Customer loyalty and retention is becoming more and more important for Australian businesses. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, with ever decreasing customer allegiance, it can be a tough challenge, especially for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). In light of this increased competition, many businesses are looking to increase their advertising presence. But advertising is only the first step in the customer cycle. Once you have attracted a customer, you must then convert them to a sale and attempt to engage them long-term.
Steven Prestidge, general manager, ReachLocal Australia said; “With more consumers shopping around and fewer exhibiting the kind of loyalty we might have seen a decade ago it is vital that Australian businesses understand how to engage their customers and take them from discovering a brand to becoming a loyal, returning customer.”
Online marketing services company ReachLocal gives local Australian businesses the five steps they need to understand the customer lifecycle and ensure customers keep coming back.
1. Consider the trends
Think about where advertising growth is happening in your industry. In general, digital advertising is growing by 25 per cent per annum, whilst newspaper advertising has contracted by 2 per cent and magazines by 8 per cent. Because of this, there has been a big move to digital forms of advertising and specifically for SMEs, to search engine advertising.
2. Know your search engines
There are three main search engines in Australia, Google, Yahoo and 9MSN. Each of these has different audience types and will yield very different results. In order to get the best from search you must consider your audience. For example, Google shows a greater propensity towards more ‘masculine’ searches, whilst Yahoo is used more for searches such as plastic surgery, wedding gowns and holidays, as women have a higher propensity to search on Yahoo. It is vital to track and optimise your key words for each, rather than have a blanket approach across all three.
3. Decide where to advertise and monitor the results
Around 90 per cent of advertisers expect to make a profit from advertising, but very few can actually measure the return on investment. Once you have assessed the advertising trends and decided which channel you are going to advertise through, make sure you are able to track what is and isn’t working. This can be done through cookie-based systems which provide specific traceable email addresses or phone numbers.
4. Assess other digital products that can help support customers
Customers now demand to be able to shop when and how it suits them. They want the information or help they require immediately. If they don’t get it from your company, they will simply go elsewhere. Give customers a method of instant feedback or customer support such as a ‘live chat’ option. This can not only improve your return on investment by 30 per cent over search alone, but can also be helpful for minimising any negative comments from existing customers that otherwise might be left on social media sites.
5. Reinforce your brand and product familiarity through re-marketing
Even with a well-executed campaign, up to 90 per cent of visitors to your website will drop off without interacting directly through a sale or quote. Re-marketing offers a valuable opportunity to get those potential customers back by reminding them about your business. It also helps reinforce your brand and build product familiarity. Using cookies is an effective way to enable re-marketing and can be used to tailor further advertising and promotions.
ReachLocal: Inc.’s (NASDAQ: RLOC) mission is to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) acquire, maintain and retain customers via the Internet. ReachLocal offers a comprehensive suite of online marketing solutions, including search engine marketing (ReachSearch™), Web presence (ReachCast™), display advertising (ReachDisplay), retargeting advertising (ReachRemarketing), assisted live-chat technology (TotalLiveChat™) and online marketing analytics (TotalTrack®), each targeted to the SME market. ReachLocal delivers this suite of services to SMEs through a combination of its proprietary technology platform and its direct, “feet-on-the-street” sales force of Internet Marketing Consultants and select third party agencies and resellers. ReachLocal is headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA, with offices throughout North America and in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Slovskia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia. In Australia, ReachLocal has a direct office in Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.