Many businesses view marketing as a step-by-step acquisition and retention process, but it is actually more dynamic and integrated into other business components than you’d think.
Improving the customer experience isn’t only about getting more customers; it’s about lowering the risk of losing your customers to your competitor. On average, 47% of customers would take their business to a competitor within 24 hours of a poor customer experience. That means if your customer experience isn’t up to par, you risk losing one out of every two customers you already have, not to mention the opportunity cost of visitors who were discouraged before purchasing.
Here’s how to use marketing to improve your customer experience.
Build Your Marketing Plan Around Lifetime Value (LTV)
Short-term marketing approaches often neglect the customer experience and create a transactional relationship with customers who could potentially become loyal lifetime users of your product. A report by Econsultancy noted that 64% of companies rated customer experience as the best tactic for improving the customer lifetime value.
Simply put, if you offer your customers enough value to stick with your brand, they will be worth more in the long-run. A marketing plan built around long term value (LTV) focuses on improving the customer experience at every possible interaction. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to add value and convince users that they will make the right choice shopping with your brand.
This is a no-brainer for subscription-based businesses, but it still has practical applications in virtually all types of business. A higher LTV means more profits, and, since previous customers have a 60 to 70% chance of converting and are cheaper to market to, your overall profitability will greatly improve.
Your marketing plan should be focused on building a personalized relationship with your customers. Customers want to feel special, and, if their needs are met, they will be happy to start and continue doing business with you.
Customer Retention Is Key
So many businesses focus their marketing efforts on customer acquisition while turning a blind eye on creating a better customer experience for the customers they already have. The average eCommerce store commits over 80% of their marketing budget to customer acquisition, and retention is left on the back burner. While new business isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there is a wealth of potential within your active customer base.
Loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as the first purchase they made with you, and they are more likely to shop with you again than new customers. A customer is 27% more likely to return to your store after the first purchase, and 54% more likely after the second purchase.
Focusing your marketing strategy to improving the customer experience for your existing customers has the potential to substantially improve your bottom line profitability. Dropping your customer churn rate by a mere 5% could increase your profitability by anywhere between 25 to 125%.
Using Marketing to Test the Waters
A good marketing strategy is enough to get your brand and business some exposure, but, if you set the end goal at just awareness, you won’t really understand what components of your business customers like, and which ones they don’t.
In the Lean Startup, Eric Reis notes that instead of devoting the majority of your budget to a sudden “showtime” moment, it should be devoted to finding a product-market fit. A product-market fit is essentially when your business and products are paired with demand in the market based on real-world experience.
This lean startup methodology can be used to A/B test tweaks to your business model and customer experience. No matter how good you are in your ideation phase at creating a service or product customers want, there will always be intricacies that can be tweaked to ensure the best customer experience.
Perhaps your landing pages aren’t engaging enough to lead traffic to your subscription box, product pages, or other CTA? Split-test to find out which type of landing page works for each specific goal.
Your marketing can be used to improve your customer experience, and the holistic customer experience data you receive can be used to refine and perfect your marketing strategy.
How to Use Marketing to Improve the Customer Experience (CX)
The goal of a long-term customer experience focused marketing plan is to create a seamless customer experience on multiple channels that rewards customer retention with more value and entices new customers to become lifetime users. Customers can engage with a company through a multitude of different ways.
For example, they could walk in a physical location, scroll through their website, and check their Facebook page in one five-minute period. Since the customer experience could potentially be anywhere, your marketing must ensure that your business is showing its best face on all channels.
The first step to creating this plan is to understand your buyers, and this doesn’t mean going through customer research and white papers. This step involves actually speaking and interacting with your customers to understand what drives them. In doing so, you’ll understand critical nuances that could greatly improve your strategy that would otherwise be missed.
Your competition likely has access to the same research and resources that you do. Going the extra step to understand your customers at an intimate level is an excellent way to make use of phenomenal resources otherwise neglected.
The next step is to audit your existing marketing and customer experience processes and look for ways to reduce wasted costs and simplify the CX process. All additional unnecessary steps in the customer experience process can range from being mild frustrations or entire reasons customers will abandon their cart or move to a competitor.
Ultimately, in order to improve the customer experience, you must understand the buyer scale. At one end of the scale, you have the value offered. On the other end sits the cost, risk, and effort. At every step in the customer experience, customers are actively weighing that scale.
A seemingly flawless customer experience could be ruined by a single off-brand marketing message, and a creatively refreshing marketing message could be ruined by a poor customer experience. Place your company on the better side of technology and focus on creating a positive synergistic relationship between your marketing efforts and your customer experience.
Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.