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3 engagement strategies you can use for user retention

Personalization, Storytelling, and Community Building are currently the most reliable strategies for user retention. And considering the ongoing marketing trends, you'd be smart to use web stories in them.

Being able to retain users is one of the more useful skills a brand manager can have. Sadly, fully understanding and applying various strategies for user retention is easier said than done. Considering the steep competition that most brands face, and how easy it is for customers to switch from one to another, it shouldn't come as a surprise that keeping user's loyalty is no joke. This is why we feel it’s important to tackle user retention with due care, and provide you with specific strategies on how to handle it. And, as you'll soon see, web stories will play an important role in all of them.

Why is it difficult to retain users?

Before we get into specific strategies it is best to first outline what user retention is and why it is difficult to maintain. Modern technology does make user management easier. But even with them at your disposal, you still dedicate a lot of time and resources to improve user retention. So, what makes it so difficult?

High completion

Online shopping has opened up a lot of markets. This, while giving users more options, has made it more difficult for shopping brands to keep theirs. Before you only had to compete with local businesses, now you have a plethora of online competition to consider. Larger brands can especially be difficult to compete with, as their larger profit margin makes it easy to offer discounts and special offers. Furthermore, brands go out of their way to make switching to them as intuitive and cheap as possible for customers. This gives users a further incentive to switch brands at the earliest inconvenience.

A story with discount offer
Competing in the modern online market means competing against everyone that has global shipping.

High user expectations

Since brands are essentially competing in how to best cater to their users, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that users have become spoiled. While before you could be forgiven a mistake in shipping or a long time in responding to a complaint, this is no longer the case. Modern users have high standards for user experience, ease of use, and quality-to-price ratio. Anything less than excellent can result in them leaving you. To add to this, certain users tend to be quite inconsistent in their preferences. For certain industries, user preferences and behaviors change rapidly, and brands must constantly adapt to meet these evolving expectations.

Engagement fatigue

It doesn't take much online experience to appreciate the fact that most users suffer from engagement fatigue. After all, we are all bombarded with content and notifications whenever we check our phones. This leads to desensitization and overall reluctance to engage with brands. Furthermore, you have decreasing attention spans which means users are highly unlikely to stay engaged with content that doesn’t immediately capture their interest.

An ad in short format announcing sale
Considering how often we are forced to look at ads, it is no surprise that we've grown tired of them.

And if they do engage, they will expect value. Users must see clear, understandable value in a product or service to remain loyal. If they don’t perceive enough value, they’ll likely move on. This goes hand in hand with innovation, as what customers perceive as valuable tends to change. Failure to innovate and introduce new, valuable features can make a product feel stagnant, encouraging users to look for more innovative alternatives.

Is it worth it?

So we have a substantial number of competitors trying to retain users who have zero patience for marketing content and expect perfect service. It is obvious why some brands simply focus on user acquisition and forgo retention altogether. But, it is by no means unmanageable. If you adopt the right strategy for your brand and use the right tools you are more likely to retain your customers than not. And once you consider the statistics, you'll soon see why going out of your way to maintain customer loyalty is quite worthwhile. To have a better idea, consider that:

  • The chance of selling something to a repeat customer is 60% to 70%. For a new one, it’s just 5% to 20%.
  • Repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers.
  • As much as 44% of companies still don’t calculate their customer retention rate.
  • 72% of consumers feel loyalty towards a particular brand or company.

These stats alone should tell you that tackling user retention is well worth your while.

Improving user retention with web stories

While there are many user retention strategies to consider, we feel that the majority of them are industry-specific. After all, how an airline company will engage with its customer base can be drastically different from a sports goods company. So, instead, we will focus on the big three that are most tried-and-true in today's marketing landscape. Personalization, Storytelling, and Community building. With luck, you should be able to adapt one of these strategies to properly suit your brand and help you build a loyal customer base.

Personalization

The traditional approach to marketing is that you create quality content that properly represents your brand and then show it to as big of an audience as possible. If the content is good, the majority of your audience will find it interesting and will likely engage with your brand. If you represent your brand well, most of that audience will become buyers. And if they already were, this new bit of content will reinvigorate their interest in your brand. This is a brand-focused marketing approach that first considers what the brand is about and then applies that brand value to the customers. Unfortunately, this approach is outdated and is unlikely to bring you any sizable traffic.

Personalied content in story format
Even large brands need to adopt modern marketing methods.

While there is still room for brand-focused content, modern marketing is slowly but surely turning towards customers. After all, it has become painfully obvious that customers will likely ignore content that isn't specifically catered to them. And if they don't feel that a brand is catering to them, they will look for the one that will. So, to get and more importantly keep modern customers, you need to personalize your marketing content. To make this possible, you need to collect ample customer data and use it as a basis for content creation.

Data collection and analysis

Proper personalization starts with proper data collection and analytics. It is a common mistake among beginners to underestimate the importance of analytics in marketing. Just know that without it, you cannot make fact-based decisions. When it comes to data collection, you need to differentiate between first and third-party data, as they have different applications. First-party data will be gathered through various channels such as website interactions, social media, and purchase history. This information serves as a way to segment users into different groups, and then create personalized content for each group.

Personalized content

Another way to consider marketing content is as static or dynamic. Static is the more traditional form of content where your content doesn't change (therefore it is static). Dynamic content, as you would assume, changes based on who is watching it. As such, a big part of your content ought to be dynamic to resonate with different groups. This can include personalized recommendations, targeted offers, and customized landing pages. Similarly, you can send personalized emails with content tailored to the user’s interests, such as product recommendations, special offers, and updates on topics they care about. These personalized emails can remind your customers of your brand and provide them an incentive to do further business with you.

User experience (UX) optimization

The idea behind dynamic content is not to simply put individual bits of content out there. Ideally, you would use personalization to create a wholly personalized UX. You can design user interfaces that adapt to individual user preferences, making navigation and interaction more intuitive. Plus, you can implement behavioral triggers that respond to user actions. For instance, you can send a special offer if a user abandons their cart. Or you can provide a discount for specific items based on what the user usually views. Things such as these go a long way in helping you retain your users.

Combining personalization and Web Stories for user retention

Now, a big problem that marketers face is how to attract the viewer's attention. As we said, personalized content will keep the viewer's attention. But how do you initially grab it? Well, this is one of the many aspects where web stories come in handy. As bite-sized, visually rich content bits they serve as a great way to attract the viewer's attention. Keep in mind that web stories can be dynamic. This enables you to recommend web stories that match users’ interests and preferences, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.

Enhanced user experience

The surest way to retain your users is to ensure that they have a pleasant time while viewing your online content. Besides being intuitive and well-organized, your content should naturally flow between platforms. If the customer wishes to go from your online store to a web browser, then to your app, then back to your store, they should do so seamlessly. Here, again, we have a situation where web stories are of great use.

A story with call to action button leading to website
A crucial part of good UX is for users to be able to seamlessly transition between platforms.

Know that it is fairly easy to integrate personalized elements within web stories, such as recommending products based on viewing history or tailoring story content to user preferences. By doing so you will naturally bridge different platforms within your online presence, and ensure that your users stay loyal. What's important here is to ensure that the personalized experience is consistent across all touchpoints, including web stories, to build a strong brand connection.

Engagement and loyalty programs

Another way to make use of web stories is to use them for personalized offers. For instance, it is common practice for brands to implement loyalty programs that reward users. After all, to retain users, you need to give them an incentive why they should stick with your brand. But, what if you took it a step further and made that incentive personalized? If you already know what your customers prefer, you can easily set up a discount system that rewards their loyalty. You can further engage them with personalized content and web stories, such as points for viewing stories or special offers for frequent interaction. You can also publish exclusive web stories and personalized content to loyal users to make them feel valued and encourage continued engagement. The more you make your users feel special through personalization, the more likely they are to stick with you.

Storytelling

The second strategy you can use to improve user retention is marketing storytelling. This involves creating and sharing compelling narratives to connect with the audience on an emotional level. By doing so, you build brand identity and convey the brand’s values and messages in a memorable way. The reason for this is fairly simple. We, as humans, tend to resonate with stories. After all, we've been reading, listening, and watching stories all our lives. And that innate resonance makes us naturally inclined to pay attention to stories.

So, if you manage to introduce storytelling into your marketing, you will effectively leverage the power of stories to capture the viewer's attention and keep them connected to your brand. But, to do that there are a couple of things you need to consider.

Understand your audience

This brings us back to the previous paragraph where we outlined the importance of understanding who you are trying to reach. You'll have a hard time getting, let alone retaining, customers if you don't know who they are and what they prefer. So, to help bolster your marketing storytelling, try to gain a deeper insight into your target audience’s interests and preferences. By knowing this you will not only know what type of content to create, but also what emotion to lean on. Consider that stories can be funny, cute, awe-inspiring, nostalgic, sad... All different emotions that you can lean into to have a bigger impact on your users. The only question is which emotion will best resonate with them.

In practice, it is best to develop detailed buyer personas to guide the creation of relevant and resonant stories. Each persona can be a representative of specific groups that you've segmented. By doing so you will get a clearer idea of how they would react to specific story content.

Craft a compelling narrative

Web stories are one of the best ways to put marketing storytelling into practice. The reasons for this are plentiful, but they boil down to the fact that web stories naturally along with the overall story format. Keep in mind that a marketing story can be a single content instance, or it is something that you lay out through multiple posts. What's important is that your story content has a clear beginning, middle, and end and that it combines information with emotions.

How people go about creating narratives can differ wildly. But, if you don't have much creative experience, we would advise that you first define the core message that you want to convey through your story. By doing so, you will have a firm structure to build upon. Secondly, you want to combine your core message with an emotion that best reaffirms it. Here it will be vital that you consider the buyer persona you are trying to reach. Keep in mind that emotions are not only coveted with words, but also with colors, images, and sounds, which is another reason why web stories are so useful. Handling this will take some practice, which is why StorifyMe is here to help.

Authentic and relatable

Another point to keep in mind is that we tend to react to stories that relate to us. This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea to have a brand spokesperson who shares the demographic traits of the majority of your audience. A live feed explaining how your company is doing, and that you appreciate the support from your users, can go a long way in reaffirming their loyalty. You can also look to use UGC as a way to represent your brand. A short story where your customer had a problem, got your help, and fixed the problem is all you need to get the viewer's attention. And if you can convince others to share their stories with your brand, all the better.

These are just some of the ways in which you can build customer loyalty. What we would advise is that you use web stories to showcase these interviews and videos regularly. By doing so, you will build a sense of community with your audience and make them feel as if they are a part of your company. This brings us to the last strategy.

Fostering a community

No matter what online technique you use to capture the user's attention, there is really no substitute for having a community of users. Fostering a community around your brand is essential for building long-term customer relationships, enhancing brand loyalty, and driving organic growth. By doing so you build a stable customer base that you can learn and rely upon. Such customers will be far more forgiving of the mistakes you, as a brand, are bound to make. And they will be far more likely to help you grow your brand, either through word-of-mouth marketing or by giving their honest input. But, fostering a community takes time and effort.

A Story showcasing a customer wearing the brands clothes
There is really no substitute to having a strong community behind your brand.

As a member of a community, your users will have an extra incentive to stay loyal. This immediately gives you a leg up over your competition, as overcoming the sense of loyalty to a community is an uphill battle.

Use web stories to help foster a community

Now, it is important to recognize that fostering a community takes time and patience. You need to slowly develop your brand, and help your customer feel that they are a part of it. This includes managing reviews and ratings, responding to comments, and engaging with users as much as possible. For many of these, web stories, with their immersive and interactive nature, can be a powerful tool.

Sharing community stories

While your users can always leave their reviews and comments in written form, you should try to motivate them to create story content. For all the reasons listed before, story content tends to be a better option. And considering how easy it is to create short videos with phones, it shouldn't be as much of a bother. You can feature stories created by community members, such as testimonials, user experiences, and success stories. You can even respond to these stories, and send users gifts if they showcase you in a decent light.

StorifyMe Short showcasing shopping haul
A quick web story from your users will be quite useful for user retention.

It can also be a good idea to look for social media influences in your community and motivate them to review you. Doing so will foster a sense of recognition and belonging. Especially if you let influencers give you an honest review.

Educational content

Another way to help build a community around your brand is to use your industry knowledge to educate people. Millennials, for instance, tend to respond quite well to educational content. And the better you present your content, the more likely they are to share it. You can create web stories that provide valuable information, such as how-to guides, tips, and tutorials relevant to the community.
Furthermore, you can share insights and advice from experts or industry leaders within the web stories to provide value to the community. If your brand stands behind a well-made third-party explanation, you will get a point in honesty.

Live interaction

Live interactions can be especially useful on social media, as they lean into the FOMO aspect. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is a marketing notion where people are more willing to engage with something if they know that they have a limited time to do so. So, try hosting live Q&A sessions or webinars and see how many people join in. You can share highlights or summaries through web stories to keep the community informed and engaged. And you can provide special offers that are exclusively available for live viewers. These live interactions go a long way in building a sense of community among your audience.

Final thoughts

As we stated at first, user retention is not something you can tackle quickly. Whatever strategy you opt for, it will take further research, experimentation, and time before you see results. So, to give yourself a better idea of whether you've adopted the right strategy, we would advise that you set up metrics. You need to keep track of your Churn Rate, CLV, and Retention Rate, to start. Once you have a grip on these, you will be able to set up metrics that are more specific to your industry and ongoing strategy. All in all, modern customer loyalty is all about showing your customers that their opinions matter and that you want to help them. Everything else flows from this.

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