Every great marketer knows sales begins and ends with the customer and not a single aspect of the funnel should be anything but customer oriented, also known as "relationship marketing”. There are several tools in the marketing technology stack to choose from, but what I want to focus on is one of the most robust platform out there: Salesforce Marketing Cloud and its Journey Builder.
Using Journey Builder To Capture Customers
Most e-commerce sites don’t capture customers at the first interaction. In fact, according to a Smart Insights study, the add-to-cart rate for most websites is a startlingly low 10.9 percent. This phenomenon of shopping-without-purchasing is referred to as “browse abandonment.” For many retailers, browse abandonment is the bane of their existence. For smart marketers, however, it’s a tool to be leveraged. Salesforce’s Journey Builder can help.
With Journey Builder, you can improve the customer journey at every stage – including the pre-purchase stage. From mapping out customer journeys before they even begin to identifying key moments of the customer experience, Journey Builder can help set the stage for a successful buyer journey.
Creating an email abandonment series is a particularly crafty relationship-marketing tactic when used at the beginning of the customer journey. In fact, according to a 2016 State of Marketing Report, approximately 79 percent of marketers who use this strategy say that it directly drives ROI, and 75 percent rate email abandonment series as either effective or very effective. Some ways that you can make the most of this tactic is being a friend, not a stalker:
- Personalize the email (using a first name is good).
Avoid the creepy factor by retargeting in a smart way. You can set up what the customer's buying patterns...do they buy more on Sunday afternoon or on paydays (1st and 15th)? What was the time between browsing the item and actually purchasing it? Don't just repeat the same item to them over and over again, set up triggers for related and complementary items to what they browsed or have purchased.
Make product recommendations based on what product the person was viewing. For instance, if the customer was viewing a certain top, make recommendations based on what others who purchased that top also bought.
Refrain from using overly pushy or salesy copy.
Invite them to your brick and mortar store with an incentive beyond just "sale 20% off!" copy. Truly engage on items they're likely to buy based on buying behavior. Do they buy polos? Tell your customer when a new shipment arrives and give them a coupon to come in (so you can track that conversion).
Ultimately, the goal is to entice the visitor to return to your website and turn him or her into a customer. That said, once you win a sale, your job is still not done.
Using Marketing Cloud To Retain Customers and Encourage Repeat Purchases
Marketing efforts should not cease once the customer has made a purchase. Studies show that returning customers are two times more likely to place an item in their carts than new customers, and repeat customers account for 60 percent of global e-commerce companies’ revenue. Moreover, repeat customers cost 10 times less to acquire than new customers. Relationship marketing via Journey Builder can help you earn repeat business and earn loyal customers for life. Some ways in which you can use Journey Builder to garner repeat business are as follows:
Get a 360 view of customer purchasing, browsing and social media sharing habits to build a more relevant and organic customer story.
Analyze changes in customer behavior and use automated journey logic to account for journey splits, unforeseen decisions and unpredicted bouts of customer engagement.
Adjust customer journeys based on current and predicted behavior. For instance, say a customer is more interested in handbags instead of clothing, which she normally purchases. The cloud can account for this unpredicted behavior and revise her personalized messages in real time to account for this shift.
- Use customer loyalty programs to keep track of purchase histories and offer exclusive offers and discounts to members only.
Create an Ongoing Customer Experience
Customers don’t just want to purchase a product once and move on. They want to discover brands to which they can align their own experiences and devote their loyalty. By utilizing relationship marketing, you can help them achieve their own goals and, in doing so, further your own sales goals.