Drive and Convert (Ep. 022): 7 Types of Customers and How to Convert Each of Them

There are seven different types of people that you're going to find coming to your site.

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About This Episode:

There are seven different types of people that you’re going to find coming to your site. And if you can understand who these people are in each one of their buckets, you’re going to be able to help each one of them convert because they’re all going to look at your site a little bit differently. So how do we understand who they are? And what do we need to know to convert these people? Jon’s got the answers!

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Episode Transcript:

Ryan: Well, Jon, welcome to the Drive and Convert podcast. You’ve done a lot of writing, to say the least. You’ve got some phenomenal content out there on the internet and as somebody that reads most of your content and speaks to you often, it’s always good to read. So if you’re listening to this, go find Jon and all of his content on his website. I highly recommend it. You will come away as a smarter human. But one of the fascinating concepts that at least for me seems fairly unique to your brain and at least the content you’re putting out is the idea of there are seven different types of people that you’re going to find coming to your site. And if you can understand who these people are in each one of their buckets, you’re going to be able to help each one of them convert because they’re all going to look at your site a little bit differently or want to do slightly different things.
But I guess step one is just, how do we understand who they are? And then we want to know how do we convert these people? We’ve got them to the site. We know who they are, now how do we convert them? So I’m excited to hear about this because I can never get enough insight into how to make my businesses and my clients’ businesses work better. But can you kick us off just by telling us who are the seven personas that you’re seeing on the internet coming to websites?

Jon: Well, thank you, first of all, for the kind of compliments on the content. I’m blushing over here if you can’t see that. Yes, there are seven and a lot of people think, seven that’s a lot. But the reality here is there might be some overlap in these as well, right? And these are all different types of people that you really need to address on your site. And so many people don’t do that, that it really led me to write this content. So the first set of folks coming to your site are what I call lookers, right? These are people who are just looking. They’re browsers, if you will, right? They’re not after any one thing in particular, they’re having fun just looking around. They want to see what you offer that maybe will catch your attention.
Honestly, they may even have been just searching around Google for different types of products and ended up at your site, not necessarily by mistake, but they ended up there and now they’re just looking at what you have to offer. Really you just need to understand that not everybody who approaches your site’s going to buy. Most e-comm sites know that, right? Because their conversion rate’s not a hundred percent or else we wouldn’t exist. But the reality here is that you still need to address this audience.
A second one to be thinking about is bargain hunters. These are people who are only at your site because you’re having a sale or some type of offer.

Ryan: Hopefully, it’s not a discount.

Jon: Exactly. That would be my point of view. But that’s what they’re looking for there. They’re trained, as we have said, several times, they’re trained to look for that sale. And so there are people, and there is a segment of folks who will only buy if something’s at a perceived bargain, right? And they really want to see if they can find the bargain. Sometimes it’s the thrill of finding the bargain that really gets to them.
The third you really want to think about it as the buyers. Now, it seems pretty obvious, but some people are really on a mission. They know exactly what they want and they’re there to get it. So they searched for the model number, they found your site, and they are ready to buy. And so you really want to facilitate that. A fourth is researchers. Some folks are just researching. They have a general idea of what they’re after, but they want to compare those options and the prices. So, a lot of people will go to Amazon for this, but now, a lot of people are doing that on brand sites as well. They go to Amazon and they find the product they want but then they end up on your brand site after they’ve done that research. They find the model number on Amazon, they Google it to find more details about the brand behind the product. Amazon isn’t always the best at having product details, right? So a lot of times you’ll end up on a brand site trying to do that and that’s what these folks are.

Ryan: Now, what would be the big differentiator on the researchers and the lookers? Because a lot of similarities between the two, but what would be the key differentiators in your mind?

Jon: The key differentiator is the researcher knows what they want. They know what they’re looking for. The lookers are … It’s kind of like wandering around a mall versus going right into the Apple store. You’re at the mall but you beeline it for one shop because you know that you need something from that shop. Where you might just go to the mall to hang out, right? If that’s even a thing, post-COVID one day, we’ll see.

Ryan: Someday we’ll get back to a mall, maybe.

Jon: New customers is another one. People don’t really think about that often. And this is really where some visitors are just going to be new customers. They enjoyed their last visit. Maybe they were a looker on their last visit and now they’re there to find out more and potentially become a new customer. Perhaps these are people who you should really be thinking about post-purchase, like they just purchased. What happens at that point, right? So these could be people who are buying from you the first time. And it’s an audience you really need to be thinking about because you need to make them feel welcomed and appreciated.
One that a lot of people don’t think about is dissatisfied customers. Everybody has them. I don’t care if your net promoter scores is perfect or you don’t hear about these complaints. Everybody has a dissatisfied customer or more. And that’s okay. These people are there for a number of reasons and it might not always be that bad. Maybe they’re just dissatisfied because it didn’t fit the way they thought it would, but they still like the product, they’re there to return or exchange. For some reason, a previous purchase didn’t suit them and now they want customer service. And the goal here is to make it easy for them to get that and perhaps even do self-service where possible. And the last one, seven of seven, we blew right through these, but we’ll dive into each in a second, but this is loyal customers. So some of these are your best customers. They come back, they love shopping with you. They love your product and then they’re going to be repeat customers. So, that’s the seven. To run them real quick, it’s lookers, bargain hunters, buyers, researchers, new customers, dissatisfied customers, and loyal customers.

Ryan: Got it. So we know what personas people are in, generally. And then are there ways outside of the types of traffic that you help decide who this one is on the site to do that, or is it, I just want to make sure the site works for all of them?

Jon: You really want to make sure the site works for all of them. And I think that there’s many ways to group people into these different types. As I said earlier, they could be multiple types. But I heard you say the word persona, and I think I really want to make clear that it’s easy to get dragged into things like personas, or where people are in the sales funnel, or warm, hot, and cold leads and visitors, or any of those things that can really just take you down the rabbit hole if you will, right? And I see this all the time where we ask people, who’s your ideal customer, and they give us an avatar of somebody that has flowcharts, and photos of Charlie, the avid runner, and his demographics, and preferences, and what soda he drinks, or what bottled water he prefers, and all of that stuff doesn’t really matter. It’s never really put to good use, especially when it comes to optimizing a website, because that guy, Charlie, the runner, he was generated in the mind of the brand. He’s not an actual consumer, right?
So what you really want to do here is just keep it simple. Really you just want to focus on better serving each of these. And by doing that, you’re likely to increase your conversions for each of these. Additionally, if you go any deeper than that, you’re unlikely to get started because you’ll end up in this, as I said earlier, rabbit hole of trying to figure out who Charlie is. Well, Charlie, isn’t going to be all seven of these, right? So don’t worry about Charlie and don’t worry about going so deep.

Ryan: Because you might have your … If you’ve done the persona thing as a brand, you could have your same persona being all of these types. And so at the same time, keep this very top level when you’re looking at your site and trying to guide traffic and just do what Jon says at the end of the day.

Jon: If the world only worked that way. I’ll have you call my wife after this and tell her that too.

Ryan: Yeah, you do the same for me when we’re talking about driving traffic. Okay. But we’ve got to tell people how do we take these groups of traffic and these people and get them to take the action we want them to take on the site. Because I’m guessing to a degree, not all of them are the same conversion either.

Jon: Very accurate. That’s true.

Ryan: So we’ve got to think about that as well. Like a disgruntled customer is probably different than a looker at the end of the day, as far as action. So guide our listeners and viewers around what that looks like and how you’re seeing converting those people.

Jon: Well, let’s break them down one by one, shall we? So start with lookers, really is what I would recommend here. And I think the thing to be thinking about here is with lookers is you’re going to catch your attention and get them to stop that just shopping and not browsing long enough to consider some type of offer or something that gets their attention, right? So if you know your customers well enough, which most brands listening to this will, they’ll know what will entice their customers.
And I’m not just talking about an offer or a special or deal or anything of that sense, I’m also saying what’s that one feature that makes you unique and makes you stand out? What’s the benefit of the product that’s really going to hit home for these people? They’re at your site because they had a pain or a problem they’re trying to solve. And they think your products can help them solve that problem. So you really want to make sure that you’re putting that right upfront to get these people’s attention early. But know also, it could take a few sales to get these people in there, right? So don’t be discouraged when you see the bounce rate up there because people are just looking and leaving. That’s what they do. That’s why I call them lookers.

Ryan: I hate when people talk to me about bounce rate. Take your bounce rate to the bank. Have them tell you what that’s worth.

Jon: Yeah, it doesn’t help, right?

Ryan: No.

Jon: And it’s a metric so many people chase, I think, thinking, oh, I can get my bounce rate down. Okay, this one goes in with time on-site with me as well. So many people track time on-site and I think it’s a false metric because if you think about it, I’m there to get my tasks done. I’m there because I want to buy this product, or even if I’m just looking around, I generally have an idea of what I’m doing at your site. I might just still be browsing, but I have an idea of why I’m there.
The problem with this is if I’m there for 10 minutes, you’ve made my life really complicated. I’m there because I need something, I’m looking around, and then the problem is I can’t find that or I got sucked into something and I’m there for 10 minutes. As opposed to, I would much rather have customers who are at my site for three minutes and buy, right? And then I have their information. I can continue to market to them at another opportunity. But if somebody is spending 10, 20 minutes on your site, we probably have some type of usability problem.

Ryan: Well, and also I laughed when you started talking about catching their attention because I know you’re going to tell people it is not a pop-up telling them to join your email list for 10% off your first order, especially if you’re a looker.

Jon: Yep. I agree with that.

Ryan: That is not going to be a quality email.

Jon: Not at all. But you do want to encourage them to get on your mailing list but not through a discount, not through a pop-up, really encourage them in other ways so that you can then follow up with them later. Maybe that’s something like an upcoming new release that they might be interested in, right? You should be thinking about it in that way. Once you’ve kind of got their attention, then how are you going to continue to keep that attention and continue to market to them? This is where I hear you say all the time, you’re happy to pay for ads and break-even knowing you’re building your customer roster. And I think that this is a good opportunity to be thinking about that without actually converting for a sale, right? This is what we would call a micro-conversion, where they’re doing something that’s not actually an exchange of money.

Ryan: Now I would venture a guess and you can probably correct me if I’m wrong, but lookers probably make up the largest portion of traffic to most e-comm sites.

Jon: Yes. There’s a reason that I put them first on the list. It’s because it’s going to be the vast majority.

Ryan: So it’s a vast majority. You’ve worked with some pretty large brands with the ability to test measure lots of different things. Top of mind, obviously on the fly because we didn’t talk about this beforehand, but what’s a good implementation of this catch your attention that you’ve seen implemented that caused the brand to continue to be able to grow and push these lookers further down the funnel?

Jon: Yeah. So this is where things like we were just looking at a company that sells a bunch of different pants. The price point was like $128 for a pair of pants. And I was like, man, that’s, that’s kind of expensive. I’m just looking at these pants. I don’t really need a pair of pants right now. But the reality is what caught my attention was that they are five times stronger than jeans and I can do a lot of different activities in them. And that caught my attention because now I’m thinking, “Wow, they’re going to last a lot longer than jeans and I probably spent $100 on a pair of jeans.” So what’s 28 more dollars to have them last five times as long as jeans, right? So just something like that, the benefit is really going to hit that. And I’m the target audience for that site I was looking at.
So, these lookers, they’re likely, the vast majority of them should be your target audience. If you’re working with Ryan in Logical Position, then you’re driving qualified traffic. And so assuming you’re driving qualified traffic and these lookers end up there, they’re going to be within your demographic of who is your ideal customer, so then really it’s all about connecting with them on the benefit.

Ryan: Got it. Okay. I think that’s a great thing. It’s easy to execute for most brands, I think.

Jon: Yeah, for sure. So we can also talk about for each of these how I would recommend converting these. And I think for the lookers, I would want to really just make sure the e-commerce site is easy to navigate and search because really that’s what they’re here to do, is just walk around the store, right? So make it easy. Don’t put barriers in their way, help them get where they want to go, and give them a really excellent reason to give them that email address that we talked about or other contact information, and so you can build a relationship with a nurturing campaign. That site I was just talking about, they had a bi-weekly $150 gift card that they would give to somebody who signed up. So you’re entered to win a $150 gift card every other week, which is great because of $128 pair of jeans, I might get those for free. So if I’m seriously interested and I want to continue to stay in touch with this brand, I might’ve given them my email address there, right?
And then another way really here is cart abandonment because a lot of lookers will add stuff to cart as a way of holding it to compare and look at when they’re done browsing your store. It’s kind of like if you go shopping and you might pick up a couple of different pairs of clothing or something off the rack when you’re walking around the store because, “Oh, I like this. I might like it. Let me see what else they have too.” And then you end up with three or four things, right? It’s the same thing browsers are doing on your website. They’re throwing it in their cart and then they want to just take a look at that and evaluate after. So having some type of cart abandonment there can be a great way to captivate their interest.

Ryan: Awesome.

Jon: So next would be bargain hunters. With bargain hunters, it’s really not about discounting, right? That’s not conversion optimization. I think you know my stance on discounting. People who listened to this show will know I’m fervent about not discounting, right? But instead, really look to offers like free shipping, or gift with purchase, BOGO. We did a whole episode on this. People really want to know the alternatives, they exist. And really here, you just want to be thinking about things like current offers on your website. Don’t make your customer’s desert at the checkout and then go elsewhere to find that bargain or that special code. If they have to go to any of those sites, they’re not coming back. And so we really don’t want to drive them there. And you might also highlight, last chance or clearance items instead of making shoppers really go find those on your site. It could be really good on every category to have a little tout or badge or flag on each product that says something about how it’s last chance, or low inventory, or something that’s on clearance.

Ryan: Now, do you advocate for having a clearance or an outlet navigation button on brand sites for this type of thing?

Jon: Generally not. Where I want to see that as within the category because, yes, having a clearance item … A lot of brands will put that in the main navigation. The problem is you’re wasting a really critical main navigation slot. You only want five to six navigation items to begin with. And if you’re taking clearance as one of those or something of that sort, a sale, I see a lot of people have sale in main navigation, what’s going to happen is people are going to go there first and they’re not going to get a total view of your products. Usually, the products that are in that clearance are in clearance for a reason. They weren’t really popular. So why do you want the first impression of what your product should be, for a person coming into your site to see, is only the products that other people normally wouldn’t buy and they’re on clearance, right? So instead, mix clearance in with your other products. That way you’re not promoting only your worst sellers if you will.

Ryan: A couple interesting points that deviate a little bit from what we’re talking about, but it’s applicable in that I can afford most things on the sites I go to, but I am cheap by default so I always go to the clearance button first. Because I’m like if I can find what I’m looking for on clearance first, I’m going to get it. Even though if I didn’t see clearance, I would have gone to the product and probably bought a higher price one by default because that’s just how I operate on a site. But also, when you are throwing discounted products on your site, and there’s a clearance section that they are in, if your Google shopping is not set up properly, all of those products would have been going into the clearance section and you can be stuck in the clearance section of the site and you’re going to be staying in there most of the time.
And because products are discounted price, generally get to show more often in Google shopping because they’re lower price point or there’s a discounted price, you will, unfortunately, be sending a lot of discounted traffic to your site when that maybe is not the focus of your brand. So some brands I advocate for having an outlet site that’s completely separate.

Jon: That’s a great point.

Ryan: Kind of like Gap Outlet, their stores, they sell all their old stuff and they’ll have a separate site, and then having the people going to on that.

Jon: That’s a great point. And that probably makes Kanye very happy as well. Next up is buyers. Buyers should be buying from you in a way that’s hassle-free, right? These people want to buy. They’re there to buy. They have a job. That’s one job that they’re there to do and that’s to buy, so let them buy. Clear these obstacles, make it easy and simple to buy, really be thinking here about the bottlenecks in the path to purchase that people must take, right? What are the hurdles you’re asking them to jump over? Let’s get rid of those. A really great way to look at this is to do user testing, get people who fit your ideal customer profiles, and have them run through your site while you record it and talk about the challenges they’re having.
Again, the whole goal here is to get outside the jar, read the label from outside the jar. And it’s really hard to do that when you’re too close to it. So really be focusing on just eliminating every single possible barrier, too many fields on checkout, making people create an account before they buy, all of those things that would be extra steps or what we’re looking to eliminate with these.

Ryan: And be clear on your shipping rates. That’s the one that makes me so mad lately, is people not telling me what I’m going to pay for shipping, so it’ll increase your cart abandonment too.

Jon: Yeah, Exactly. I mean, these people are ready to buy until they saw you were going to charge them 20 bucks to ship, right? And so, there you go. Perfect case study.

Announcer: You’re listening to Drive and Convert, a podcast focused on e-commerce growth. Your hosts are Jon MacDonald, founder of The Good, a conversion rate optimization agency that works with e-commerce brands to help convert more of their visitors into buyers, and Ryan Garrow of Logical Position, a digital marketing agency offering pay-per-click management, search engine optimization, and website design services to brands of all sizes. If you find this podcast helpful, please help us out by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts and sharing it with a friend or colleague. Thank you.

Jon: All right. Should we move on to researchers?

Ryan: Yes.

Jon: Really, researchers, my point of view on these is these folks need to just make sure that they feel like they’ve considered their options and they’re making the right decision. And your job, your only job is to help them do that. So what does this look like? Well, provide all the info you can think of, dimensions, instructions, details, data, data, data. That’s what these people want, right? They’re comparing. They came to your site because as I mentioned earlier, they were on Amazon, the Amazon didn’t have the details, so they’re relying on your site to have them. And you want to help them just make an informed decision. This could be everything from product reviews from other consumers to video. Researchers love video because they can see the products in motion and in use. Somebody even just holding the product and walking them through it.
Specialized Bicycles does an amazing job of this. They actually have employees of Specialized, not models or anything else. It’s employees hold the bike and then walk a consumer through it on video. And it’s really, really well done. It does not have to be … They shoot it in a studio, but it doesn’t feel like it’s a super well-polished and professional video on purpose, right? It’s not some high production quality. You’re aiming for your local news versus the national morning show, right, in level of quality here.

Ryan: Got it.

Jon: So the other thing is, really help these people understand things like sizing and photography. Video, I mentioned. So those are the things you just really want to help people dive into are all these different decision points. All right, new customers. These folks, they really want to feel like they’ve made a wise decision or that you want them to feel like they can make a wise decision, understand your warranties, helping people stand behind their products. You want to make sure that you’re glad that they are your customer and make them know that.
So this is where you think about retail source. Like your wife’s retail store, right? She’s there to answer questions. She can help out with returns. She’ll generally just express gratitude when these people are shopping, right? It’s hard to do that online, but this is where it becomes really, really important that you’re doing things like building relationships with nurturing campaigns. And that can start with, as I mentioned earlier, a post-purchase campaign. What happens after this new customer becomes a new customer, right? They’re no longer a visitor, they’re now a customer. What do you need to do there? Loyalty campaigns, a huge way to engage these folks, right? You get them in and say, “Thank you so much for your first purchase. Here is points for your next purchase,” or, “Two more purchases and your fourth one is free.” Something of that sort, right? Where you’re helping these loyal people become loyal customers. That’s really what this is all about.

Ryan: And these people just purchased, so maybe they haven’t even gotten the product yet or maybe they just got it.

Jon: Exactly.

Ryan: Even just user videos on how to use the product you’re getting can be valuable. I do that with Joyful Dirt.

Jon: That’s a great point, right? So what can you send as that follow-up email flow while the people are waiting for their package to make sure they know that you have their back, right? So if I bought Joyful Dirt, what do I need to prep for? Is there a season I should be doing this in? How much water do I need to apply? All these other types of things that I probably don’t really think about, but are really key to somebody getting the most out of the product and buying again, right? If I follow your instructions for Joyful Dirt, I am more likely to have a good experience and then buy again, then if I just use the product without reading the instructions, which is more likely for me than not so.

Ryan: What I appreciate on it too, on that first email after I purchase, usually the next day, it builds the anticipation because often I forget what I bought yesterday and I get surprised by Amazon in two days, who are the site I purchased it on. And so you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I do have that coming in a day.” I’m excited to get it now because I was excited yesterday when I bought it, and I forgot today, and then tomorrow when it arrives, I get excited. So it’s a good way to continue that kind of that high from my purchase that I just paid.

Jon: How is there not a phrase like the Amazon phenomenon or something, where everybody forgets what they ordered at Amazon at midnight the night before and then it shows up two days later and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I was looking for that. That was great. I’m a genius.”

Ryan: I know. I was like, well, I knew I wanted one of these and like, oh, I did want one and then I bought it. It was great. In college, it would have been, “Man, what did I do at 2:00 AM?” and talk about, “Oh, I had a bean burrito.” Now, it’s just transaction fatigue or something. And I’m just [crosstalk 00:25:48].

Jon: That was much lower key than I thought you were going there, Ryan. 2:00 AM in college. But this happened to me recently where I was working out with a trainer and we do an outdoor workout in my garage now. And it was really funny because he didn’t bring his TRX bands. If you know about these TRX straps, they’re a way to do workouts. And the reality is that I went on and I just ordered a pair from Amazon. I was like, “Well if you ever forget them again, I’ll have some here.” And totally forgot about it. And then the next workout came by and the Amazon guy literally showed up two days later while we were working out. So it had been like two days to the hour and the guy shows up and I’m like, “Oh, I wonder what that is.” And you could read the outside of the box. It said TRX. And my trainer is like, “Did you get something from TRX?” I was like, “Oh, yeah. Last time you were here. Yeah, remember?” Yeah, so that’s was pretty funny. I was like, Amazon wins again.

Ryan: Yep.

Jon: All right. Dissatisfied customers. We have two left. So let’s talk about the dissatisfied customers. Everybody has them, right? And they exist. And that’s okay. These folks often can just be made satisfied by helping them understand that you’re trying to fix their challenge and improve the experience for everyone else. Often, it’s like if I come across a problem on our website, okay, let’s just say, I just bought a bed. I’m not going to name names, but I bought a bed online and it has a whole bunch of technology in it. Love it. But, I’m a tall gentleman, right? And I bought a king, and it comes, and I was like, “This is a lot smaller than a king.” It turns out, I measured it, it’s two inches less than a king. And I was like, that’s really weird. It’s not a queen. So what’s going on here?
And so I contacted the brand and said, “Hey, this bed is two inches smaller than a king.” And they said, “Oh, yeah. Because of some of the technology, blah, blah, blah, we have to make it a little bit smaller.” And I was like, “That would have been nice to have known up on your site. You need to tell people that it says king, but it’s actually two inches smaller. Because you’re advertising all these NBA players use this bed and things like that, and I’m thinking great, right? But then it’s two inches smaller.” And the founder actually emailed me and said, “Hey, I got this feedback. I heard this. Well, we’re going to add this to the website and make sure people know.” And I was like, okay, well, I still have the bed, now I’m satisfied.
And I was like, at least other people won’t have that problem, right>. So I felt vindicated in some way. And so I think I made this point to say that complaining customers are an excellent source of feedback. And that’s how you need to look at these, right? It’s not about just having dissatisfied customers, it’s about understanding what their problems are and fixing them. They tell you what the problems with your website and your consumer experience are, and so you could fix those problems. So really just want to be quick to listen to things like bad reviews, understand the complaint before responding, and understand that you can turn dissatisfied customers into loyal ones. It is possible.

Ryan: I think too often brands hear or get bad feedback or just dissatisfied customers, and it’s just for them, it’s almost scary confronting it, or they’re really excited and passionate about their brand, and somebody doesn’t like it, they’re like, “They just don’t know what they’re doing.” I’ve done this myself with brands, and I’m like, “They just don’t know what they’re doing.” And then I’m like, okay, it happened again. I’m like, okay, fine, we need to adjust the product. And my baby may be ugly, so let’s fix it and not make it so ugly to some of these people. You can’t be scared of dissatisfied customers, or you’re going to lose your brand. At the end of the day, it’s going to be just terrible.

Jon: That’s a good point. Yeah. All right. Last one, loyal customers. So, look, the 80/20 rule says that 20% of your customers will be responsible for 80% of your business. So the way I like to look at this and it’s hilarious, I was just saying this to somebody else, but loyal customers are your bread and the rest are your butter, right? So really want to be thinking about what are you doing for these loyal people? So look at loyalty programs. I like to use airlines as examples because they are so good at gamifying, right? I’m platinum on Delta. I mean, I haven’t flown them in nine months and I just got another letter from them yesterday with baggage tags for platinum level. And they said, “Hey, we’re going to keep you a platinum level for another year. Don’t worry about it. All the miles you’ve accumulated will count towards next year. So you don’t have to start over. We understand.” And they’re gamifying it and in a way that’s, okay, now, next year, when I start flying again or whenever that is, I’m going to go right back to Delta because I’m still platinum there.
If they had removed, I’d just figure out, I’d be like, hey, well maybe Alaska or whoever else flies more on the West Coast where I’m all the time going, I would probably switch. But now I’ll stick with Delta, right? They’ve done a great job with that through what’s no doubt a challenging time for them. So really want to be thinking about a way to keep customers coming back and how you can take care of your most loyal customers. As I say, gamifying works very, very well. Every customer is special, but you really want to treat these folks with even more kid gloves, if you will.
And then find ways to reward and recognize these people, you can give them special amenities. Baggage tags aren’t really going to be much for me. I don’t really care about that, but I’ll take the free upgrades and the free alcohol and everything else that comes with being platinum with Delta. And then really just treat them like a VIP and they’ll continue to be loyal. That’s really my key point here.

Ryan: And this is really probably the one area that I advocate for companies looking at competitors and taking note because a lot of times when you look at competitors and they have this widget on their side, or they do this thing in their ads, they probably have no idea what they’re doing. At the end of the day, they’re testing something. But when it comes to loyalty and what they’re doing with their customers to try to keep them loyal, often, this is where a lot of research goes and especially in the airlines. If I was running an airline, I would go to all of the other airlines’ loyalty program, find a list somehow and say, “Look, if you are platinum with Delta, I will automatically make you platinum or whatever my highest thing is with Alaska, give me a shot.” And just automatically, because you’re losing nothing. I’m not getting Jon’s business right now.

Jon: Right. It’s funny you say that because Alaska does just that. They’ll do a status match, where if you’re platinum on Delta, they will status match you and give you that for a year on Alaska. Sadly, you can only do it once in your lifetime. And I did it right before the pandemic, so that’s not a good situation for me. But yeah, at any rate [crosstalk] travel.

Ryan: Join your competitor’s loyalty program. I highly recommend everybody do that because it’s going to give you some ideas of what they’re seeing in the data or how they’re gamifying it. Just jog your brainstorming ideas.

Jon: Yeah. Status matches is a great idea, right? That’s wonderful. Yeah. Where do you think you want to go from here?

Ryan: Well, we’re about out of time. So, I guess, I’ve got a lot to chew on too because I’m sure we’re going to come out with some other ideas on this after digesting most of your data. But there’s a lot of things you can do on a site to target a lot of people. And so what would your suggestion be to somebody that’s just taken this fire hose to the face for their site and they’re like, oh, my gosh, seven different groups of people? Where do you start and how do you start taking some actions so you’re not a paralysis-analysis scenario?

Jon: Yeah, great point. I would say here, start by asking questions about each of these groups and taking a good look at your site from their perspectives, right? So do each of these customer types get their needs met or are you just leaving some out in the cold? And how do you identify and engage the most loyal customers, or how do you flag and recognize new customers? And are you providing enough information to researchers? So really there’s a key question in each of these if you go down and just ask yourself, am I meeting the needs of these people? And you’ll come up with tons and tons of optimizations that you can do to your site on your own pretty easily.

Ryan: Got it. And I would probably just broad stroke saying if you move up through the list in reverse order, you’re taking care of some of the easiest or most important things. Like keeping your loyal customers loyal to you, you can’t lose lifetime value customers, otherwise, your top-funnel marketing is just wasted. So keep those and move up. If you have to make a choice on where you’re taking actions, I’m guessing that’s where I would start.

Jon: There you go. Awesome. Well, thank you, Ryan. I really enjoyed the conversation today.

Ryan: Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for bringing your brain and letting me pick it and add some value to our listeners. I appreciate that.

Jon: All right. Well, have a great afternoon.

Ryan: You too. Thanks, Jon.

About the Author

Jon MacDonald

Jon MacDonald is founder and President of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest online brands including Adobe, Nike, Xerox, Verizon, Intel and more. Jon regularly contributes content on conversion optimization to publications like Entrepreneur and Inc. He knows how to get visitors to take action.