebook or AdRoll pixel to your site, if you don’t already have one, to track your shoppers. And then have a few ads created specific to this audience. Your ad spend here won’t be significant, as this will be a relatively small custom audience. But the return could be a long-term customer. If you need help getting your ads prepared, check out our Google Ads and AdRoll packages.

Deliver On Promises & Exceed Expectations

Do this with amazing customer service, online and in person. You need every member of your team to pull out all the stops. Interactions leading up to and throughout the holidays can and will make an impact. And retention starts from that point.

Consider offering free shipping, without a minimum order. This could encourage repeat purchases within this holiday season itself.

And once a purchase is made, try sending thank you notes with an offer. Holiday purchases are often gifts. And even when they’re not, the holidays hits everyone’s bank balance hard. Send your customer an offer that they can use, no strings attached.

Or if more relevant, follow up to make sure that your product is operating as intended, and offer tips and trips for making the most of it, and provide customer service and warranty details while you’re at it.

If you’re in between promotions, it’s also effective to inform customers of their options in the event that they need to return merchandise. It takes away any perceived risk in placing an order with a new business and it shows that you put their interests first.

Nurture Your New Relationships

On that note, a loyalty program is an excellent way to engage and retain customers. Well that’s if it’s an effective loyalty program. The good news is building one comes down to three simple criteria: the program has to make it easy to earn rewards, view and use rewards and it should nurture customers into returning whenever they are ready to buy again.

This goes back to email campaigns and other forms of automation that ensure your customers know that you are there for them. And if you build this right, your customers will there for you come Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and everything and anything in between.

Focus On Customer Lifetime Value

The ultimate message we’re trying to convey is that you need to focus on customer lifetime value, instead of one-time customer acquisition.

And in order to do so, you need to consistently test and learn. Start now, and carry it out throughout the holidays and beyond. This will help you determine how effective your marketing efforts are when taking into consideration retention rates and customer lifetime value.

Think this way and you won’t just be setting yourself up for a solid 2018 holiday season. You’ll start off 2019 with a bang, with all the data you need to continue to nurture and engage your new customers through the campaigns they respond to best. And for all the designs you’ll need for your campaigns, check out Banners Mall.