Converting new customers isn't the same as keeping them.
Direct mail marketers need to treat new and returning business quite differently, but how does trust affect how you engage with both groups?
Know what stage your relationship is at
You can't treat potential and returning customers the same way, says Summer Gould, president of direct marketing agency Eye/Comm Inc. These two groups want fundamentally different things from your brand, and so your direct marketing efforts need to reflect that.
New prospects need to be introduced to your business and what it offers, and your goal is to convince them that you have value. Returning customers already know this, and so marketing to them is about building your relationship and deepening their engagement on your products and services.
Luckily, it's easier than ever to treat prospects and returning customers differently. Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science, says that thanks to digital technology you have the ability to personalise messages and offers to individual customers in a way that was impossible a decade ago. This lets you give each of your customers a tailored shopping experience, increasing engagement and building their goodwill towards your brand.
Unless you sell clothes, you can let go of the idea of 'one size fits all'.
Whether you're dealing with new or returning customers, it's crucial that they trust you.
Build customer relationships with trust
There's one thing that stays the same whether you're dealing with new or returning customers: it's crucial that they trust you.
"To understand trust is to understand the conditions that facilitate economic exchange," says Kent Grayson, associate professor of marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. If you don't trust someone, you aren't going to feel comfortable giving them money, after all.
Grayson explains that trust can be broken down into three main aspects:
- Competence: Can you do what you say you'll do?
- Honesty: Are you telling your customers the truth, or are you hiding things from them?
- Benevolence: Do you have the customer's best interests at heart?
A person or a brand can be strong in one dimension but weak in another, Grayson says. To really be trusted you need to balance all three.
Good marketing has to demonstrate these trustworthy aspects of your business. It needs to convince potential new customers that you have the ability and integrity to stick by your word. You need to remind returning customers that you've followed through on promises in the past, and reassure them that you are here to help. Trusting relationships help secure immediate sales, and more in the future.
Get in touch with The Prospect Shop today to find out how we can help you create direct mail campaigns that build trust and engage customers.