An effective online marketing strategy must include all elements of the business development process, including post-sales.
However, most businesses simply do not pay enough attention to one of their most valuable assets – their customer base. Maintaining consistent contact with customers through human interaction alone is very difficult – there are only so many hours in the day.
Staying in close, meaningful contact with your customer base yields two significant business outcomes: increased customer retention and incremental revenue.
Increasing Customer Retention
Customer retention requires a commitment to maintaining value based relationships. Because consumer loyalties can shift quickly, particularly in sectors where there are a number of competitors and choices, it is crucial for businesses to maintain a consistent line of communication with existing customers.
Online marketing tools such as e-surveys, social media monitoring, product videos, online shipment tracking, product update e-bulletins, and timely electronic notification of service contract expirations are examples of mechanisms that enhance relationships with existing customers – with a resulting impact on retention rates.
Generating Incremental Revenue
Existing customers can also be mined for incremental revenue opportunities.
It is common for customers to be unaware that a company with which they currently do business can provide other products or services of interest. Often, there is “low-hanging fruit”; but, this situation is not exploited due to a lack of regular interaction with the customer base.
To access this potential source of incremental revenue, an organization should tactfully make existing customers aware of new products, services, promotions/sales, special events, one-time offers, etc.
Bonus: Referrals and Testimonials
Customers should also be encouraged to provide referrals and testimonials. A satisfied customer is more than willing to help a business be more successful; unfortunately, they are not normally reminded to share their positive experience with others.
Referral marketing has become even more powerful because of the proliferation of social media. Yet relatively few businesses encourage or provide incentives for their customers to spread the word.
What Should You Do?
A well thought-out and executed post-sales online communication strategy can be effectively accomplished through online tools:
- Confirm on-going customer satisfaction using e-surveys
- Up-sell or cross-sell customers by informing them of new (or existing) products or services through social media or e-bulletins
- Ask for testimonials/case studies that can be used on a website or in other online tools
- Develop an online referral or loyalty program
- Use social media monitoring tools to gauge customer sentiment (good and bad) and respond accordingly
- Give access to customer support via social media
- Blog about product enhancements/new features
Organizations that ignore existing customers do so at their own peril. You must think strategically about how to maintain value based relationships with customers. Take advantage of readily available, powerful online marketing tools and technologies to optimize the post-sales experience.
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