Small business owner talking, laughing and forming a relationship with his customer

How Personalized Content Helps Growing Businesses Retain Customers

20 Jul 2017 by Isabel Ticlo
This article originally appeared on Dec. 26, 2016, and has been revised to bring our readers the most up-to-date technology information.

Owning and operating a small business can sometimes feel like balancing on a tightrope. You have to manage current operations and search for new and innovative ways to attain customers — without falling. Today, growing businesses can leverage modern technology to increase reach, but a strategic, tailored approach is essential for results.

According to a Loyalty 360 article, 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized. Technology on its own can’t make people feel connected; it’s up to you to deliver custom content that’s relevant, conversational and engaging.

Knowing what your customers want

Modern technology can take you far, but it cannot create connections for you.

When your clients go to your website, they don’t want to talk to an uninformed chat bot that’s disconnected from their requests. When your clients are looking for specific products, they don’t want to get spammed by generic or random emails. Your clients want to connect with your brand, feel like they are being listened to, and receive emails, ads and special offers that are catered to their unique needs.

Not sure what you can do to meet expectations?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are game-changers for growing businesses. AI-supported chat bots can instantly analyze customer profiles, shopping patterns, purchase histories and search results. You can use the data collected from the chat bots to create personalized messaging. IoT-enabled sensors and Point of Sale (POS) systems can also help you track inventory in real-time. Knowing what your customers want today will help you more effectively plan for the future and deliver a better shopping experience. For instance, if a customer buys 40 lamps, you can send them follow-up coupons and codes for lightbulbs. When customers feel like a business is invested in their best interests, they are more likely to write reviews, recommend friends and choose you as their go-to supplier.

The potential for data collection when you use technology is enormous.

Consumers are more likely to buy from retailers (online or offline) that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, knows their purchase history or offers any of these three options.

Figure 1

According to Figure 1, a survey by Accenture found that customers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name (56%), recommends options based on past purchases (58%) and knows their purchase history (65%). But, you can’t provide personalized content without first collecting and analyzing customer data. The key is to use your data intelligently, find out what your audience is looking for, and create content that will lead to deeper, richer relationship between your clients and your brand.

Locking in conversions

Growing businesses often face challenges in getting their customers to convert and move through each step of the buyer journey. It’s your job to use technology to assess what can be done to improve the user experience. A positive experience not only leads to a transaction, but also to reoccurring purchases.

According to Invesp, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more on average, when compared to new customers — which translates to cross sells and upsells.  

What steps can you take to ensure your customers choose your business over your competitors? 

Customer retention can be achieved through rewards and loyalty programs. Shop 4 Vitamins saw a 265% increase in repeat customers by using loyalty rewards, according to Big Commerce. Why? Customers want to feel valued — exclusive programs help them feel as if they are part of your brand’s community. Not only do loyalty programs improve customer retention, they also give buyers an incentive to return, refer friends and organically share social posts about upcoming offers.

Building a long-term connection

You have to work on bridging the gap between your customers and your business. Using complex jargon makes you inaccessible to your audience — while it may sound authoritative, it isn’t inclusive. Communication should be genuine and simple, using the language your customers already speak. If approached strategically, this genuine, personal brand voice will resonate with your audience not just today, but in the years to come.

Modern technology allows you to change and develop your brand in new and exciting ways, but it can only take you so far. Tools need to be combined with personalized content to deliver emotive and engaging strategies, build relationships, and establish loyalty. Only then will growing businesses be able to increase customer retention.

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