The cost associated with selling to an established customer is usually much lower than that of selling to a first-time customer. So, while direct mail is a powerful tool for acquiring customers, it’s important not to overlook its ability to build customer loyalty.
Direct mail marketing strategies for building customer loyalty
“Loyalty,” the umbrella term used for retaining customers and building sales, is a burgeoning marketing field with its own best practices. But the basics of attaining loyalty are largely intuitive, which means you can implement many strategies on your own.
Target your most-profitable customers.
With tracking, you’ll soon learn which are your most frequent and profitable customers. Focusing on keeping your best customers and increasing their business is more affordable, and is likely to earn a greater return, than blanketing all (including unprofitable) customers.
Surprise and delight.
Unexpected touches can work wonders. A simple thank-you note in the mail, for instance, is powerful. You increase that power by ensuring that it doesn’t look mass produced, even if it really is.
Use your own personal note card or letterhead, with what is (or at least appears to be) a hand signature in blue ink. This creates the impression of a personal communication. On occasion, send a gift card or coupon for free merchandise, or offer a better-than-advertised deal.
Give special privileges.
According special privileges is a proven way to enhance feelings of loyalty, often with greater effect than giving away freebies. That’s because, whether they admit it or not, most people love having a privilege when they know that others don’t have it.
You might provide your best customers a straight-to-the-CEO e-mail address, spare them a wait in line, reserve them a special parking space, open the store early one day to accommodate their schedule, offer a free delivery … your imagination is the limit.
Offer reward cards.
Reward cards track purchases until the customer has earned a freebie. The classic use: buy 10 cups of Joe or sandwiches, and the next one is free. If you use reward cards, however, track carefully. Sometimes instead of increasing frequency and loyalty, they simply lead to giving away what you might have sold anyway, and at full price.
A good loyalty program pays for itself. Be sure to maintain a control group that resembles your loyalty group, but that doesn’t participate in the program. If the loyalty group produces more revenue than the control, chances are your program is working.