Readers of this blog may already be aware of the fact that it works out much cheaper for a business to take care of their existing customers as opposed to acquiring new ones. According to some estimates, the cost of acquiring new customers are nearly four to ten times higher than servicing existing customers. It is also widely believed that you do not have to go the extra mile to keep existing customers happy. All that matters is consistency. A McKinsey report writes about the three Cs of customer satisfaction : consistency, consistency and consistency.
Ensuring a consistent experience may not seem like asking for much, but as business owners often realize, it is hard to provide a consistent experience to your users: you may run out of supplies which could mean your customers have to return empty-handed; you may have customers who shop with you for their daily essentials and may get their journey disrupted when you shut down for the weekend. These are however the easier customer journey disruptions to deal with.
It is a lot more critical to ensure loyalty in the online commerce world. Unlike brick and mortar stores, it takes little effort for a customer to switch from one website to another. As a result, even minor disruptions in the customer journey are likely to be met with a drop in repeat purchases. Automating your marketing makes the customer’s journey more streamlined and immune to inconsistencies. This way, the customer is habituated to a certain process that is devoid of any surprises or disappointments. This is how it is done.
Find the right medium to communicate
The first step in the marketing automation process is to identify the right medium to reach out to your customer. Some customers prefer email while others prefer to receive messages via SMS. You may also want to find a way to get permission from your customer to reach out to them through the medium they have chosen.
Initiate communication ahead of buying cycle
Each product comes with its own buying cycle. Groceries, for instance, is mostly a weekly purchase while customers shop for electronics like smartphones only once in a year or two. The most critical step in marketing automation is to identify a customer’s purchase ahead of their buying cycle and reach out to them then. This way, when a customer is looking for their next smartphone, your marketing communication is the first thing they see and are hence likely to come back to your website. Modern marketing tools are sophisticated and let businesses set their own automation rules - right from identifying visitors based on their click behavior, purchase behavior or even cart abandonment and sending email at custom intervals.
Use analytics to track performance and tweak the process
Customer behavior evolves all the time and it is important to keep an eye on this change and modify your automation process continuously. For instance, mobile phones were something that customers bought only once every few years. However, more recently, customers do not mind owning more than one phone and upgrading them with every new model in the market. Failing to interpret this data would result in your automation sending out communication long after the customer has already made their new purchase. Make use of your analytics tools to track these behavior changes and feed them into your marketing automation cycle in order to change the process.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but automating your marketing process does not truly take the human out of the cycle. Automation is a continually evolving process and it is important for a business owner or the marketer to keep working on this process in order to ensure a smooth and consistent experience for your customer. That is the only way to ensure repeat purchases.