The Complete Guide to Reconversion
Posted by TomRoberts
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc.
A great deal of emphasis is placed on inbound marketing and attracting new customers. However, we should be careful not to neglect the existing clients that we may have. These people are just as important as new customers and more often than not can provide you with a great return of investment. We should give our existing clients the marketing focus they deserve.
In this guide, I will look at why remarketing and reconverting your clients can be a valuable tactic for your business, while also providing examples on how we can do just that.
I hope you find this guide to be something a little bit different than what we normally see on Moz and, most of all, I hope you find it useful. I’d love it if you could read through the whole post, but for those revisiting or those strapped for time, here are a few links to jump you to each chapter:
|Prelude: What Prompted the Post||Chapter 1: I Demand Satisfaction|
|Chapter 2: Don't Count Out a Discount||Chapter 3: The Best Things in Life are Free|
|Chapter 4: The Lost Art of Email Marketing||Chapter 5: Community is Key|
|Conclusion: Let's Get Out There|
I am just a poor boy, though my story’s seldom told. We don’t see an awful lot of in-house SEO perspectives here on SEOmoz and even less so from the financial services sector, of which my current role is in. This does give me the opportunity, however, to provide a real case study of how a company has identified the need to get more value from the client base and how they have done so.
Basically, our company provides a way for people to trade the financial markets, things like equities, currency pairs and so on. We provide this service in a number of countries across Europe, with the UK being our primary market.
The curious thing about this industry, over the last 6-12 months is that, while we as a company have acquired new clients somewhat exponentially, the trading volumes of those clients, effectively the amount that they have been trading, has not seen the same amount of growth. This is something that is reported to be affecting the industry as a whole.
There are likely a number of factors that are contributing to this. Market volatility as a whole is at a record low, while we are also reviewing our marketing channels to see which ones are providing the most worth to us. However, the thing that we felt we had most control over was ensuring that our clients were as happy as they could possibly be with us, which in turn would extend the time period they want to trade with us and would do so with more frequency.
This guide will aim to show what we have done as a company to help ensure our clients are satisfied with us and want to reconvert and how these methods can apply to a wide range of industries.
If you’re trying to get people to come back to your business and reconvert, they better have had a bloomin’ good experience the first time round. It goes without saying that people will need to have a positive experience with your company to even consider returning, regardless of whatever marketing campaign you are using to entice them back.
Therefore, the first part of any reconversion strategy is ensuring that the conversion the first time round is as smooth as possible. If you’re working on an ecommerce site, cart abandonment is always a hot topic and I really like Russ Henneberry’s guide on decreasing abandonment over on CrazyEgg.
The best way to know whether or not you are being well received is to have an open dialogue with your clients. SEOmoz is a great example of this, while at ETX Capital we always display a free contact number on our website, so that people only have to pick up the phone to talk with us. Being readily available on social media, particularly Twitter, is another great way to garner client feedback. Over 30% of top brands have launched a dedicated customer service handle and I’d advise you to check out the Simply Measured case study on brands’ Twitter activity.
You may also want to consider asking your clients to leave you their feedback on external review sites, such as Review Centre. Not only do you often get detailed feedback from people leaving reviews, your ranking here can help you obtain rich snippets in your PPC ads. If you receive over 30 reviews for your business and keep an average rating of 4 or more, you can have fancy, shmancy stars appear next to your ads like these:
Oh my God – it’s full of stars!
Finally, you definitely need to check out Joshua Unseth’s SEOmoz post on using Google Analytics for a Q&A strategy. Not only is it a brilliant resource, it can also help you discover what people are asking about your brand in Google search. You may find some trends on your service that you can address prior to people converting.
It might seem simple, but it is often effective. Offering discounts to returning customers is a great way to have them return and to build up a bit of brand loyalty. I can remember in November last year that I had a mullet to rival Billy Ray Cyrus and I decided that it was time for a smart cut. I went to Rush salon with no intention of returning for regular cuts, as I thought it was a bit pricey. One loyalty card stamp and two 25% off cuts later and I’m already looking forward to my next princess day!
Repeat customers very often cost less than acquiring new customers, so when you’re working out your margins and what discount you can afford to give, cost is definitely something you will want to consider.
Implementing the discount system is something that should not be underestimated either. For the ecommerce SEOs out there, you can find some very useful extensions for your CMS. OpenCart is arguably one of the best CMS systems out there right now and these three extensions may be of interest for you.
Providing physical discounts is still a very popular method as well. Providing branded cards with a discount code is a popular trick used by Amazon, when sending out its products (I must have had £600 worth of wine vouchers sent to me in three months, what are they trying to say?). I have to say I am a fan of the loyalty stamp card and I’ve often wondered why more businesses do not employ an online solution to this. For all intents and purposes, the Tesco Clubcard is a loyalty card that stores your data online, allowing you to redeem points for discounts – perhaps this could be applicable to your business?
Gamification is not something to be underestimated either. We see a lot of gamification in the health industry – I’d love to see a gym take it one step further and have a workout leader board. When you join the gym, you would be given a chip that logs all of your exercise on the machines. The people who run the most miles, burn the most calories, generate the most watts and so on would be given discounted membership for 1/3/6 months. It would offer an incentive for people to exercise harder, which can only be a good thing, while giving the gym some really positive PR.
The Fandom of the Oprah is plain to see
Everyone loves free stuff, am I right? But how does giving stuff away for free translate into returning customers?
Remember, this is all about building brand loyalty and a satisfied consumer base. If you can achieve that, not only might customers be more inclined to use your services again, but happy customers may refer their friends to your business as well. Repeat customers can be walking billboards for business.
Having said that, it would be wise to plan your giveaway so that you can gain something else as well, in case the reconversions don’t come. Let me use an example of a recent contest we held on our Facebook page.
We recently offered some trading credit to our clients if they could correctly guess the US employment report, also known as the non-farm payrolls, at the start of the month. The ultimate aim was to reignite interest in trading and to see an increase in trading volumes, but we knew that we could also see the following benefits, if planned correctly:
- An increase in ‘likes’ on our page.
- An increase in engagement on other posts.
- An increase in traffic and conversions, assisted or otherwise.
Because of the potential multi-benefits, we were happy to go ahead with the giveaway and I’d recommend that people look for similar multi-level benefits before parting with their product or service for nothing.
After contacting our existing clients by email on the day that the contest went live, as well as previewing the contest earlier in the week via our social media channels, we ended up seeing some great results. The ‘likes’ on our page increased substantially, analytics is reporting an increase in assisted Facebook conversions that week and we’ve also been seeing some increased engagement on our regular market updates, which is great to see. Having this open communication with our clients allows us to keep in touch with their wants and needs.
The icing on the cake is that we have also seen increased trading volumes in the days and weeks since the competition was launched. Without giving away too much sensitive information, I think it would be safe to say our initial outlay in terms of cost has been recuperated and then some.
According to the DMA 2012 conference, for every $1 spent on email marketing $40.56 is returned (The Email Marketing Trend Slideshare from Silverpop is a great read, if you’ve not seen it already). It surprises me that we don’t see it mentioned more often here, as it can be a great way of getting your clients to reconvert.
Many of the previous tips I have mentioned in this post have been used emails in order to generate interest, such as contacting our client base to alert them about the Facebook contest we were running. That’s not really marketing, but it is an indication that email is still one of the best ways to communicate with your customers.
Email marketing is a great way of interacting with your inactive user base and get them reconverting. There is a great CNET case study on Marketing Sherpa that looks at how offering incentives can get people to reconvert. The key takeaways are making sure that you:
- Accurately segment your lists – ie knowing what group has been inactive for 60-120 days, which clients have been inactive for 120+ and so on.
- Come up with a number of engagement tactics to test.
- Identify with your team what constitutes as reactivation or reconversion.
If you’re using a decent CRM system, you will be able to track user activity, or lack thereof, in a lot of detail, such as date of last login, recent transactions etc. Using this data, you can segment your users how you want and can judge for yourself what classifies as an inactive user, for example. We use SalesForce for this purpose, but different size businesses may find better solutions elsewhere, so it is worth researching. PC World has featured five useful CRMs for small businesses in the past.
The above CNET case study makes for a great read and I think an email marketing campaign can be taken one step further by running a Facebook custom audience campaign. There is an excellent SEOmoz blog post on this topic that you should definitely check out, with one of the key highlights of custom audiences being that you can import and target people from your email list only. This obviously relies on a person using the same email for Facebook as they did with your website, but there’s a fairly decent chance that they would have. With this level of targeting, you can serve them relevant ads to supplement your email campaign, without breaking the budget.
If you’re looking to learn more about email marketing, the Aweber and Deliverability blogs are great places to start, while the email marketing whitepaper from MailChimp is a great free resource as well.
Erm…probably not this Community
Community managers: rejoice! This chapter celebrates you and all the things that you do.
This is arguably the most important section of the guide. Nurturing your community is essential for reconversion, which is something that I have alluded to throughout this guide. The better the experience a customer has with your site, the more likely there are to return, reconvert and refer.
Remember, your community is most likely an open forum and not just the people who have used, worked with or are associated with your online business. This means that you need to create a positive community for people pre-conversion as much as you need to create a positive one for post-conversion folks.
Having high quality engagements with your community is one of the most direct ways of catering to their needs. Social media is an obvious outlet for this, but sometimes it can be hard to work out which social media channel would be best, both for levels of engagement and also for usability reasons. We have already talked about how customer service handles on Twitter can offer a direct response channel, but LinkedIn is often overlooked.
Linkedin discussion groups can be a great place to engage with your community, whether it’s in your own group or joining in the discussion elsewhere. More often than not, when you’re providing and contributing to useful discussions on LinkedIn, you are not just helping your community, but also your unaided brand awareness. One of the most famous examples of a big brand using LinkedIn is Hewlett Packard.
That is a summary of the HP case study provided by LinkedIn, which you can read in full here: http://marketing.linkedin.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/LinkedIn_HPUKCaseStudy2011.pdf. HP identified that their community and the demographic that they wanted to target were present on LinkedIn and so created a non-branded, general small business discussion group that allowed users to help one another out. Despite it being non-promotional, HP saw great results as a result of unaided brand awareness and the work that they had put into the community.
Hosting discussions such as these on LinkedIn brings with it an element of trust, as it is being hosted on a website people can trust and they would probably be more inclined to engage on than perhaps your own hosted forum. Furthermore, the benefit of being able to connect with users very quickly is a very valuable one, particularly when you bear in mind that HubSpot has reported that LinkedIn is up to 277% more effective at lead generation than other social networks.
It is worth noting that setting up a LinkedIn discussion group will be a time-consuming task. Moderation and encouraging engagement can take its time, so be sure that you can commit the human resource to the project in order to help it be as good as you want it to be. There’s a great resource on social media examiner on how to build a thriving LinkedIn group, while HubSpot also provides some useful tips on how to manage groups.
Alternatively, Google+ is well on its way to matching and possibly succeeding LinkedIn as the discussion group king. Google+ communities work very much in the same manner as LinkedIn discussion groups, with the added benefit that they are arguably more visible to people surfing the net. For some industries, there is already a thriving presence on the network, with SEO being chief among them. The Google Authorship community is probably the stand out example (and you should definitely check it out if you have not done so already). It would be tough work to host discussion groups on both networks with limited resources, so it is worthwhile dipping your feet in some already existing groups in your industry to see whether or not there is an appetite for what you want to discuss.
It is a good idea to find communities in your industry that are not based on one of the big social media websites. There is a forum called Trade2Win that is extremely targeted to our audience and it serves as a great resource to them. We try to engage with our audience there as well, in order to let them know about any of our new developments and for them to also offer feedback and ask questions about our service. It can be a very open and frank discussion at times, but you have to respect with communities like these that you, as a brand rather than a consumer, are on ‘their turf’ as it were, and so you should treat it with the utmost respect. The one thing about engaging on a forum that you do not control of is that you are potentially open to attack, with no way of removing slander unless the forum master deems to do so. With that in mind, it is important that you establish a clear social media policy within your organisation before you engage, with clear rules of engagement for how to handle certain kinds of negative engagement.
Of course, nurturing your community is not exclusively an online pursuit.
There are many great things that a business can do to connect with their community offline. In London, where I am based, there is a relatively new artisan bakery called Gail’s. Their mission statement is to not only provide the best quality bakery products out there, but to also become integrated within their local communities. They do this by customising what products they stock in each store, for example in the region of Hampstead, where there is a large Jewish community; the store stocks more rye bread goods, among others.
Gail’s goes one step further than this and also holds community events in each store. Some events include book-reading clubs for their store based adjacent to a primary school, so that families can come after school and enjoy themselves. The Hampstead store also organises a garden party each year, where they invite businesses that offer local produce to set up market stalls across the high street and invite people to come and sample some tasty food. Both of these events are not designed to generate profit, but to increase the brand awareness of Gail’s and to also give back to the community that they are integrated in.
Incidentally, I don’t have much need for Gail’s anymore, as I’ve taken to making my own bread!
Note: Pacman Onesie not obligatory
There’s method in my madness: can you imagine if Gail’s asked people to post pictures of their loaves and funny bakes on their Facebook page, with the entrants getting discounts or even free items? That would be a prime example of a company engaging with its community online and to help them reconvert.
If you’re looking for more community ideas, you should look no further than the folks here at SEOmoz. They do a great job at engaging with their community. Just this week I was sent this swag from the team:
The slap-wrist has brought me much joy and my office much annoyance.
I hope this guide has inspired you to look at fun and engaging ways to spark reconversion. Let your customers know you love them and they’ll surely love you back!
I’d love to get some feedback from you in the comments below, as well as some cool stories about how you have worked on reconversions and building up your lovely communities.
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