Understanding Identity, Unleashing Brand Love: 3 Essential Strategies for Connecting with Your Customer

This blog post was co-authored with Sara Ost, Director of Marketing at Smartify. Smartify provides marketing automation and next generation analytics to power campaign marketing and offer data insights for enterprises. Data-driven and digital. Omnichannel and always-on. Mobile and social (mocial?). If marketers can feel overwhelmed by the complexity and pace of our ever-evolving digital world (or at least by the jargon), imagine how a customer feels when seeking to connect. Customer loyalty has long been a challenge for even the most dedicated consumer brands. Losing a long-time customer is often times the result of failing to meet an expectation of some sort, but here’s the rub: It hasn’t been easy to discern what customers want and expect from you and your brand. If it were that simple, after all, then every business would be jumping on the bandwagon to success. It’s up to you, the marketer, to know the individuals that comprise your market and to make it easier than ever for them to buy into the experience of your brand. That’s why a data-driven approach—to relate with, reward, and retain your customers is so vital. Here are three smart steps you can take today to understand your customers and unleash brand love.

1. Solve the Identity Crisis

According to a study by Accenture, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. With so many people sharing their personal information on social networks, businesses can capitalize on these opportunities by leveraging their users’ data points in ways that add value to both parties. For example, an e-commerce business looking to reduce cart abandonment rates can send tailored reminders to customers who didn’t complete the path to purchase and prompt them to finalize their transaction with offers of support or additional product recommendations.

What to do:

Businesses should consider implementing a seamless, easy way to collect and manage their users’ information in a permission-based manner. Social Login technology enables this process by allowing users to register and sign in to your website through their existing social profiles. Opt-in is a win-win when relevant and targeted brand experiences are on the table.

2. Give Users Something to Talk About

There’s no denying the value of word of mouth advertising: Ninety-one percent of e-commerce retailers saw a lift in their SEO rank thanks to social referrals. Marketers can incentivize this behavior to build loyalty thanks to new and innovative marketing tools. 24 Hour Fitness, for instance, recognizes and rewards their advocates by sending members personal thank you notes and gift packages once they refer a certain number of friends for new memberships. After launching its referral program, the company drove 331,500 new direct contact referrals.

What to do:

Encourage referrals by automatically rewarding users for spreading the word about your brand to their friends and family. This means determining what business goals are most important and tailoring your referral program around that objective. For instance, a subscription-based women’s clothing ecommerce site may want to drive referrals to its site following the launch of its new clothing line. In order to drive awareness to its site, it may offer a 10% discount on any purchase for every customer that refers three new subscribers.

3. Make it Fun (and Functional)

By now, you’ve probably guessed that customers respond positively to incentives. To further engage your customers, consider hosting online giveaways that promote your brand while giving you an easy way to collect rich data—and ultimately personalize the brand experience. Consider, for example, Redbox’s All Access social loyalty program. New content and relevant brand giveaways are featured each week. Customers earn chances to win by signing up for newsletters, sharing the contest with friends, watching videos, taking surveys, and more.

What to do:

Invest in a marketing platform that can automatically collect contest entries and attribute them to your registered users. When hosting a sweepstakes, or other promotional campaign, consider creating relevant incentives for users to perform certain site actions, such as sharing content and referring their friends, by offering additional sweepstakes entries in exchange for them performing these actions.

Nurturing Long-Term Engagement

Creating a lasting relationship with your customers is a long-term strategy, and having the right technologies in place to support your efforts will help to ensure your success. We recommend carving out time to explore and determine the solutions that fit best with your company’s goals, whether that’s fostering community and conversation, unlocking rich insights about your customers, or delivering dynamic omnichannel experiences.

By Emma Tzeng