Inspire Your Holiday Shoppers To Become Lifelong Customers

Are you ready for your holiday shoppers? Here’s why you’ll want to get your marketing sorted sooner rather than later: seasonal shoppers aren’t just one-hit wonders. They can be converted into lifelong customers.

In the retail industry, and many others, you can literally make it or break it in a single season. So the possibility of retaining customers on an ongoing basis is a pretty big deal.

Of course, there are some other factors at play as well. Like there being more channels than ever to reach customers, making it easier to do. This can seem delightful when you think about your own engagement efforts. And a bit horrifying when you think of your competitors closing in.

So how do you outwit your competition and outlast the holiday season? Plan like you’ve never planned before. And start with your target audience.

Create Buyer Personas

You can’t market to your target audience if you don’t know who they are. To give you a hand with starting this process you may want to use Hubspot’s Make My Persona tool. Then using those insights dive in.

Try setting up your buyer personas like you would set up a social media profile. Include details such as location, age, gender, employment, relationship status, interests and shopping habits. And consider how these things are impacted by time of year.

Make note of pain points and interests and how these can be leveraged to direct customer intent to your products. Also, consider what could be holding them back from making a purchase.

Finally, think about all the channels you can utilize to reach your ideal customer(s). With just about 2 months to Black Friday, you can start producing and promoting content and ad campaigns that are relevant, helpful and personal to your target audience. And once you’ve started establishing those real connections, you can continue this form of engagement long after.

Rather than simply use the proximity of the holidays as a trigger event, think bigger picture. And your customers will be more likely to make you a part of theirs.

Map Your Customer’s Journeys

Marketing funnels used to be A LOT more predictable. But today they continue to be altered all the time by a variety of interactions. These can range from awareness and engagement on social media to email marketing – and many more moments in between. 

A big part of this is how much ownership consumers are taking over their buyer journeys. They are demanding immediate answers that will take them from wanting to know to buying. And they aren’t as interested in the low hanging fruit you’re using to try to guide them through a funnel. So rather than assuming your buyers’ personas, and building irrelevant funnels, dig through your data and create experiences that build loyalty.

Atlassian provides a great process for mapping out your customers’ journeys and Hubspot does as well. Check out their ideas, and maybe even try mixing and matching them both.

Getting Past The One Hit Wonder

The holidays are a time of constant adrenaline rushes. You’re whipping out marketing campaigns, for your own business or for your clients’. Engagement levels and sales start soaring. Stock runs lower. Top sellers are getting pumped out, and even those products that may not move other times of year are flying. You’re ecstatic and on top of the world. Or maybe you’ve had too many coffees. It’s hard to tell.

Then poof. It’s all over.

In the flurry of action, it can seem impossible to pause and implement a retention strategy. So, don’t wait until the holidays are upon us. Plan it all out now. And implement it, each time the dust settles. Have a strategy for how you will deepen connections with customers after each holiday and sales event.

This could be as simple as using your CTAs more effectively. Remember your end goal should not be just to drive customers to buy during BFCM (Black Friday Cyber Monday) or for Christmas; it should be that in addition to retaining them as customers in the longer run.

Think of different CTAs you can use in your ad campaigns to drive awareness, interest, and engagement. For example: Sign Up, Try For Free, Get Started or Learn More.

Nurture New Relationships

After individual holiday events are done, focus on interactions that will nurture your new relationships. And automate these processes. Set up a sequence of thoughtful emails through an automated email outreach tool. Mailshake and Close.IO are some great options.

Tell your customers about your brand. Introduce them to your story and your value propositions. And do this in ways that create value for them. There’s no faster way to have customers delete your messages then sending emails that are self-serving and too salesy. Especially following major sales events during which they’ve been inundated with these approaches already.

And then keep the conversation going. Share content that is educational, entertaining and share other customers’ stories. Curate and create content that represents your brand culture. You can also consider raising awareness about your offerings and value props through link building and content promotion with tools like Respona.

If you need help designing your content, Kimp can help you out with our unlimited graphic design service. Check out the types of creatives we design here.

Acquire, Engage, Retain, Repeat

There’s a lot that can be left to chance when it comes to holiday marketing. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to minimize this.

Tools that support marketing analysis can help identify shoppers who are most likely to become your loyal customers. Consider options like Hot Jar which allows you to see exactly how your users interact with your site. Or Ahrefs which allows you to get a detailed overview of your competitors’ activities and grow your search traffic. And of course, Google Analytics is a must. You can learn how to make the most of it using Google’s FREE courses.  

There are also lots of other tools that can help you accelerate acquisition, engagement, and retention. Investing in them to help automate your business will help you remain consistent across channels and different forms of engagement with buyers.

These include MailChimp for email marketing, Crisp or Intercom for targeted in-app and push messages, and ManyChat for building out Facebook messenger bots. All these touchpoints can help engage your customers throughout their buyer journeys with helpful prompts and tips. This, in turn, allows you to position yourself according to their needs rather than your selling points.

And one more tip. Also effective to keep your holiday shoppers engaged, are customized retargeting ads. Add a Facebook or AdRoll pixel to your site, if you don’t already have one, to track your shoppers. And then have a few ads created specifically for this audience. Your ad spends here won’t be significant, as this will be a relatively small custom audience. But the return could be a long-term customer. 

Deliver On Promises & Exceed Expectations

Do this with amazing customer service, online and in person. You need every member of your team to pull out all the stops. Interactions leading up to and throughout the holidays can and will make an impact. And retention starts from that point.

Consider offering free shipping without a minimum order. This could encourage repeat purchases within this holiday season itself.

And once a purchase is made, try sending thank you notes with an offer. Holiday purchases are often gifts. And even when they’re not, the holidays hit everyone’s bank balance hard. Send your customer an offer that they can use, no strings attached.

If it’s more relevant, you can always just follow up to make sure that your product is operating as intended. You can also offer tips and tricks for making the most of it and provide customer service and warranty details while you’re at it.

If you’re in between promotions, it’s also effective to inform customers of their options in the event that they need to return merchandise. It takes away any perceived risk in placing an order with a new business and it shows that you put their interests first.

Nurture Your New Relationships

A loyalty program is an excellent way to engage and retain customers. Building one comes down to three simple criteria: 

  1. It has to be easy to earn rewards.
  2. Viewing and using rewards should be simple. 
  3. Customers should be nurtured to return whenever they are ready to buy again.

This goes back to email campaigns and other forms of automation that ensure your customers know that you are there for them. And if you build this right, your customers will there for you come Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and everything in between.

Focus On Customer Lifetime Value

The ultimate message we’re trying to convey is that you need to focus on customer lifetime value, instead of one-time customer acquisition.

And in order to do so, you need to consistently test and learn. Start now, and carry it out throughout the holidays and beyond. This will help you determine how effective your marketing efforts are when looking at retention rates and customer lifetime value.

Think this way and you won’t just be setting yourself up for a solid 2019 holiday season. You’ll start off 2020 with a bang, with all the data you need to continue to nurture and engage your new customers through the campaigns they respond to best.