One of the major problems faced by eCommerce businesses today is customer retention. It is easy to attract new leads to your online store via attractive advertisements and social media marketing. But, retaining them and turning them into repeat customers is the toughest part.
The long-term success of your online store is determined by how wide you grow your customer base. Building trust with your customers and making them come back to you is something that you must start focusing on right from the start.
In the article, you’ll get insights into some effective tactics to expand your online store’s customer base. We are not just talking about one-time customers here. We are talking about loyal customers and brand advocates.
1. Research Your Ideal Customer Well
Have you thought about who is your ideal customer? If it is something that sounds like “middle-aged women”, then you haven’t figured it out yet. Understanding the behavior of your ideal customer persona(s) can make the world of difference to your online store’s success.
- Start with a rough draft of your ideal customer persona. You can do this by researching your competitors. Go through their social media and customer reviews. This way you’ll get a fair idea about what your customer persona would look like.
- Craft some basic details such as demographics, education, experience, family background, location, interests, pain points, and future goals.
- You can also use various forums, social media groups, and Google search to go deep into their likes and dislikes.
Source: 99 designs
This step is essential for expanding your customer base because without understanding your ideal customer, you won’t be able to target them.
2. Create Consistent, High-Quality Content
Content marketing is super important if you are serious about growing your online store. As a new store owner, you would often find it difficult to trust your audience.
A typical example would be the case where you bring traffic to your online store through PPC and social media. But, these visitors rarely convert. If this is the case with you, then the problem is much deeper.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 eCommerce consumers take their time to research a product online and then decide whether to purchase it? Hence you must start creating consistent, high-quality content to stay relevant and get noticed by your prospects.
- Start with content mapping. Decide on the kind of content that you want to create for each stage of your sales funnel. Ideate content for awareness, consideration, and decision stages of your funnel.
- Come up with a content calendar for your blog posts as well as social media content. You can create content in various formats such as articles, case studies, infographics, videos, and similar more.
- Promote your content on as many platforms as possible. This will improve brand awareness and increase your visibility amongst your target audience.
3. Encourage Inclusivity and Accessibility Compliance
For expanding your customer base, encouraging an environment of inclusivity is very crucial. If you don’t open your platform for the less privileged, you are closing down on many opportunities.
Did you know that 20% of Americans suffer from emotional, mental, or physical disabilities? These people wouldn’t be able to access your website as other users would. By ignoring such a large population of people, you cannot expect to expand your customer base to its fullest potential.
Therefore, you must implement web accessibility and adhere to ADA guidelines if you want to expand your online store customer base. Web accessibility includes many UI adjustments and design alterations.
An ADA compliance solution can help you make your entire website accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities. This can be the first step you take towards inclusivity. You’ll attract numerous customers and a good reputation to your website this way.
4. Go All-in on Email Marketing
Social media platforms are ever-changing. The ones that are trending today may not be so popular after a couple of years. Hence the community that you build on your social media might not be as long-lasting as you think.
But what about an email? Emails are never going out of trend. And thus, the email list that you build will be relevant and yours forever. No one can seize your email reach or ban you from sending emails, as it might happen in the case of social media.
This is why building a string email community can be one of the most important factors contributing to your online store’s loyal customer base. Moreover, email marketing is known to yield an ROI of about 3800%! So, don’t wait for the right time. Start building your email subscriber base today.
- Offer unique and valuable content in the form of lead magnets in exchange for your prospects’ email ids. Ensure that the content you offer is something that can be of immense help to your users. It should be something that solves their pain points and adds value to their lives.
- Send highly personalized email newsletters to your email subscribers. Keep them updated with the latest industry trends or any other useful tips that your prospects would be interested in.
- Most importantly, share exclusive discounts, bonuses, and offers with your email lists. This will lead to increased open rates and improvement in conversion rates.
5. Team Up With Impactful Influencers
The influencer marketing industry has seen rapid growth in the past few years. Most successful eCommerce brands have leveraged this trend and are seeing great results. You too can adopt an influencer marketing campaign to grow your customer base.
Through influencer marketing, you are essentially borrowing from some else’s customer base. Influencers have earned the trust of their customers through hard work over the years. Hence, when influencers promote your online store to their followers, you’ll see a considerable increase in your customer base.
Remember to pick influencers whose customer base matches your ideal customer persona. Experiment with different types of influencers, ranging from celebrities to micro-influencers.
6. Create Social Media Contests
Social media contests and giveaways are an excellent way to attract new and unexplored customer bases. To run a successful social media contest, you need to come up with the main contest idea, rewards, and selection criteria. You also need to come up with a plan for promoting your online contest or giveaway.
You can create innovative contest ideas such as photo contests, video contests, scavenger hunts, QnA, quizzes, etc.
Remember to create contests that will resonate well with your ideal customer persona. Experimenting with different contest ideas, rewards, and social media platforms can help you get the most ROI out of these contests.
7. Craft Innovative Hashtag Campaigns
Hashtags are not just a social media search option. Hashtags go way beyond that. They have the power to influence people and go viral overnight. All you need is a branded hashtag and a creative campaign idea.
You can create hashtags around social causes that your brand supports. Promote it heavily on social media. Add a genuine contribution to the cause and put a sincere effort to increase awareness. You’ll definitely see an increased customer base once you are done with the campaign.
User-generated campaigns are another great way to create traction around your branded hashtags. For instance, Zalando, a fashion brand, has used several hashtags to promote user-generated content.
In this example, the brand encourages people to post on Instagram with the hashtag #ChangeNeverEnds. These campaigns work great for gaining visibility amongst new and unexplored audiences.
8. Leverage Referral Marketing
Referral marketing is a gold mine for attracting new, high-quality leads to your customers. All you have to do is offer rewards in exchange for referrals from your existing customers. The reward can be discounts, special offers, cashback points, gifts, exclusive deals, and similar more.
Through referral marketing, you’ll retain your existing customers for a long time by increasing customer satisfaction. You’ll also be expanding your customer base by large numbers by attracting new customers who are already interested in your offerings.
9. Never Stop Working on SEO
People often search for eCommerce products or research through Google. They automatically trust the top results that come up on Google search results. By ranking on Google, you establish your online store’s authority. Hence, working on your online store’s SEO is a must.
SEO takes a lot of time to show tangible results as compared to other mediums. But your efforts will be worth it. Using SEO, you’ll be able to generate consistent, passive traffic to your website, thus leading to a massive increase in your loyal customer base.
Moreover, SEO implementation techniques such as product schema can help your products to show as shoppable links directly on Google searches. The schema also helps to display your product reviews and ratings on the Google search results page. Hence, is very important to keep working consistently on SEO for your online store.
Building a strong base of loyal customers takes time and consistent efforts. You should always direct your efforts towards long term strategies instead of aiming for tactics that only give you instant gratification.
The techniques provided in this article are a great place to get inspired and start implementing for increasing your customer base. Hence, take the first step of growing your online store in the right direction starting now.
About The Author
Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing. He likes sharing his knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from marketing to human capital management and much more. His work is featured in several authoritative business publications. Connect with him on Twitter at @BelaniGaurav