Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 11/22/17 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
One of the most trying tasks of being an entrepreneur is constantly establishing loyalty with your current clients, while developing relationships with new ones.
It can take months – even years – to build a great relationship, yet only 5 seconds to tear it apart.
Start putting these eight digital marketing strategies designed to increase customer loyalty into action today.
One of the most frustrating things in the world is when a business is not upfront and transparent in their business affairs.
Whether it's their pricing, quality of work, B2C relationships, etc., one of the most important digital marketing strategies for establishing loyalty with a client is developing a pattern of transparency.
You don't want to have any grey areas in your business relationships.
Here's an example: We had situation with a direct mailing company (who shall remain nameless). After hiring them to implement a campaign in Canada for us (for one of our clients), we went through the entire process, only to find out that they never sent out the visual marketing piece we created.
After weeks of hounding them for a refund, they finally gave us our money back, but never once did they apologize for the hassle.
When you don't hold true to your word, you not only crush your reputation, you waste others' time and money and lose business.
This company could have gained our business for future jobs, but they weren't honest on the first transaction. We started working with one of their competitors, instead.
It may seem like a surprising digital marketing strategy, but, when in doubt, act like your mom.
The reason everyone loves their mom is simple: She always cares.
In your B2B and ecommerce relationships, you have to make it apparent from the beginning that you genuinely care for the customers' needs.
There are hundreds of ways to assure your clients that you care, but one of the best is to become a great listener.
Here's a digital marketing strategy you can hang your hat on: Inherit your client's vision as if it were your own, and always try to save them time and resources.
If you can also show them that you would rather have the relationship than drain their pockets, the Lifetime Value of that customer becomes a lot more profitable!
You need to hold true to your character and your values as a businessman or woman.
I can’t even count how many stories I have come across of CEOs that were fired for not having integrity (in many different situations).
At the end of the day, your character and integrity are all you have.
Don't put on a front for a client, if that's not truly how you or your business operates. For your own sake and the sake of your clients, stay true to who you are.
This is a pretty self-explanatory digital marketing strategy: If you have a great talent, stick to it.
Let me give you an example: If you were on your way to work, tripped out your front door and broke your wrist, who would you call? The dentist?
Of course not. That would be ridiculous.
Your clients trust you for the specific talents that you have. Contain yourself, and don’t go outside your area of expertise.
Clients respect those who can direct them to an expert, rather than those who pretend to be an expert. At Flight Media, if we can’t do something to a level that we believe is necessary, we direct our clients to someone who can.
In turn, our clients stay loyal to us for what we are experts in, which ultimately increases sales.
It also helps if you go above sticking to your talent and you enhance your talent.
Whether you take courses, join groups or read books, make sure that you are always on the cutting edge of what's happening in your industry.
People trust companies that generate results.
You can have all the energy, passion and zeal in the world, but if you don't generate results, it is only a matter of time before the loyalty between you and your client dwindles.
We follow a principle of "under-promising and over-delivering." That means that, if we know we can drop their Cost Per Click to $.20, we tell them to expect a CPC of at least $.30-$.35.
If they hire us based on our ability to drop their cost to $.35 per click, then we over-deliver and lower it to $.20 per click. This digital marketing strategy will help your clients' loyalty to greatly increase.
Communicate realistic goals and milestones to your customers/clients and either hit the goals or exceed them.
There is something amazing that happens when you can find a common denominator between you and a client and hone in on that.
Whether it's your passion for a certain sport, or your love for your kids, your clients are human and like to have connections with those they work with and/or hire to do work for them.
One of the ways we do this at Flight Media is giving little gifts to our clients. For example, we may do a little digging to find out a favorite sports team and surprise them with a tshirt or some other gear.
It's just one more way to make those important connections that show your clients you're tuned in.
Most consumers are smart enough to weigh their options between different brands/companies before establishing a relationship.
If someone hires you, it's most likely because they have done their research and/or like your previous work enough to call you.
What’s the easiest way to make them happy and loyal? Consistency.
It’s the same reason Starbucks is such a huge company; whether I buy a Java chip Frappuccino from Columbus, OH, or Cedar Key, FL, my frozen mountain of taste-bud caressing is going to taste the same…delicious.
Plain and simple, you are going to get burned sometimes. Every business relationship is not going to be great.
There are always those businesses or clients that you just can seem to make happy and they certainly aren't loyal. You could buy them a brand new house by the beach with a shiny blue Porsche in the garage, and they would probably tell you they don’t like sand and they hate the color blue.
Sometimes a client just needs to know that you are patient and willing to stand firm when the crap hits the fan. You never want to give up, but rather turn the other cheek.
Looking for the proof that these digital marketing strategies for increasing customer loyalty actually work?
Recently, I was on a sales call with a potential client. It was a fantastic conversation; I was honest, gave her fair pricing and even gave her some free pointers and tips out of kindness.
Ultimately, she chose to hire someone else. About a month later, I received a phone call from the same person. She said, "I would like to move forward with your proposal and get started as soon as possible."
We agreed on the same terms originally communicated, but I stopped to ask her this, "if you don't mind me asking, what made it not work out between you and the person you hired at first?"
She said, "They didn't follow through with their promises and weren't very accommodating to my needs." The situation just made me smile, because in the end, the loyal customer always chooses the one with integrity and grace.