You know it. We know it. The best way to grow a lasting, profitable enterprise has always been straightforward: prioritize people, deliver value, and uphold integrity.
Customers want to be treated well. It isn’t rocket science. Smart business people know the Golden Rule will do more for a bottom line in the long run than any slight-of-hand marketing tactic or glossy campaign.
That said, growing a profitable business that scales requires deft maneuvers in a fast-paced world. Reaching customers online is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive.
According to internet trends analyst Mary Meeker, 2019 is the year of unsustainable customer acquisition cost (CAC). Digital ad spending this year alone is projected to hit $333.35 billion. For the first time, CAC is now outpacing customer lifetime value (LTV).
Jake Sorofman, CMO of Pendo notes, “this continued obsession on acquisition—at the expense of retention—is what’s inflated today’s customer acquisition costs.”
The future of business depends on customer loyalty. Effective marketing calls for more than strategic investments and impeccable timing. What does it take to get people to pay attention, stick around, and most importantly, become loyal customers?
Building loyalty in a digital world
Solid business boils down to relationships and solid relationships boil down to the Golden Rule. If you want to earn customer loyalty, treat people the way you’d want to be treated.
Picture this. You’re a guest at a crowded party. Who would you rather befriend in a noisy room? A well-meaning person who talks, talks, talks or a kind soul who asks thoughtful questions and actually pays attention to you?
If you’re like most people, you’d rather be heard and understood. Human beings are hard-wired for connection. Eventually, we steer away from those who don’t convey a genuine interest in us. No one likes feeling invisible in a crowded room.
Genuine human connection is predicated on being known. It takes time. It doesn’t happen by accident and it doesn’t happen without leaning in and doing the work.
The same can be said about building relationships with loyal customers in a crowded and noisy online marketplace. Success in this department is no accident. The price tag on abiding by the Golden Rule and developing genuine customer connection is high. The good news is the dividends are higher.
Trends we’re noticing
From where we see it, traditional info-packed lead magnets and opt-ins are slowly taking a bow, if you will. Transformative tools are poised to take centerstage. Next-level assessments pave the way for businesses to provide people with simple, personable, and value-packed tools they actually want.
Are opt-ins dead? No. To be clear, many of our clients still see healthy conversions from their opt-ins. These clients offer valuable resources to their audience and people respond accordingly. You could say they’ve got a good thing going.
That said, times are changing. These same clients will tell you their opt-ins are gradually becoming less effective. As a result, engagement is slowing down. So is conversion. All the while, the cost of acquiring a customer is steadily increasing. Our clients have started looking for transformational tools, fresh ways to serve customers, build loyalty, and scale growth.
Why are opt-ins losing momentum?
The answer is multi-faceted. Customers are losing interest in signing on for offerings that may or may not be useful to them. In the world of e-books and PDFs, extraordinary is the exception. (Admit it. You don’t bother to read all the info-packed freebies you sign on for either, do you? Of course not. Inbox overwhelm is a thing.)
People are also sick of being swarmed by data pirates. They can sense when they’re being conned out of personal information. Many folks are leary of giving it away because they assume it will be used against them.
The challenging thing for online marketers is that data is essential. In order to design and deliver anything personal, businesses must know their customers. Data precedes valuable customer experiences.
How to play the data game with integrity
Let’s revisit the party example. How would you prefer someone get to know you? By asking a series of direct and thoughtful questions? Or by stalking your social media channels and buying the right to know you? We know what we’d prefer.
In the online marketplace, asking thoughtful questions is a creative way to play the data game and abide by the Golden Rule. Next-level assessments demonstrate integrity. This cranks up lead generation and conversion. We see it over and over again. Next-level assessments consistently outperform our clients’ lead magnets and traditional opt-ins.
They also kill several business birds with one stone. These tools build trust, add value, personalize service, advise product development and so much more. There’s a reason we jokingly call intelligent assessments the unicorns of online marketing.
In business, personalized, relevant and timely engagement converts non-paying visitors to loyal customers, regardless of the industry. Because staying relevant and creating value is top of mind for our clients, they recognize our tools as a superior way to invest in long-term business growth strategy. Guaranteed value, personalization, trust–all of this is possible with an effective assessment funnel.
Are all assessments more or less the same?
In a word, no. In two, heck no. Assessments are not created equal.
We’re not talking one-dimensional “door number one-versus-door number two” assessment plug-ins. There’s a time and place for plug-ins but a good rule of thumb is this: you reap what you sow. Tailored in-depth results are the magic ingredient. Plug-ins are simple but you can’t generate much in the way of meaning with them (and you certainly can’t take business to the next level.)
When we speak of assessments, we’re talking about engaging multi-faceted questionnaires that seek to understand and converse, like the good listener at the noisy party. We’re talking fully integrated experiences that spawn in-depth and unique results for users. We’re talking hyper personalization and value for miles.
How are these assessments specifically more effective at lead generation?
|Customers think…||Next-level assessments show…|
|“Are they spying on me?”||You’re not a data pirate. You ask direct and thoughtful questions. Participants offer any and all information at their discretion.|
|“Will this be valuable?”||You offer value right off the bat. First-class UX. Intelligent questions. A clearly defined offering. Plus, if they’re doubtful, they don’t have to opt-in with their email at the end. (That said, our clients’ completion rates are impressive.)|
How are these assessments specifically more effective at conversion?
|Customers think…||Next-level assessments show…|
|“I don’t know where to start.”||You tailor guides to lead people through the most relevant customer journeys.|
|“There’s too much here to sift through”||You can help discern which products and services are relevant and offer recommendations based on relevant data.|
|“What if my purchase ends up being money wasted?”||You’re the real deal. You bake value into the free assessment, build trust and prove your worth with every interaction along the way.|
|“They just want my money”||You’re interested in more than just a bottom line. If you build a transformative tool and give it away to help people, clearly you care.|
|“What do I do next?”||You care about their journey and provide useful supplementary products, like access to relevant course material or members-only communities.|
Data and loyalty are two of the most valuable commodities in today’s market. While generating leads and driving conversion matters, fostering loyalty matters more. The cost of acquiring a customer is unsustainable if that customer doesn’t stick around.
Long-term success hinges on how well you know your audience. The challenge is to acquire data in a way that doesn’t jeopardize trust and threaten loyalty. The Golden Rule is paramount here.
Our clients’ results confirm our suspicions: investing in next-level assessment funnels yields an impressive return across the board. Lead generation? Check. Conversion? Check. People are happy to offer their information if it gets them something they’ll actually use and appreciate. Best of all, loyalty is practically a given when customers feel seen and understood. If you prioritize people, deliver value, and uphold integrity, success is inevitable. The Golden Rule isn’t tarnishing anytime soon.