Not All Customers Are Created Equal (Here’s How to Find and Retain the Best Ones)
Sometimes marketers and ecommerce businesses tend to forget one important thing about their customers: Not all customers are created equal. And the truth is some are more valuable than others.
When we say that, we aren’t referring to demographics or financial ability. Our interest has everything to do with how customers interact with your brand and what actions they take. For example, are they a one-time purchaser, or do they have the potential to buy multiple times a year? Do they have other people in their friend circle who would love your brand as much as they do? Could they be a potential brand ambassador, or do they have an audience over which they have influence?
If you want to retain your best customers and create lifelong brand fans, you need to start marketing to different types of customers more strategically. The way to do this is simple:
- Segment these different types of customers based on their behaviors
- Speak to, reward, and interact with them differently.
This is not a brand new concept— we all know businesses that have used VIP programs for years. But these days, marketers have much greater access to detailed information about our visitors and customers. This makes it much easier to personalize messaging to different groups based on their behaviors and how valuable they are.
The thing that’s stopping most brands from doing this is not a lack of data and information, but the lack of a simple strategy to execute this effectively.
In this article we’re going to give you some easy ways to start segmenting and engaging your audience on a deeper level.
Find Your Most Valuable Audiences
When using customer segmentation, start by identifying your most valuable customers. How you identify these customers or define what’s “valuable” varies for different brands and products.
For example, if you’re a clothing brand that sells to men, women, and children, moms might be your most valuable customer to market to, since moms tend to purchase for the whole family. If you sell silicone rings, married customers may have a higher value than single customers because they are more likely to wear rings. They’re also more likely to buy more than one ring (one for them and one for their spouse).
The most valuable audiences for your business depends on your specific business, but be sure to think about who makes the purchasing decision which may very likely be different than who your product is made for.
What Tools Should You Use to Find These Audiences?
For most ecommerce businesses the best place to find and segment current customers is actually using your email/crm platform. We have discussed our preference for Klaviyo for ecommerce email marketing at length, and that’s what we use to segment audiences. All of your store data flows into the email platform and you can quickly and easily find and segment your audience based on their actions.
Pro Tip: You can actually sync those segments you create with Facebook to retarget and create lookalike audiences for finding more of those customers.
Top 4 Ways to Speak to Customers Differently
In an ideal world, we would tailor all experiences and messages specific to each customer. This isn’t always possible, but as we learn more about customer behavior we can implement a variety of strategies to make marketing more relevant for different groups.
1. Use specific messaging relevant to a customer’s interests or experience
There are a number of ways this could play out, whether you’re building Facebook ads or email templates. Here are a few examples:
- Segment customers who have bought from certain collections and speak to them about new products you’re adding to that collection.
- Win back unengaged customers by reminding them that they are missed and filling them in on new products to hit your store.
- Separate your audience based on gender and then use slightly different imagery, style, or colors for male vs. female customers (yes, this small change will lift your CTR!)
- For those who have yet to purchase, continue messaging the features and benefits of your product. Make it more powerful by ruling out concerns they might have or sharing customer testimonials.
2. Message the features and benefits that MATTER to the customer
Different types of shoppers value different features and benefits. If you want your message to resonate, focus on what makes your product great in the eyes of each customer you’re marketing to.
For example, one of our clients, GrooveLife sells silicone wedding rings for men and women. It’s essentially the same product, but men and women buy them for different reasons. Men typically buy silicone rings because they find metal rings uncomfortable or dangerous for their lifestyle. Women tend to be less interested in the safety benefits, and more motivated by the desire to look stylish while keeping their diamond safe.
3. Say thank you to your best or most influential customers
This is where the “value” of the customer comes into play. Yes, everyone is important in their own way, but it’s not rocket science— a customer who has made multiple purchases or a customer who has a large sphere of influence are your most valuable people.
Say thank you to these customers by placing them on a “VIP List” and send them special offers, early access to sales, sneak peeks of product releases, and more.
4. Use an awesome rewards program
A great rewards platform will help reward your most valuable customers for you. These programs incentivize customers to purchase more frequently (or buy more expensive products) in order to unlock rewards.
Our go-to rewards platform is Smile.io, which integrates seamlessly with Shopify. You will be able to fully customize the rewards experience and make it as simple or as complex as your brand needs. Check out a few great examples here.
How to Retain Your Best Customers
As you’ve probably heard, it costs much less to keep current customers happy than acquire new ones. Of course, in order to grow, you should have a strong customer acquisition strategy. However, you need to have just as strong of a plan for engaging with your existing customers.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 strategies we use to ensure ecommerce brands retain their most valuable customers:
1. Start with a great product
And then continue to innovate it. This will help maintain your authority as an innovative thought leader in your industry. It will also give your customers plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
2. Provide amazing customer service
There is immense value in having a team that shows your customers that they care about their experience. Click here to read more about the importance of customer service, especially in regards to creating fans of your brand.
3. Keep giving customers a reason to praise your brand and products
Maintain your product quality (or better yet, improve it). Stay honest and full of integrity as a company. Go above and beyond to make things right for your customers.
4. Give customers a voice
The most effective way to do this is through product and site reviews. This a key trust-building element on your site so new site visitors will feel good about purchasing from you.
5. Reward your existing (and best) customers
As we mentioned above, treat your most valuable customers to exciting offers, and implement a rewards program to incentivize others to purchase more often. If you’re on Shopify or Shopify Plus one of the best rewards platforms is smile.io. They are simple for customers to use and easy to implement in order to create a ton of value.