3 phases to effectively engaging newly acquired customers

Digital affords brands more opportunities to acquire new customers. But the speed at which you can acquire these customers must also be met with a readiness to deliver a compelling and consistent customer experience.  If you read my last article, your inbound acquisition efforts were hopefully successful. But once you acquire a new customer, how do you keep them and drive loyalty to your brand?

When you secure a new customer relationship, there are several important data tactics you need to implement to bond your customer to your brand through your marketing efforts. Let’s break these down into three phases:

Phase 1:  Build a rich customer profile

Understanding your new customer across all channels and touch points will help you more effectively reach them. This starts with understanding their path to purchase:

  • How did the customer come to know your brand (referrer owned/paid content), refer-a friend, others?
  • How did the customer navigate your website to make a purchase and what products did they browse before they purchased?
  • Did they browse online and then purchase in store?
  • Did a specific offer compel them to make a purchase?

Understanding these behaviors and the micro-decisions a consumer made on their path to purchase will allow you to better understand their future wants and needs.

As you build a profile about the consumer it is also important you get as much self-reported information from them as possible. Digital provides more opportunity and easier ways for you to accomplish this. For example, with e-receipts, purchase confirmation, or welcome email, ask your customer to fill out a profile via a customer preference center and provide a small incentive to do it.  Getting this information at the beginning of the relationship will be worth your investment. As you gather this information focus on the following areas and be direct:

  • Trying to gain an understanding of why the consumer made a purchase.
    • Was it for their own personal use or for a gift?
  • Are they a frequent category purchaser or less frequent?
  • Are there specific products or product categories they are most interested in?
  • Ask your customer how they would like to be communicated to, in what channel and how often.

Make sure you are ready to execute on these preferences or you risk damaging the customer relationship. Self-reported knowledge should be augmented by 3rd party data to enrich the profile and provide a wealth of additional information about consumers including demographic and psychographic insights.

Phase 2:  Act on the profile through 1:1 messaging and continue to enrich the profile

Based on the rich profile information you’ve gathered through self-reported information and/or data overlay, assign your customer to the appropriate segment and make sure they are part of a follow-up program that makes sense for them. Provide content that is relevant to that consumer – information about the product they purchased, complementary products, or new offers to incent repeat purchasing.

Messaging should be based on the rich profile data you’ve gathered in the first phase of this process. If a consumer makes additional purchases, incorporate that information, re-assign segments and refine your follow-up cadence. It is important your customer profiles are rich and ready to act on throughout the customer lifecycle.

Phase 3:  Refine the message

Over time, work to understand what incents this consumer to buy – and update their profile accordingly. Changing your content delivery and offer mix based on their purchasing patterns plus adjusting your communication stream will be key.

At this point, if you have a brand loyalist incent them to share your brand experience through refer friend programs and social shares. These loyalists are also a great group to reach with cross-sell and upsell communications.

If you have a lapsed customer, put them in win-back or suppressed segments to refine your messaging or eliminate communication costs.

These three phases are challenging for many organizations to succeed at but approaching them in phases can help you narrow your focus and scope of work to turn new customers to brand loyalists.