It’s that time of year again! As 2017 comes to a close, businesses are facing the arduous task of reviewing their goals from the past year and implementing new, ambitious strategies for growth in 2018.
Digital opportunities have become the darling of marketing while traditional channels like print or television continue to show a decline in total marketing investment, according to Econsultancy’s Marketing Budgets 2016 Report. However, the sheer number of digital options can make it difficult to determine how to allocate the budget.
Businesses looking to strengthen loyalty, improve products, and drop support costs should consider an online community. Let’s look at how they can support your brand’s broader business goals and provide a strong return on investment.
Acquire Invaluable Feedback
At the most basic level, online communities are all about making your customers feel like they’re part of something. They’re about building relationships around a shared love of a brand or product. They can also provide brands with a significantly deeper understanding of customer pain points.
Knowing why people are unhappy is the first step towards turning things around. Translating that feedback into real, actionable changes can lead to streamlined processes, improved products and increased customer retention.
Build Brand Loyalty
Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one, so brand loyalty can have a huge impact on your bottom line. But according to the Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2013, companies are more focused on acquisition (44%) than they are on retention (16%).
An online community can help a brand build better relationships with customers and make it more difficult for the competition to lure them away. By creating a hub where you’re easily able to engage customers, provide them with exclusive offerings, and build up hype, your business will see customer satisfaction skyrocket and repurchase rates surge.
In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.
Increase Retention and Drop Costs
Poor customer service can be costly. According to KISSMetrics, 71% of consumers have ended a relationship with a company due to poor customer service. In addition to that, 61% of consumers take their business to a competitor after ending their relationship with a brand.
In our fast-paced, technology-driven society, customers want to access support in a way that feels comfortable to them. Many of today’s consumers don’t want to follow the traditional routes for resolving issues and prefer to find a solution on their own. Online communities can facilitate superior customer service and support by offering quick solutions to customer questions.
As your community grows, you’ll see members taking on different roles: expert educators, eager learners, and behind-the-scenes lurkers, to name a few. The first group are vital as they provide feedback and support to their fellow customers, which reduces customer support costs and builds community.
While acquiring new customers should be a priority for a growing brand, focusing on reducing costs and retaining customers can also have a big impact on a business’s bottom line.