A whopping 86% of customers say that brand experiences are just as important as products or services.
If you already provide a quality product or service, this is not enough. You also need to offer a great end-to-end customer experience across every brand touchpoint. For this, you must connect with customers in personalized, meaningful ways and – here’s the kicker – build long-term relationships with them.
Modern customers don’t appreciate generic offerings or tone-deaf marketing, they want personalization. They want to be seen and heard, and most importantly, they want to be valued.
Instead of focusing only on Return on Investment (ROI), start thinking about Return on Relationship (ROR). While ROI evaluates the profit you make on every dollar spent, ROR is about the value accumulated from nurturing customer relationships. The result of doing so? More loyal customers who support your brand and even recommend it to others through word-of-mouth marketing.
And all of this starts with building and understanding customer journeys as they interact with your business over different brand touchpoints, including email, social media, and mobile. Journey Builder in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) enables you to visually represent such interactions, so you can tell the story of their brand experiences, learn valuable, actionable insights about them, and most importantly – power meaningful, 1:1 relationships.
If you want to learn more about customer journeys and relationship-building, you are in the right place. Today, you will find out how Journey Builder can help you nurture meaningful customer relationships in a crowded, noisy, competitive world.
The Importance of Customer Relationships
“Why should I bother with long-term customer relationships? Isn’t it enough to provide a quality product?”
If you want loyal customers that prefer your brand over your competitors, then no, a quality product is not enough.
Brand loyalty is determined by:
- Providing better interactions at every touchpoint
- Responding to customer queries promptly
- Asking customers for feedback and implementing it to improve your offerings
- Personalizing customer experiences
By doing all of the above, you can enhance customer relationships and increase retention rates. Mapping customer journeys across multiple brand touchpoints is the best way to get started. And for this, SFMC Journey Builder is the best option.
What Is SFMC Journey Builder
What is your most pressing marketing goal?
- Building holistic, multi-channel, 1×1 flows for every customer?
- Visualizing the customer’s journey over each touchpoint?
- Designing individualized interactions?
- Automating and optimizing customized campaigns at scale?
With SFMC Journey Builder, you can do it all and more. Journey Builder provides an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface, so you can map customer journeys and tell a visual story of their experiences as they engage with your company over time.
Why create journey maps?
For one, because journeys positively increase customer engagement according to 73% of high-performing marketers. Whether this engagement happens via email, social media, mobile communication, or through your website, Journey Builder makes it easy to visualize every element of your customer experience strategy.
To understand your customers better, you can leverage the journey map by answering the following questions:
- What do they want?
- What do they need?
- What are their challenges or pain points?
- Why are they coming to you?
- Are you meeting their expectations?
- If not, where are the gaps?
Create journeys across different stages of the customer lifecycle, and find out useful insights to power your sales, marketing, and customer support initiatives. This information will help you build strong customer relationships that will keep them coming back.
Build Your Relationship Marketing Strategy
You probably know that it’s more difficult to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. But did you know that customer acquisition can also cost you 7X more? The good news is that repeat customers spend 67% more per purchase, so you must scale up your efforts at customer retention. Journey Builder is an effective way to do this.
Retaining customers is all about building relationships with them. This requires understanding them better by focusing on them at every stage of the purchase journey, from initial contact to the conversion stage and even post-purchase.
“But I already connect with my customers regularly. Isn’t that the same as building a relationship with them?”
No, it’s not. Sure, you can connect with virtually anyone on the planet. However, such connections are often passive, short-term, or transaction-based. Relationships, however, are proactive, long-term, and require time, commitment, and effort to build and maintain. Here’s where you need to move your focus from marketing to relationship marketing.
Journey Builder is all about relationship marketing aka 1:1 marketing. This strategy emphasizes personalized interactions based on what you know about your customers and what they tell you about their needs.
The approach requires:
SFMC and Journey Builder can help with these crucial activities, so you can nurture customer relationships, increase engagement, and deliver value with each interaction.
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Put the Customer at the Center of Your Business
“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”
Kevin Stirtz, Business Thought Leader
Nowadays, generic spray-and-pray marketing does not work. No matter how much you invest in email marketing, or how flashy your social media page is, if your customers cannot see the value for them, they won’t stick around.
This is why personalized marketing is vital. In addition to investing in relationship marketing, it’s also important to identify the best way to reach customers and offer them a stress-free experience.
With Journey Builder and its Path Optimizer feature, you can:
- Test various paths for a particular customer journey and see which one performs better in terms of: contacts, open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates.
- Determine which metric matters most to you and select the “winning” journey path.
- Test your campaigns, and run experiments with content and sending frequency (e.g. for email marketing).
- Adjust your marketing strategy to meet your relationship-building goals.
Use Path Optimizer regularly, and you will see a positive impact on your ability to reach customers. This will result in stronger relationships that benefit both you and your customers. Journey Builder also provides several “activities” – building blocks that can help you build a holistic, multi-channel, 1×1 journey for each customer.
More importantly, activities enable you to develop meaningful, personalized customer relationships at scale by:
- Evaluating your contacts.
- Creating and deploying responsive, automatic marketing campaigns.
- Sending different kinds of messages throughout their journey, e.g emails, SMS messages, push notifications, in-app messages, etc.
- Making accurate predictions about when to send each message with SFMC’s Einstein AI.
- Understanding when a customer should be moved to the next marketing action.
Focus on Each Customer Journey
Every customer is on their own journey with your brand. To build an enduring relationship with them, it’s essential to map out these journeys, and design marketing campaigns for each one of them.
To be more exact, a Welcome journey that aims to onboard a new customer is different from an Abandoned Cart journey that entices a customer to come back and complete a purchase.
With Journey Builder, you can create different journeys for different marketing campaigns. So, if a customer has just signed up on your website, you can send them a Welcome email. This will not only make them feel seen but will also encourage them to explore the possibility of an ongoing relationship with your brand.
For loyal and returning customers, you can create a different journey to deepen the relationship. Then you can design campaigns with personalized content, special offers, or individualized discounts targeted at a particular customer, say, for their birthday or anniversary. These are all great ways to create amazing customer experiences that strengthen relationships and earn their loyalty.
You can even automate these efforts to ensure that every customer is cared for. This can help you scale your marketing efforts with minimal effort and maximum ROR.
A Final Word
In a world where trigger-happy customers are all too happy to switch brands, the only way to retain their loyalty is by driving 1-to-1 customer experiences across channels.
If you have struggled with this in the past, try SFMC Journey Builder. Journey Builder is a user-friendly yet powerful way to map customer journeys. This tool will also provide the clarity you need to understand customers, design personalized campaigns and nurture meaningful relationships that endure and grow.
The best way to leverage the power of Journey Builder is to follow some proven, time-tested best practices.
Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services.
He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.