Have you ever considered that your organic efforts can also be used to retain and create a loyal customer base? SEO can help improve customer retention by keeping your target audience engaged with your product(s). Most people see SEO as an acquisition channel, however, in this post we aim to outline why that is simply not the case at all – SEO can be an incredibly powerful retention tool, when used correctly. Based on the eCommerce trends of 2021/22, where brands were solely focused on new user acquisition, we have now seen retention become one of the core focuses for most businesses, driving a more sustainable, profitable, and cost-effective approach to growth.
Gaining new customers is one thing, but the actual long-term retention is another. A customer purchasing from you once is a less than desirable outcome that a customer returning time and time again – think healthy CAC’s and LTV!
So, how do you use SEO to retain new and existing customers?
We can start with understanding E-E-A-T, formerly known as E-A-T, which refers to the Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust of a piece of content, and most importantly, your site.
Google uses this to establish the quality of a piece of content, and use that information along with their ranking factors to choose where to position it in Google.
It’s all based on the user, and their experience when landing on a site. Think about it, if you saw an advert on social media for a product that was fairly expensive, you’d want to check out the site first before browsing. You’d most likely check the reviews, product information, and any other relevant guides before purchasing to ensure you can make an advised and educated decision – which is all important as we navigate the Cost Of Living crisis.
If we visualise the conversion funnel, from Research all the way through to Post-Conversion, we need to be providing new and existing customers with the content they need throughout their journey, so they stay with us, rather than leaving to find the information elsewhere. The moment we don’t have that content to match the intent, we take a hit in our ability to drive loyalty. This in itself makes SEO one of the most powerful channels to invest in, since you have the ability to tap into all parts of the funnel, whereas a lot of other performance channels have specific funnel focus.
Therefore, you need to start by ensuring that you have relevant content throughout the conversion funnel:
- Research – blogs related to your target categories and niche.
- Awareness – further blogs targeting longer-tail information search terms.
- Consideration – Buying guides / blogs to match more specific search queries and to help customers make a decision with extra information and tools like Gorgias to answer any and all customer questions before they take the plunge.
- Conversion – category and product pages that match the search intent:
- Once a customer hits your category or product page, it’s not a done deal, social proofing, UGC, product reviews and FAQ’s will all help visitors make a decision – after all, who would buy a product from a company with poor reviews, no lifestyle imagery, and general poor information?
- Perhaps the most neglected part of SEO and the whole conversion funnel – the post-conversion care. This is make or break. A customer will buy into your brand and become more likely to be loyal should you deliver some timely, effective post-conversion content, and care.
- Using intelligent tools like KLAVIYO, you can build custom flows which would deliver relevant content to customers, based on the product they have purchased – think care guides, style guides, and other relevant products as well.
The investment in the above content doesn’t just enhance your brands positioning organically, it also works within CRM for retention and acquisition. An example of this is if a customer purchases a sofa, you can then tailor your email marketing strategy to them to include a cushion/throw matching guide to encourage retention, but also entice them into shopping with you once again. The more content you have, the more you’re able to uniquely tailor your emails to driver more engagement and grow loyalty, boosting overall retention.
An Example of E-E-A-T in action? Patch Plants
This page is a one stop shop for their customers. It also is laid out so that it is really easy to understand, helps users and encourages them to come back onto the site once they have purchased their product for more information (and encourage further sale).
So, why does all this really matter? You might be asking.
You might be thinking, does writing content help with loyalty and retention? Will this really improve customer return rate? Would this truly make for a more loyal customer?
The answer is, YES!
If you’re not doing it, your competitors are. Which means no customers for you, and more for them.
Invest in scaling your content to match the intent of your desired customer based at each stage of the conversion funnel, give them the information they need throughout their journey through your site to help them make an educated purchase. Then, once they have purchased from you, keep them coming back for more, give them reasons to be loyal to you, to want to purchase from you again, and, if you can, add on a loyalty platform, enabling your frequent shoppers to enjoy subscriber benefits – and let the good times roll.