After sweeping social media privacy changes were enacted in 2021, businesses scrambled to effectively reach new customers while keeping their advertising and marketing costs down. While these shifts were beneficial to the end consumer, they created new customer acquisition challenges for online businesses.
Reese Spykerman, E-Commerce Marketing Consultant at Design by Reese, offers her guidance and advice around specific ways to pivot your marketing in 2022. With over 15 years of expertise in the marketing space and serving hundreds of clients of her own, Reese’s advice and guidance are appreciated by many.
Data collection changes that affected the user’s privacy negatively impacted businesses who’d previously used personal tracking data to hyper target relevant ads to consumers. With personalized tracking data gone, the effectiveness of digital ads waned while acquisition costs spiked, leading to increased advertising budgets.
Email campaigns were impacted, too, with privacy changes enacted by Apple in late 2021 that skewed open rate metrics, affecting a business’ ability to easily track and segment which email recipients were most engaged. Add to this a pandemic-fueled influx of new online and e-commerce businesses entering the market in 2020 and 2021, creating even more noise and competition.
Consumers are tired of being talked to and sold to, and are tuning out, leading to a shift in how and where they spend their money. Increasingly, people are craving more meaningful relationships with whom they choose to invest their money.
But there is good news. Consumer fatigue and their desire for more authentic relationships can give you a competitive edge. Instead of investing money on ads that are no longer working, you can focus your 2022 marketing efforts on relationship-building initiatives, which have an inherent trust built right into them because people are more likely to trust another person than an ad.
Reese has the following tips to help you make the best of relationship marketing in 2022:
1. Leverage B2B relationships
Building relationships with other business owners can naturally lead to doing business together. When a business owner needs your service, you will be the first to come to mind as you have an established connection.
2. Customer Referral programs
Your existing customers are some of your best salespeople. Referral programs that reward customers for referring their friends and family to you creates a triple-win situation: your customer wins because they can earn credits, discounts or other incentives to use in your store, the new customer wins because they’ve found a business they can easily trust, and you win because you’ve acquired a new customer in a much warmer way than any ad could achieve and your original customer is likely to invest more with you over time, too.
3. Affiliate marketing
Leveraging relationships that endorse your product and sell it for a percentage of sales is another great way to increase your reach and client base. You are getting visibility from another’s audience, and the customers you attract are coming in with less friction and doubt. Essentially you capitalize on borrowed trust with an affiliate endorsing you and your business.
4. Rewards programs
Remember the days of getting stamps on a card at the coffee shop that earned you a free drink after 10 purchases? Online rewards programs use this same psychology, rewarding customers for their purchases. Reese points to the example of fashion brand Roolee, with its loyalty program that rewards customers for purchases, social media interactions, and leaving reviews. She suggests you can even use loyalty and rewards programs as a way to grow your email list.
The bottom line is that as markets and technology evolve, businesses need to change with them to survive. Customer acquisition can be very costly, but creativity with relationship-based marketing efforts will help you stay ahead in the game and potentially even increase the lifetime value of your customers. Gone are the days of relying on ads alone to acquire new customers, and re-aligning your marketing efforts to maximize trust and increase loyalty will give your business a financial edge.