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7 Customer Marketing Strategies for Sustainable Growth

Are you always looking for new customers and focusing on marketing initiatives that bring new leads? 

This approach may work fine to keep you afloat, but if thriving over surviving is your ultimate business goal, you must learn how to leverage your current customers to increase lifetime value and improve retention.  

Solution? Customer marketing initiatives that:

  • Go beyond generic sales pitches
  • Build meaningful and long-term customer relationships
  • Drive loyalty, word-of-mouth, and repeat sales
  • Make you relatable
  • Enhance credibility 

Customer marketing is a type of marketing focused on your existing audience of customers, rather than new leads who don’t know you.

To understand how to grow sustainably, let’s look at seven simple ways to use customer marketing strategies:

1. Personalized email campaigns

Personalized email campaigns offer several boons for sustainable business growth, from improving brand awareness to enhancing customer experience. It’s a direct communication channel for businesses to connect with customers and nurture their interest in your offerings over time. 

Email campaigns also cost less than traditional marketing, making them an effective weapon for building a sustainable lead-generation funnel without draining your resources. 

Analyze customer data and segment your email audience based on: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Ethnicity
  • Profession
  • Behavior 
  • Purchasing history
  • Engagement metrics
  • App and website activity

Proper email segmentation lets you target individual customers and appeal to their unique needs, desires, and challenges. You can try social listening to get a pulse on your audience, refine data, and customize messages accordingly. Capturing micro-moments can also help cater to their immediate need with personalized offerings. 

Moreover, you can create ideal buyer personas to score customers and prioritize them so you don’t waste time on customers without the potential to expand.

After segmentation, focus on email personalization. Ensure you address the recipient by first name, recommend products and features based on their purchase history and activity, and tailor content to their preferences.

Add strong CTA buttons to nudge the recipient to the desired action. They should be clear, action-driven, and easy to locate within the email.

For example, Netflix’s email campaigns are highly personalized. 

The streaming service sends users tailored recommendations once they finish watching a series or a movie. The emails communicate the intent from the start and have action-oriented CTAs.

Use compelling headlines that address the recipient and vibrant visuals to hook their attention and make the email more engaging. Write an email copy that induces curiosity and makes the recipient read the entire message. 

Upsell emails, when personalized, are a great opportunity to expand your revenue with your existing customers. In the example below, Zapier highlights specific team features and entices the user to upgrade to the team plan:

2. Loyalty programs

Acquiring new customers is crucial for scaling a business. However, prioritizing customer retention strategies leads to sustainable growth. Reports show that companies spend 67% more on repeat customers than new customers. 

But with so many brands competing for the same audience, how do you make your existing customers stay with you longer?

Loyalty programs deliver a powerful solution to the customer retention conundrum. They show buyers you appreciate their contribution and incentivize them to shop with you. This strengthens the bond with your customers, increasing their loyalty and retention. 

Track the spending habits of your customer segments to understand which loyalty program format will be ideal for you. 

Design rewards that align with your demographics and customer preferences. For example, you can offer your most popular services for free for a specific number of repeat purchases. A tier-based loyalty program also works wonders in inducing a sense of achievement through gamification. You can offer loyalty points for every purchase, and the more a customer moves up the tiers, the more points they earn.   

Avoid being vague about your loyalty program. It may lead to dissatisfaction and impact your brand image. Ensure the program page mentions pertinent terms and conditions for earning rewards. Total transparency fosters credibility and trust. 

For example, Trip.com offers four tiers of loyalty programs. Users can upgrade to a high tier by booking their flights and hotels on the website. From trip coins and special discounts to refunds and VIP lounge access, the rewards are diverse and appeal to a wider audience. The conditions for each tier are detailed, too. 

Acorns, an investment and savings software, uses another excellent loyalty initiative. Their incentive program, Acorns Earn offers deals from more than 15,000 brands. Instead of giving generic rewards, the brand has driven sustainable growth by creating a financial wellness system through rewards and job opportunities. The idea here is to help users earn more so they invest and save more on the platform.  

3. Referral incentives

With the right tactics, customer referrals can be an impressive catalyst for sustainable business growth. Since they tap into existing customers’ peer networks, you can reach new users without burning a hole in your startup budget

Referrals also create a sense of belonging in customers, enhancing loyalty. Plus, word-of-mouth from referral programs looks more authentic and credible than sales-y pitches. 

Maximize referrals by adding incentives to the blend. They should be relevant and appreciative enough to encourage customer recommendations. Ideally, they should link to your business, such as a free account upgrade, add-ons, or brand merch. However, if you have strategic partnerships with other brands, you can also offer free products or vouchers from them. The rewards don’t have to be extravagant. They just have to communicate that you know your customers and appreciate their promotions.

The secret to the perfect referral program is keeping it simple. Don’t complicate it with too many terms and conditions. To maximize participation, create a separate landing page offering clear instructions and rewards. 

For example, Uber runs a referral program for drivers and users, in which drivers receive monetary rewards and users receive free rides. 

The steps and conditions are defined clearly, along with some additional tips on how a user can make the best of Uber’s referral. 

Fiverr also offers referral incentives, like a $500 credit. Its dedicated page includes all the program details, from the first step to getting credits as incentives. 

4. Social media engagement

Probably only a handful of people aren’t on social media platforms, making them a phenomenal marketing tool. Besides offering a way to reach new audiences, they also generate considerable customer insights that can help you stay relevant in the long run. 

90% of business leaders say their company’s success depends on their ability to use social media data and insights to refine business strategy.

So, harness the power of social media marketing with on-brand and timely content, regular audience interaction, and trendjacking. Find your customer’s preferred channels and when they are the most active. Post regularly on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. If you’re addressing a B2B audience, reach out to your customers on LinkedIn for networking and engagement.  

Tap into social listening to identify trends, relevant industry conversations, and evolving audience preferences for your customers. It helps pinpoint the right topics for your campaigns. 

Create an exclusive Facebook group for your customers and engage with them regularly. Welcome new group members, create thematic weekly posts, share app upgrades, collect feedback, and create AMA sessions with your teams. 

Use a content calendar to plan and organize pieces early on. Try using an auto-scheduler to publish at the right time for maximum reach. 

Participate in relevant conversations and reply promptly to customer comments. Regular audience interaction on social media humanizes your brand, strengthens relationships, and can turn a mere viewer into a repeat customer. 

For example, Wendy’s maintains a thriving presence on Twitter. The brand posts relevant memes, commercials, and animations as a part of its customer marketing strategies. The fast food joint’s Twitter handle is famous for its witty replies and prompt customer service.

Wendy’s also promotes its ongoing offers with clever visuals like the picture below. 

Double down on visuals. Use striking images, videos for storytelling, and infographics to capture attention. Provide relevant value through your content. The audience must receive some actionable insights addressing their challenges. It keeps them coming back for more and nurtures them toward conversion. 

Besides participating in trends, HubSpot’s customer marketing strategies include posting valuable content snippets, clips from webinars, product news, etc., on its Instagram profile. For example, the carousel below showcases insights from its latest marketing report. 

The brand also shares tips and tricks on marketing, professional ethics, and getting organized. Through regular informative content, HubSpot has become a top source for credible information. 

Use social media analytics to monitor engagement metrics. Identify gaps in your social media strategy and changes in audience preferences and adjust your approach accordingly. This will help you sustain your popularity within your audience in the long run. 

5. User-generated content

Gimmicky marketing won’t get you far with today’s savvy customers. They value authenticity, and real customer experiences more than fancy commercials.

Solution? Including UGC marketing in your customer marketing strategies. 

Organic content posted by real users acts as social proof and makes your audience believe in your product’s capability. It’s a cost-effective way to build trust, reach broader audiences, and get more customers. You can start by looking for trending products to sell and encourage more content.

Host UGC challenges to excite the audience and maximize submission. Challenge-based content also helps beat the finicky algorithm and shows up in more feeds. 

Create branded hashtags for UGC campaigns to build exclusivity. Unique hashtags help track relevant UGC. Keep a small reward to make the campaign more appealing.  

For example, GoPro runs a UGC contest called “Photo of the Day.” They select and post the best photograph from submissions every day on Instagram. The OP also gets a $500 GoPro award. 

If you are collecting UGC without hosting a contest, don’t forget to ask explicit permission from the creator. Always tag them after posting it on your profile. Embed UGC on your website, too. Add snippets of testimonials or UGC video clips on the signup page to improve your chances of conversion. 

Damian Grabarczyk, the co-founder and growth marketer of PetLab Co., says:

“User-generated content is a cornerstone of our marketing strategy. We engage our community by inviting them to share their stories and photos, showcasing real-world results, and building a deeper connection with our audience. We create a consistent narrative that resonates across all touchpoints by integrating these authentic testimonials into our social media, email campaigns, and blog posts. This strategy enhances our brand’s credibility and fosters a loyal community that sees real value in our products and feels part of our brand’s journey.”

6. Exclusive offers for existing customers

Building a strong customer base takes considerable effort. To sustain it, you must adopt innovative ways to keep them hooked on your brand. One way to do this is by providing exclusive offers and attractive vouchers. 

This approach elevates customer satisfaction, increases average order value and customer lifetime value, and re-engages customers. It also makes customers feel appreciated and boosts loyalty. 

Design and promote offers based on individual customer preferences through automated email campaigns. Monitor website activities. Has a customer shown interest in your product but dropped off before checking out? You can send them a nudge email with a discount code to encourage purchase completion.

Mindmapping software Mindmeister pushes its users to upgrade once a user shows interest in a premium feature. If you click on a locked premium feature or visit their billing page, you will receive a nudge email with a small discount that urges you to upgrade today:

Give existing customers access to early product launches and free upgrades. If you host events, you can offer them free entry. 

7. Community-building events

Building a community creates customer relationships that go beyond mere transactions. Customers start seeing your brand as more than a business; it becomes an important part of their lives. 

Hosting events is a good place to start with community building. You give your loyal customers a space to interact with fellow enthusiasts, build connections, and enjoy memorable experiences. Such efforts craft a positive brand image, differentiate you from competitors, drive promising leads into the pipeline, and contribute to sustainable growth.

Plan an agenda based on your event marketing goals. Reserve time for various activities like workshops, panel discussions, games, networking sessions, etc. Set up pop-up stores where your reps can educate attendees on your products, feature updates, and upcoming launches. 

Exercise equipment and media company Peloton Interactive hosts an annual community event called “Homecoming.” It brings together the fitness enthusiasts and fans of the brand for a weekend jampacked with exercise sessions, live classes, discussions, immersive experiences, and brand announcements. 

As one of the attendees shared, “When I think about the strength of the Peloton brand, I think about the strength of the community.”

Conclusion

To drive sustainable growth and increase the revenue from your existing customers, your customer marketing efforts must be data-based and diligent. Building enough brand credibility to sustain success and achieve desired results in the long run takes time. 

Follow these customer marketing strategies to build a profitable and sustainable business even during the harshest market conditions:

  • Remember long-term goals while making even the smallest business decisions
  • Use social listening to stay updated on recent topics and conversations 
  • Create fun and engaging content that delivers value and addresses specific challenges
  • Use a style guide to keep your social media presence on-brand 
  • Hold live sessions and AMAs to build personal connections
  • Use marketing automation for timely communication
  • Promote referral initiatives and loyalty programs on your socials
  • Host events that create life-long memories 
  • Offer stellar customer support
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Meet your new marketing automation platform

Customer messaging tools don’t automate workflows outside your product and marketing automation tools are bad at behavior emails. Encharge is the best of both worlds — a marketing automation platform built specifically for B2B SaaS businesses

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Camille Richon
Founder Payfacile
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