Many people blame the Internet for taking away human interactions between customers and businesses that are necessary to build loyalty. As a result, people are more fickle than ever, and lifelong customers are a thing of the past.
The truth is, people don’t become lifelong customers unless the product and the entire experience align in such a way that the customer loves the brand and feels as if the company cares about them just as much.
Until recently, it was hard for businesses to replicate that reciprocal relationship online. Now we have an arsenal of communication tools and customer data, including IP address data, that help us hyper-target customers and personalize the messaging in an attempt to rebuild loyalty.
A Framework for Building Lifelong Customers
Businesses are shifting strategies from acquisition at all costs to nurturing their current customers. Why? For starters, acquiring new customers costs about ten times more than keeping them. In addition, repeat customers spend up to 67 percent more than new customers.
While the new focus is on customer retention and loyalty, there is no surefire formula for building the type of loyalty that will lead to lifelong customers. Do a quick search and you’ll find dozens of ideas and tips that might help you along the way, but gaining the loyalty of your customers is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor.
You earn lifelong customers in the same way you earn lifelong friends — by building trust and reliance over time. There are no tricks or gimmicks that will speed up the process, but most relationships do share a similar framework:
- First impression: When you first meet someone, you usually know within a few minutes if this person has the potential to be a friend.
- Building rapport: Relationships grow the more friends hang out, talk, and learn more about each other. As time goes by, these positive interactions become the foundation for a long-term relationship.
- Meeting needs: Friendships are solidified during moments of crisis. Loyalty is born when you are in need and a friend goes above and beyond to help. Lifelong friends have your back.
Customer relationships follow a similar framework and it’s up to you to recognize and capitalize on each opportunity. In the digital space, your IP address data can help you connect with your customers at each phase of the relationship to help you seize the opportunity.
1. First impression: Personalize the Product Experience
Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink pointed out that buyers base most of their decisions on their two-second first impression of images and feelings. Before you can build customer loyalty, you only have about two seconds to entice them to be a customer at all.
One way to make a positive first impression is to personalize their initial product experience. You want to make the first experience as relevant as possible, even if you don’t know their name or interests. One piece of data you do have is their actual location based on their IP address.
A tool like IPinfo uses IP data to help you personalize your website based on a user’s location. So users from Los Angeles, Boston, and London could each have a more personal first impression based on geographical cues. This happens in the offline world all the time.
Let’s say you walk into an Old Navy in Los Angeles in November. You will see mannequins with sunglasses and shorts. The imagery is about beach and sun. Across the country in Boston, the same mannequins are bundled up in scarves and jackets. And in London, the signage is changed to British imagery and the currencies are in pound sterling.
This seems like a no-brainer because of the obvious geographical differences, but the online experience often misses this nuance that can leave customers scratching their heads.
Today, most customers shop as guests or remove their cookies altogether, which makes personalization a challenge. With just a few snippets of code to integrate ipinfo, you can create location-specific messaging and design to make your customer experience more relevant to your unknown users.
An Example Of Personalizing with IP Address
Customizing your web pages doesn’t need to be a large undertaking. By adding simple location-based cues, you will acknowledge that you care about where the user is from. Here is an example of a generic message that is transformed to a hyper-targeted experience with just a slight customization based on IP address.
Quick Sprout is a content tool that helps companies grow their web traffic. Without IP address data, their landing page is generic. Here’s what it looks like:
While there is a decent call to action, the copy is too broad and fails to connect with any user base. When IP address data is integrated into the message, you see a huge difference with a simple change:
Quick Sprout is able to call out the specific city where the potential customer is based, which instantly creates a local connection. The simple adjustment greatly enhances the first impression, putting you in a much better position to build a deeper relationship.
2. Building Rapport: Keep Communication Lines Open
Every couple knows that you can’t build a long-lasting relationship without constant communication. It is no different for building relationships with customers, although the subject matter might be a bit different.
There is a reason that email marketing is still the most effective marketing channel. It allows you to communicate with your customers in a targeted and relevant manner. When a user triggers an event, such as reading a blog post, your email tool can automatically send them a personalized email.
But what happens when your customers are coming to your site, but you fail to acknowledge them? Imagine going to your favorite coffee shop one day and you are greeted by name, yet the next day the barista looks at you and doesn’t say hi.
By identifying your customer’s IP address when they visit unannounced, you can trigger an email to acknowledge them. An email automation tool like Campaign Monitor stores the customer’s IP address, which allows you to match a customer to an IP address.
Of course, every time a customer visits might not warrant an email, but the fact you know they are there and where they are going will help you craft a personalized messaging strategy to build loyalty.
An Example Of Targeted Communicating Using IP Address Data
Yelp’s entire business is based on local reviews, so keeping up the lines of communication with their customers is only relevant if they get the location right. If they get it wrong, they’ll annoy the customer and likely ruin their chances of a lifelong relationship.
This email does a great job using local imagery and text to reinforce their understanding of the customer. They provide value in the message and even localize the reviews to make sure they are from the same area. There is more credibility and context reading reviews of people who live in the same place.
3. Meeting Needs: Provide Proactive Customer Support
Customer support professionals have become the new rock stars within the organization. Their performance directly affects positive or negative reviews for the entire company, which ultimately leads to an increase or decrease in revenue.
The only problem is that you can have an amazing support team, but if they are spending all their time fielding complaints, your business is in trouble. Why?
For one customer who complains, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have not notified you of their issue. Businesses that understand support know that it is better to get in front of a problem before it escalates.
Proactive customer support is a way to preempt issues before they happen by reaching out to valuable customers before they contact you. The goal is to anticipate their needs, which is a great way to build loyalty if you can pull it off.
By using IP address data, you can identify and monitor if customers are coming and going multiple times without converting. In addition, you can identify customers that are spending a lot of time on your ‘support’ pages and contact them first before they complain to you.
Customer support is an opportunity to build loyalty. The best way to do that is to anticipate their needs and address them before they do.
An Example of Proactive Support Using IP Address
Let’s say you are a B2B SaaS company with a group of amazing customer support reps, but they spend most of their day fielding calls instead of proactively meeting customers’ needs before they complain.
By using ipinfo to identify anonymous users who visit your help pages, you can alert customer support when that user comes from a key customer account.
While IP addresses use ASN or ISP details to identify the user, you don’t always know which company is connected to the IP address. IPinfo matches the IP address to the company and domain, empowering your customer support team to identify customers and reach out to them before it’s too late.
Keep Finding Opportunities to Add Value
Building a lifelong customer is like building any other long-lasting relationship. If you can recognize the opportunities to make a positive first impression, build rapport over time and meet the customer’s needs when they need it most, you are setting your business up to nurture lifelong customers.
The data from IP addresses can provide customer insights and help identify potential long-term customers, but it’s up to you to deliver the value that will pique their interest, keep them happy and deliver future value.
IPinfo is a comprehensive IP data and API provider with flexible pricing plans to meet your business needs. We handle billions of API requests per month, serving data like IP geolocation, ASN, mobile carrier, and hosted domains. Sign up for a free account or contact our sales team to learn more.