Customer loyalty is the ultimate goal for any strong brand. These relationships can supercharge your business by creating a real emotional attachment from customers towards your business.
However, the days when clever marketing campaigns were all you needed to build trust are gone. People, more than ever, are craving a genuine connection, and there’s no better driver for human connection than conversations.
Today, we’re going to explore some of the tactics you can implement today to start engaging more with your customers and building a community that’ll take your business to the next level.
What is Conversational Marketing?
Like its name suggests, conversational marketing is a dialogue-driven marketing strategy that focuses on delivering the best customer experience by creating personalized, timely, and engaging conversations.
Although the term is associated primarily with chatbots, in reality, any type of campaign that uses conversations as its primary strategy can be called conversational marketing. Whether it is automated tools or marketers using apps to communicate with their customers.
What’s behind this is a philosophy that is meant to help businesses recapture the face-to-face interactions consumers have lost with the digital-first approach of ecommerce.
There’s still a high demand for real-time communications from consumers, specifically for higher investment products or services.
In a study conducted by Whisbi, they found that “66% of car buyers want real-time assistance while using online car configurators”. If you think about the type of investment buying a car represents, you can understand why it is essential for consumers to get valuable and accurate information quickly.
The bigger the commitment or urgency, the larger the need for a clear and engaging conversation.
Because conversational marketing is built on timely communication, consumers can quickly find the solution they’re looking for. In turn, this builds trust and convenience, which are the two foundations of customer loyalty.
Why is Customer Loyalty Important?
Although we tend to hear and read more about customer acquisition, multiple studies have shown that for a business to grow (no matter the industry), it needs returning customers.
In fact, “a 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profits” - which is pretty significant considering that customer acquisition can cost five times more than customer retention.
How can we retain more customers? By building customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty is the emotional relationship a customer has with your brand/business. It is the direct result of a great customer experience, the value they receive from your product or service, and customer satisfaction.
A loyal customer prefers to buy from you over your competitors, and it’s pretty hard to get them to switch.
An additional benefit is that loyal customers are more likely to recommend your brand to others, and word-of-mouth keeps being the most trusted marketing asset you can harvest because “81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies”.
As we can see, customer loyalty is critical for any business looking to achieve sustainable growth.
7 Ways to Increase Customer Loyalty Through Conversational Marketing
There are several ways to increase customer loyalty, like creating a reward system. You can learn most of them by doing a simple Google search.
However, today we’re focusing on using conversational marketing to improve customer loyalty and acquire ideal customers.
It’s the combination of these two that makes conversational marketing so powerful.
1. Focus on Customer Experience and Not Just Pricing
Customers have access to more information than ever before. Which also means they can find your competitors more easily than before.
With so many options on the market, all products and services tend to blur together, especially if the only difference is a few bucks here and there.
Instead of fighting costs and promotions, focus on building a more enjoyable buying experience for your customers.
If it is easy, stress-free, and faster to buy from you, it can make the whole difference and entice customers to come back again.
Apple is a clear example of this. They are definitely not the cheapest option in the market, but by creating a unique customer experience, they have built a loyal customer base that’ll keep buying their products for years to come - even though the prices are higher.
A quick way to improve the buying experience for your customers is by identifying your customers’ preferred communication channels and making them available for them to ask questions and get answers quickly.
If you’re diligent with information and assistance, then buyers will return again and again.
Note: Check our guide on how to build better relationships with your customers through SMS.
2. Meet Users Where They Are
There’s nothing worse than finding a fantastic product on Instagram, asking for more information in the comments, and getting a DM five hours later with a generic ‘thanks for getting in touch’ message that doesn’t answer your question.
Depending on your industry, customers engage with your brand through specific channels, and you should be using those channels to start conversations.
When a customer is asking for more information through a chat or a tweet, respond as soon as possible so you can potentially qualify a lead or provide a great first interaction. Speed is of the essence.
A lot of companies like AT&T provide customer services through Twitter. It’s a great way to connect with users that are already using the platform - and shows potential customers that you’re engaged and responsive to comments.
Nevertheless, there’s one channel all customers across industries have access to and use: SMS.
To paint a clearer picture, Techjury conducted a massive survey and found that:
SMS has a 98% open rate compared to email marketing
60% of customers read texts within 1-5 minutes after receiving them
66% of Americans check their phones 160 times per day on average
Not only are people receptive to brands’ messages, but they actively want to get information through it.
It works because SMS is a very personal one-on-one communication, so there are no distractions or interruptions. SMSs are fast and convenient, letting consumers have more control over the information they are exposed to.
The best way to ensure effective communication through social media and SMS is to create a playbook with guidelines on how to conduct and manage staff-consumer interactions always to provide the most human and personal interaction possible.
3. Use SMS Flows and Conversations to Help Customers to Find Solutions Quickly
With 68% of global online traffic coming from mobile phones, embedded solutions into the website (like chatbots) might not be the best way to engage with the average consumer - who may prefer using messaging apps over on-website options.
Instead, you can use conversational SMS platforms to automate human conversations through a channel users have access to all the time and are used to responding to quickly.
Creating personalized two-way SMS conversations lets you make conversation flows as complex as you need and provide a real-time experience without compromising productivity or resources.
Note: Here are the best tips to follow when building a high-converting subscriber list.
That said, automated flows are perfect for setting expectations and quick solutions, but when it comes to customer loyalty, emotions are what really matter.
Giving the option to your customers to talk to your brand’s representatives will provide them with a better experience than any bot can.
Conversational marketing is all about human connection, and there’s no better channel than SMS, where friction is low, and responses are quick.
It’s crucial for a great customer experience that users can communicate with your brand when they need to. An SMS conversation flow can bridge that gap easily, while human conversations will solidify their trust and attachment.
4. Provide Real-Time Chat to Build Trust and Solve Solutions
Trust is the bread and butter of customer loyalty, and there’s no better way to build it than to be honest and present.
But how can a company build trust without face-to-face interactions?
In ecommerce, the face of your company is your team, so give them the opportunity to win over your customers.
Real-time chats allow users to get to know your company better and gives you the chance to demonstrate expertise and trustworthiness.
You should always have the option for users (even more so if they are already customers) to contact an agent directly without going through lots of hoops.
In most cases, users that need personal assistance are looking for reassurance or have already gone through other channels without success.
Promptly talking to a rep can make the difference between a potential customer lost to a competitor or a new client ready to return several times over the years.
Because we’re aware of this, Emotive.io provides direct messaging with all of your subscribers, so they don’t need to change apps or channels to start a conversation with your team.
They can just pick up where they left off last time and get instant feedback on any issues their experiencing.
According to a study conducted by SMS Comparison, 90% of customers prefer text messages over direct phone calls. An SMS conversation has less friction as it removes the anxiety from direct calls while keeping the feeling of a one-on-one conversation.
You can also provide all the functionalities online channels have, like sending links to resources, offers, videos, and more.
5. Use Win-Back Campaigns to Re-engage with Your Customers
When potential customers are searching for products or services, they can get easily distracted by text messages, calls, and life in general.
These are great opportunities to remind them of what they have wishlisted, browsed, or added to their cart (cart abandonment SMS) but then forgot when life hit.
These types of campaigns grab their attention and help them take the next step. They’ve already shown interest in a specific product or service - you can use SMS to help them over the finish line.
6. Personalized and Optimized Conversations for Higher Retention
Conversation is an art and a science. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ for effective communication, so utilize the data collected from each interaction to improve your SMS flows and playbooks.
Every message needs to feel unique and, most importantly, relevant to what the customer intent is.
When creating an SMS conversation flow, think about the user’s intention and where they are coming from. If the user is texting after seeing the pricing page, their intention will be different if they came from a blog post.
However, it doesn’t stop at just the automated conversation flows. Your playbook needs to have different scenarios into account, so you can always provide the best experience to your user during real-time conversations.
Delays in conversation can definitely kill the “illusion” of real-time communication - which shouldn’t be an illusion at all.
Personalization and optimization go beyond just adding the sender’s name (your customer), and it must take into account response times, language and solutions.
7. Use Video Broadcasting to Showcase New Products/Services and Answer FAQs
Something we haven’t seen much of but that is definitely creating a new way for customers to interact with brands is video broadcasts.
Broadcasts allow users to interact in real-time with your brand in a more engaging format.
This channel is excellent for showcasing new products or services and explaining what makes them unique - directly to your customers and prospects.
Unlike pre-recorded videos, customers can interact in real-time with your team and get the help they need to make a purchase decision.
For customer loyalty, this is the time to offer updates to their current services or products.
You can also use this chance to answer common questions or address concerns.
3 Customer Loyalty Strategy Examples
To wrap things up, we want to share with you a few examples of conversational marketing and its success in driving more sales and improving customer loyalty:
1. Bikini Crush Swimwear Created Campaigns Directly for VIP Customers
After a huge growth in demand, Bikini Crush Swimwear was overwhelmed by the number of communications they were receiving in social media - their primary channel.
The problem is that they couldn’t respond on time, making them lose many potential customers and without any way to scale engagement.
Using conversational SMS, they created flows to qualify leads and engage in real-time with their best customers.
Unlike email, SMS responses are usually immediate, so there were no lost connections or delays between the customer and their brand.
Plus, customers enrolling in the subscriber list are already engaged and eager to hear from them.
Because of the casual nature of SMS, Bikini Crush Swimwear was able to generate genuine conversations, thus building the rapport they needed to grow their business and resulting in a driving $126,000 in sales after the first six months.
2. Split Nutrition Created an Abandoned Cart Campaign to Increase Revenue
Time is key when building customer loyalty and generating more sales. This is the factor that Split Nutrition didn’t have.
Although they were using email, they saw the high time investment the channel needed and the resulting delay in communication.
After using SMS as their primary communication channel, Split Nutrition saw a 34% conversation rate increase and a massive boost in customer engagement.
3. Eat Well Nashville Uses Text Conversations to Keep Their Customers Engaged
Although Eat Well Nashville already had an impressive list of emails, their customers weren’t reading them, and when they did, it was too late for them to place an order. All of which translated into lost revenue.
What’s the point of sending a reminder for them to “try” to take action after it’s too late?
After changing their weekly outreach to text campaigns, they noticed their customers read, responded, and bought almost immediately after the broadcast message.
The result of switching to a conversational-driven approach was an increase of $500,000 in sales after the first month and a more reliable communication channel with their audience.
Conversational marketing is all about better consumer experience and genuine relationships. If you want to test it yourself with a platform that guarantees you an ROI, we’re ready to help you get started!