The very first step in any marketing campaign is identifying the desired outcome. I often ask clients if they’re hoping to increase sales or boost the number of customers they have. These two outcomes sound similar, but they’re really not identical. As a business owner, you have to make a strategic choice.
Where Is Your Money Coming From?
Every business generates revenue in its own unique way. It’s a good idea to periodically stop and assess your customer base. Objectively identify who is doing business with you, and what type of business they’re doing. Do you have regular customers you see often, or is your business kept afloat by a steady stream of fresh faces? E-Commerce may seem like it happens in a void, but analytic tools offer a wealth of actionable information. Consider your reports to determine where your shoppers are coming from; make a special note of clusters of customers who buy from you often.
What We Know About Millennial Shoppers
Millennials value the quality of the relationships they have with the brands they do business with. It’s important to them that orders are acknowledged quickly, that accurate tracking information is readily available, and that they can connect with a real person in real time if they have any concerns or questions. For all the conventional wisdom that tells us Millennials don’t have any disposable income, this generation has proven that they’re more than willing to spend – and spend more – when they feel they’re getting their money’s worth.
What This Means To Your Campaign Strategy
Millennials aren’t dumb. If you offer a significant incentive, they’ll take advantage of the savings opportunity. But Millennial loyalty can’t be bought. If all you’re doing is incentivizing, and that deeper, more meaningful relationship just isn’t there, the Millennial shopper is easily attracted to the next brand that puts up a coupon code.
Cultivating Relationships Takes Time
Generating a quick sales surge can be as simple as slashing prices. However, for most small business owners, that’s not a sustainable strategy. Cultivating relationships that generate ongoing, repeat business takes longer, but is in the long term a more profitable route.
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Relationships are developed on many fronts in the digital world. Think of your website as home base – it’s where your Millennial customer will turn to for accurate information about your business’ essentials. Being reliable builds trust, so make sure that everything your shopper finds on your website reflects what happens in the ‘real world’.
Social media provides brands a platform to demonstrate their unique appeal – bear in mind that customers who aren’t engaging with your content directly are still aware of it and definitely observe how you reply to other shoppers. Brands like Wendy’s have generated tremendous good will and loyalty among Millennial shoppers by bringing a little attitude into their social media conversations – it’s more than okay to be yourself when your target customer appreciates authenticity.
Messaging apps are an increasingly important customer service channel, and it’s vital to ensure your company has the systems in place to field and respond to customer inquiries as they come in. When you’re just chasing sales, if a message or two slips through unanswered, it’s not great, but it’s not catastrophic. When you’re deliberately attempting to cultivate long lasting relationships, you won’t want to let that happen.
You Can Want More Than One Thing
The choice between increased sales and stronger customer relationships isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. There’s nothing wrong with running periodic price-based incentive campaigns. They generate excitement and are a nice way to reward your regular customers. That being said, it’s well worth it to invest the time and resources into developing the steady customer base so you can enjoy the profits without continually cutting into your own bottom line.