Duane “DJ” Sprague on August 18, 2023
Whether you are trying to grow your business to the next level or simply maintain your current size and market share, one of the most effective—and the most efficient—tactics is to increase the customer lifetime value (CLV) of the people who buy from you.
And the best way to do that is to deepen the commitment and connection your customers feel to your business by turning them from simple buyers into advocates for your brand. As in any good relationship, courting the customer doesn’t end at checkout.
In truth, once your customers have completed their initial buyer’s journey, an entirely new journey begins, where you take them from buyers to repeat customers to raving fans.
Creating raving fans of your customers is the ultimate goal because those are the people who not only spend more money with you—maximizing CLV—but also bring you new customers by proselytizing about to their family and friends and social media followings. Raving fan customers become an extension of your marketing team, giving you free, authentic exposure and referring other excited customers to your business.
So what makes the difference between someone who is simply satisfied with their purchase and someone whose satisfaction grows to that next level?
As it turns out, that transformation rarely happens unless you put in the effort to help those customers move further down the line into brand advocates. Studies have shown that even super happy customers are less likely to speak up than customers who have had a bad experience. But again, the work will be worth it, because you will increase the lifetime value of that buyer, and most likely gain additional customers as well.
Two of the most effective ways to get these happy customers to advocate for your business is to:
Get them to leave a review of the product they bought and/or their experience shopping in your store. This creates social proof that is highly persuasive to other customers when they see it.
Bring them into your loyalty program. This creates a sense that they are part of your tribe, one of a special group of insiders who have exclusive benefits and knowledge of your brand. And there are few things people love more than spilling the secret of why they receive special treatment.
Now, if these are the two big strategies, they can break down into five smaller tactics that are easy to put into play and will come together to create a cumulative effect that can have long term, steady growth effects on your business.
Here are five simple tips for the types of engagement you can solicit from your best customers that will bring more traffic to your store and convert new buyers, as well as solidify your brand’s relationship with a satisfied customer.
Ask for reviews. Reviews are powerful in turning buyers into advocates. In fact, the very act of leaving a review further solidifies their satisfaction by causing the buyer to reflect on the positive experience they just had. Putting that experience into words helps the reviewer relive the story of how your store and/or product helped them solve a problem or fulfill a desire. That helps cement the emotional connection between you and the buyer, creating a lifelong fan.
Get video reviews from those customers. Video reviews are powerful and resonant for a few reasons.
Video is very popular across social media, and is easily shared. If your company is using a review platform such as Shopper Approved, you may have the option of syndicating those video reviews out to certain social media channels, giving you an easy way to show off those reviews. It is also simple for the customer to share their video review to their own social networks. In this way, customers become natural brand advocates, broadcasting a positive message about your brand.
Video reviews have a big impact on the viewer. One study found that 62% of consumers watch product review videos before making a purchase. Video is naturally engaging and lets shoppers see your products being used; in addition to the words of review they are hearing, the video image gives them visual proof that the item looks and performs the way your product pages say it will. Since “seeing is believing,” video reviews are a great way to provide answers to shoppers and convert them into buyers.
Employ user-generated content (such as reviews) as social evidence. One of the biggest factors in generating online sales is social proof. With so many brands, stores, and products competing for consumers’ attention online, shoppers are constantly seeking reassurance that they are (or will be) spending their money wisely. The most convincing element in a shopper gaining that reassurance is proof that previous shoppers have also taken the same journey, made the same purchase, and have been happy with what they received in return. Reviews—whether written or video—give that proof. In fact, reviews are so convincing that studies have shown that around half of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Use Q&A to let customers engage with each other. Q&A (sometimes known as FAQ) is yet another form of user-generated content that can help shoppers resolve doubts about buying and feel reassured that they are spending their money well. There are multiple proven, direct benefits of Q&A:
Since Q&A allows customers to both ask and answer questions about your products, this can result in insights for your product pages that you may not have thought to give. These questions and answers fill out your product pages and give customers more than enough information to feel comfortable that they are making a fully-informed decision. This decreases the likelihood that they will leave your page to gather more information (risking that they never return), which ultimately increases your conversion rate.
Just as with giving a review, the act of answering questions about products and helping other shoppers find the information they need is something that solidifies loyalty and turns those customers into not just fans but advocates for your brand as they teach other users the things they like about your products.
Of course, when your customers make a purchase with that much information at hand, they are more likely to get exactly what they want, leaving them with an afterglow of positive associations with your brand because you served them by giving them information that helped them decide.
Offer “can’t-resist” loyalty benefits. Simply put, loyalty breeds loyalty. When customers join your loyalty program, they are opting-in to a bigger presence from your brand in their life, whether that means adding your app to their phone’s home screen, seeing your emails in their inbox, or sharing your message with their friends to get more points. Make their loyalty experience seamless by:
Making it simple. Ensure your points and rewards system is easy to understand and follow. Keep customers informed about where they stand so they stay encouraged to keep spending (for you) and earning benefits (for them).
Offering benefits they’ll want to earn. Whatever form your program takes, be sure that, for your customers, the return on their investment (of time, engagement, fandom, and money) is undeniable. Get more by giving more. Show your loyalty to them, and receive their loyalty in return.
When the goal is to reduce churn and make more money from your current customers by engendering loyalty, and creating a connection, simple tactics can often be the most effective. The five straightforward strategies above can have a big impact when employed over time, and especially in tandem with one another.
These tactics give you tools to reduce uncertainty during the buying process for your customers, give your most passionate customers an avenue to become outspoken fans of your products, share an authentic message across the internet on your behalf, and then continually return for additional purchases and rewards.
You are already in the right place to take advantage of the proven-effective loyalty, referrals, and affiliate programs built by Lootly. Make sure you take a minute to explore their site to see how brands like yours have partnered with Lootly to master retention and growth.
When you are ready to add review and Q&A services to your arsenal of tools you use to create a stellar user experience and increase revenue for your ecommerce store, a review platform such as Shopper Approved will be the ideal partner to help you leverage those tools. Visit the Shopper Approved site here to learn more and sign up for a free 45-day trial.
Duane “DJ” Sprague is a conversion rate expert, a Certified Behavioral Design Coach by the Online Influence Institute, and a certified expert by the Behavioral Design Academy
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