While optimizing your product is a full time job and all design should focus on monetization, virality and retention, a Kissmetric blog post by Mike Bal pointed out ten tactics that can boost lifetime value. Although these are not a replacement for strong design and optimization, they will further boost your metrics.
The techniques should not only boost lifetime value, but also great more brand loyalty (thus LTV of your brand) and you will notice the common theme is they are customer centric.
- Feature your fans in content. Put your fans in the spotlight by embedding their comments in your social media posts and even in your game. This activity will show your appreciation and once users see the reciprocity and make your brand a priority.
- Send fans something they do not know they want. You can never go wrong by surprising and delighting customers. Analyze their social accounts to learn what they really enjoy and then send them something you know they will love. Then, they will talk about it through their social accounts and, most importantly, they will talk about it in person with their friends, family, colleagues, and others. To be truly successful, do not take the easy way and send a basic gift. Analyze their pictures, posts, profile info, conversations, etc., and find something really unique that they would not buy themselves.
- Take customer advice and credit them for it. The best way to improve your product is to base changes on what your customers are asking for. Not only will you increase loyalty because you are constantly improving the product, but users who feel they are part of the process are more likely to be loyal and also advocates of your brand or product. Not only is it a marketing benefit to use customer feedback for product enhancements, but your customers know better what your product is lacking than your intuition does. Always leave room for your customers to make suggestions and then read those suggestions.
- Upgrade customers. If some of your customers are actively and openly engaging with your brand on a regular basis, they are the best possible people to give the full experience. If you have a product line, send them something they have not tried. If you are running a game, give them some limited edition items or power-ups.
- Be there when your customers need you. Since your Facebook fan page and social media are live 24/7, ensure that the person or people overseeing these channels can resolve customer issues. Most importantly, resolving the issue does not mean redirecting people to customer service, it is actually addressing the problem.
- Help customers do something they love. Kissmetrics uses the example of Dollar Shave Club to show this point. Dollar Shave Club ran a campaign to “Sponsor Your Thing.” They asked their fans to tell them about something they were passionate about. Then, Dollar Shave Club actually started “sponsoring” their customers’ things. They usually give the member whose thing is being sponsored something that will enhance their thing or make it easier to accomplish. They also include a customer’s thing on their monthly mailers that go out to all subscribers and post it on their blog and social channels.
- Give your customers something they are not getting from competitors. Consumers have many choices and if you want them to choose your product or game regularly, you need to provide something they do not get from other products. A sale might get them once, but if you want to create loyalty you need to add features, services, resources, etc., that your competitors do not provide. One crucial aspect, though, is to make sure that the feature or service you provide has value to your customers.
- Be more convenient than anyone else. People like easy, and the easier it is to use your product or service, the more likely they are to come back. This is also crucial for ancillary elements of your offering, such as customer service and billing, Make it easy for your users to reach customer service (and resolve their issues without jumping through hoops) or just to make a purchase.
- Solve a problem for your customer. Go beyond your actual product and provide something extra that makes your customer’s life easier. Understand your customer, figure out what would make their life easier, and build it. When you can pull this off right, you make your customer rely on you for more than just your product or service, and that makes you almost irreplaceable.
- Make quality a priority. With many options (and there are no categories where users or players do not have many options), quality will often be the reason they return. The inverse is that poor quality, a bad experience, a crash, can drive away a user permanently. A quality product is a key element to building brand loyalty.
The graphic below, also from the Kissmetrics blog post, shows the important elements of brand loyalty and you can see how they relate to the recommendations above: