Building customer loyalty is the key to creating a successful business that lasts. Customers that care about your brand are more likely to make repeat purchases, become brand advocates, and place larger orders.
The brand loyalty stats below documented by Semrush show why loyalty marketing is so important:
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, compared with 5-20% for new customers.
- A loyal customer is 50% more likely to try your brand’s new product.
- Existing customers tend to have a higher average order value than new customers.
- Customers spend 67% more in months 31-36 than in their first six months with a brand.
Paid search makes up just 2% of marketing efforts related to customer retention. But if you think about building customer loyalty as part of your PPC efforts, you can create entire strategies around turning your PPC traffic into brand-loyal customers.
It starts with the brand loyalty pyramid. In this article, you’ll learn how to use the brand loyalty pyramid to inform and improve your PPC strategy, and encourage new customers to become serious brand advocates.
What Is the Brand Loyalty Pyramid?
The five-step brand loyalty pyramid was conceived by brand consultant David Aaker. New customers start at the bottom and make their way to the top as their brand loyalty increases:
Customers fall into one of five categories on the brand loyalty pyramid:
- Switchers — Switchers are looking for a product, not a specific brand. New customers tend to fall into this category.
- Habitual buyers — Habitual buyers will buy from you again out of convenience, but they can easily have their heads turned by another brand.
- Cost switchers — Cost switchers are generally satisfied with your customer experience, but a great offer or price cut from another brand can sway them.
- Brand likers — Brand likers are generally very satisfied. It would take a lot for another brand to steal their custom, but it’s still possible.
- Committed buyers — These buyers are committed to you through and through. They’ll always choose your brand, and will even recommend you to others.
While the pyramid was originally created for B2C brands, B2B companies can also use it to keep customers on board. Regardless of who your customers are, you can use the brand loyalty pyramid to inform your PPC strategy.
How to Use PPC to Build Customer Loyalty
The brand loyalty pyramid segments buyers into loyalty categories, so you can target them with bespoke strategies to increase their commitment to your brand. We’ll cover this in more detail shortly.
But there are other ways to build customer loyalty with PPC:
- Spot threats and opportunities — The brand loyalty pyramid shows how and where a well-placed competitor PPC ad can snatch your customers from you. Switchers are fair game, but as you go up the pyramid, customers are yours to lose. Customer-focused PPC campaigns can stop habitual buyers and cost switchers turning to competing brands.
- Target existing customers — Create campaigns that specifically target existing customers so you can push them up the pyramid, and better understand their engagement and loyalty levels.
- Reward loyalty — Make sure loyal customers feel valued. If existing customers constantly see you advertising great offers that only new customers are eligible for, how will that make them feel?
- Perfect your messaging — Experiment with customer-focused messaging to alleviate ad fatigue, keep your brand top-of-mind, and trigger new purchases. Write ad copy that sells to people at all levels of the pyramid.
Paid marketing can also be combined with other strategies to turn PPC traffic into lifelong customers. Here’s how to level up your brand loyalty at each stage.
Level 1: Targeting Prospects
Retargeting is one of the best ways to bring prospects back to your site. 97% of first-time site visitors leave without making a purchase. So use remarketing ads to capitalise on the money you’ve spent bringing people to your site in the first place.
Switchers aren’t loyal to any particular brand. They need a reason to choose you over your competitors. This could be a great offer, or just displaying your ads in the right place at the right time.
Take Australian watch company The 5th. The 5th has a unique business model. Each watch design has a limited run, which is released on the 5th of each month (hence the name). Each watch is available for no more than five days.
This model means there’s a flurry of activity on their site for those five days, but the rest of the month is much quieter. The 5th used remarketing ads to stay connected to prospective customers between launches, keeping them top-of-mind. This increased sales across their permanent collections, as well as stimulating interest for their next monthly launch. The 5th’s retargeting campaigns resulted in:
- 10.5x ROI
- 2,000 conversions a month
- Cost-per-acquisition of $1.66
Retargeting can be the difference between lost sales and first-time buyers, who have the potential to become long-term fans of your brand.
Level 2: Turning Prospects Into Customers
Great ads need compelling landing pages to back them up. Low-quality landing pages are less likely to convert, and can also lower your Google Ads Quality Score, making your ads less visible and more expensive.
To convert as many prospects as possible, your landing pages should:
- Have a single, clear call-to-action
- Speak directly to prospect wants, needs, and pain points
- Offer a clear value proposition
- Use clear, concise language
- Include high-quality, fast-loading images and videos
Switchers and habitual buyers can be easily swayed by more compelling offers. So make sure your value proposition resonates with your target audience. A/B testing is a good way to check this. Here’s a good landing page example from video company Promo:
Here’s why it works:
- Obvious value proposition — fast, ready-made, professional videos
- Free trial, showing confidence in their product
- Social proof offered by previous customers (who are now brand advocates)
- Single clear CTA (boosted by the lack of navigation).
Level 3: Turning Customers Into Repeat Customers
Email marketing is a great way to nurture leads and turn one-time buyers into repeat customers without breaking the bank.
Email allows you to personalise the customer journey with highly targeted content. Product recommendations, exclusive offers, and other personal touches can make all the difference for snagging a sale.
These emails from clothing brands Dorothy Perkins and Uniqlo are both designed to solicit another sale from previous buyers:
Dorothy Perkins offers 20% off as a thank you for making a purchase previously. Uniqlo, meanwhile, uses purchase or view history to nudge the recipient into buying again. Abandoned cart emails can also help clinch a second sale.
Social media is another useful tool here, especially if you’re running paid social campaigns. Engaging with comments and questions builds trust in your brand, as you continually show your customers that you understand them.
Level 4: Turning Repeat Customers Into Fans
Repeat customers have the potential to become real brand advocates. But the first step is channelling their custom into genuine enthusiasm for your brand.
This is where brands with the best customer experience excel. Customer experience goes beyond sales and lead nurturing. It exceeds your customers’ expectations to create memorable experiences they want to share.
“We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere.”
Hubspot’s Jamal Meneide explains how Disney’s customer service model achieves such great accolades:
Disney’s customer service model is built on four basics: safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. This easy-to-understand model dates all the way back to the 1960s, and it’s just as effective today. That’s because Disney has worked hard to adapt those four principles into the digital age.
Here are a few examples of how Disney have used these basic customer service tenets to create a unique, memorable experience that keeps people returning to their resorts:
- A dedicated guest services Twitter account allows guests to ask questions and get rapid responses wherever they are.
- An official site called Plan Disney, where brand ambassadors share their tips and advice for a great visit.
- A free planning service called Disney Genie, which generates a personalised itinerary based on your idea of a perfect Disney day.
Essentially, Disney pulls out all the stops to “create happiness” for their guests. It’s why their resorts have such a high return rate, and why so many people go on to become genuine advocates for the brand.
Level 5: Turning Fans Into Advocates
When you’re backed by a great fanbase, you can grow this into a following of brand advocates. Brand advocates are those at the top of the brand loyalty pyramid. They will:
- Always look to your brand first.
- Leave positive reviews.
- Respond to surveys and callouts.
- Proactively share their experiences on social media (for free).
- Recommend your brand to other people.
- Participate in referral and reward programmes.
You can encourage brand fans to become brand ambassadors by:
- Collecting and sharing customer success stories.
- Promoting and sharing user-generated content to showcase positive experiences.
- Asking for honest reviews and feedback (and using the best ones as social proof).
- Setting up a referral programme that encourages brand fans to recommend you to others.
- Creating a community around your brand and its values, allowing fans and advocates to connect with each other.
Brand advocates aren’t influencers, or people you pay to promote your product online. They’re real customers who have been loyal to your brand for months or even years. So aim to reward their loyalty by continuing to provide brilliant customer service.
Banish Bots From Your Brand Loyalty Campaigns
The brand loyalty pyramid is a useful framework for businesses looking to turn PPC traffic into lifelong customers. By targeting prospects, turning them into customers, and nurturing them into repeat customers, you can create brand advocates who will recommend your brand and stick with you over your competitors.
It’s cheaper, faster, and easier to snap up sales from existing customers than new ones. But unlike new customers, bots won’t give you any kind of return. So don’t waste time, money, or energy trying to convert invalid traffic into brand-loyal customers.
Lunio prevents fake users from clicking ads and entering your pipeline, so you won’t waste time trying to clinch sales from them. That means you can spend more time building brand loyalty among your real customers.
Make sure 100% of your budget is spent on real audiences with genuine conversion potential. Book a Lunio demo to find out more.