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How to Use Paid Media to Build Customer Loyalty (And Keep Them Coming Back)

How to Use Paid Media to Build Customer Loyalty (And Keep Them Coming Back)

Paid media offers powerful opportunities to not only attract new customers but also strengthen relationships with existing ones. By thoughtfully targeting your most valuable audience with the right messaging, you can turn occasional buyers into loyal brand advocates.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore specific strategies for using paid search, retargeting ads, and more to boost customer retention. Whether you sell online or offline, these tips can help you develop highly effective loyalty campaigns.

Let’s get started!

Target Past Customers with Competitors’ Names

One simple yet impactful tactic is bidding on your competitors’ names and keywords in paid search. This allows you to reach customers who may be considering making a purchase from another brand.

By appearing in the search results, you have an opportunity to remind them why they enjoyed shopping with you in the first place. You can offer exclusive discounts or perks only available to repeat buyers.

For example, outdoor equipment retailer REI famously bids on “North Face” to target potential customers browsing alternatives. In the ad copy and landing page, REI promotes their own high-quality product lines while also building rapport with customers through friendly reminders of past purchases and service[External link name].

Offer Personalized Discounts to Email Subscribers

Leveraging your email list is another powerful tactic. You can upload subscriber data to platforms like Google Ads and target them with customized loyalty promotions.

For instance, offer a 10% discount code good for their next purchase when redeemed within 30 days. Thank them for being valued customers, and emphasize that the discount is exclusively for email subscribers.

Make the discount enticing enough that it’s hard to pass up. You’re aiming to turn an occasional buyer into someone who makes repeat purchases several times a year, building stronger brand affinity over time.

Craft Engaging Retargeting Ads

Once someone has purchased from you before, you can follow them around the web with retargeting ads through platforms such as Google or Facebook advertising.

Rather than just recycling your general product offerings, create targeted ads that feel conversational and personalized. For example, you could say:

“Welcome back, [Name]! We noticed you purchased last month. How are you enjoying it? We have several new accessories that might interest you.”

Retargeting lets you market directly to warm prospects who have already taken action. This helps foster a one-to-one relationship where the buyer feels known and well-served.

Leverage Timed Discounts

Time-based or countdown promotions centering on loyalty can be very compelling. Set a target like “Get 15% off your next purchase if you order in the next 7 days.”

This creates urgency while also rewarding customers who routinely shop with your business. They come to associate positive feelings with your brand each time they take advantage of an exclusive loyalty-only deal.

You can run these kinds of promotions in search ads, on product pages, via email, and more to reach customers wherever they are online and offline[Timed discount external link]. Tracking conversions will reveal which channels and messages perform best.

Cross-Sell and Upsell Past Purchases

Don’t forget to re-engage customers by promoting related or complementary products they might enjoy. This is where remarketing really shines.

If someone buys a men’s shirt from you, show them ads for other styles, sizes or colors when they browse other websites. Buyers of fitness equipment might next need accessories, supplements or training programs.

Familiar customers will more readily purchase additional high-margin items when you make thoughtful, personalized recommendations based on their shopping history. Over time, each small sale builds their lifetime value as a customer.

Develop a Customer Loyalty Program

The most sophisticated approach is to create an actual rewards or points-based loyalty program. This could involve:

  • Earning 1 point for every $1 spent that never expires
  • Redeeming points for cash-back, gift cards or free shipping
  • Receiving exclusive perks like early-access shopping events
  • Getting recognized on your website as a top supporter

Carefully track engagement and sales lift from the loyalty program. Make continual improvements based on data-driven insights. A true loyalty program cements highly committed, long-term customers.

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Focus Messaging on Their Needs

Regardless of the specific tactic, keep messages solution-oriented by focusing on solving customer pain points. For example, emphasize how a purchase will:

  • Save them time and money in the long-run
  • Improve their experiences or productivity
  • Deliver lasting value over months of enjoyment
  • Help achieve important goals or milestones

Always base your loyalty approach on clear benefits for the buyer. Make them feel genuinely understood and that your brand truly cares about their needs—not just upselling the next transaction.

FAQs about Building Customer Loyalty with Paid Media

Q: What’s the typical return on investment for loyalty campaigns?

Loyalty campaigns tend to have a high ROI since acquisition costs for new customers are avoided. Studies show retaining existing customers can cost 5–25x less than finding new ones. Even incremental 5–10% sales lifts from loyalty can outperform broad new customer acquisition.

Q: How long does it take to see results from these strategies?

You may see some quick wins like bumps in email list growth or retargeting click-through rates within a month. However, it can take 6–12 months of consistent efforts for behaviors like repeat purchasing and lifetime value to meaningfully increase. Loyalty is built over time through quality experiences at each touchpoint.

Q: What other channels, beyond paid media, can strengthen loyalty?

A: Don’t forget offline! Things like personalized direct mail, exclusive loyalty member events and classes, in-store signage and displays, and associate training can strengthen bonds too. Digital channels like email, mobile apps, and social media engagement also nurture ongoing relationships between purchases. An omnichannel strategy delivers the most impact.

Q: How do I optimize loyalty campaigns over time?

A: Continuously assess metrics like retention rates, average order value, and lifetime value. A/B test creative treatments, messaging, and incentives. Analyze which combinations of loyalty tactics and customer segments are most cost-effective. Renew momentum with new perks, reward levels, or products made just for members. Stay nimble based on data to keep initiatives fresh.

Q: What information should I collect from customers?

Names, addresses, purchase histories, and product interests are basic data points for knowing customers. Also, consider psychographic information from surveys to tailor your value proposition. Track offline-online behavior syncs through logins too. Keep data collection aligned with your privacy policy. Only ask for what truly helps personalize the experience.

Q: How can I get customer buy-in for a loyalty program?

A: Clearly communicate the program’s benefits upfront. Run a limited pilot group to prove the results. Ask for feedback to refine the experience. Partner with enthusiastic customers as advocates. Offer fun perks beyond discounts to create buzz and make it feel like an exclusive club. Continually thank members and demonstrate the value they provide, which helps get others invested too.

Key Takeaways

To summarize, here are the core takeaways from using paid media strategically to fuel customer loyalty:

  • Target former customers based on search, browsing history, and emails.
  • Craft retargeting ads that foster personal relationships.
  • Leverage limited-time promotions for urgency and exclusivity.
  • Cross-sell and upsell complementary products.
  • Develop robust loyalty programs with long-term engagements.
  • Focus campaigns on understanding and solving customer needs.
  • Take a holistic view and leverage paid, owned, and earned media.
  • Continually optimize programs based on detailed performance metrics.

When paid efforts thoughtfully reinforce ongoing loyalty, the lifetime value of each customer increases dramatically through higher retention, larger basket sizes, and more positive word-of-mouth.

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