Did you know each day 1.7 billion servings of Coca-Cola products are enjoyed by people around the world? One of the biggest challenges business owners face is not only gaining new customers but also maintaining their brand loyalty. Just like Coca-Cola, every business aspires to be the go-to brand for customers’ wants and needs, but it takes time and effort to build raving fans. Once a customer engages with a brand, they no longer require the traditional sales pitch. Instead they need to be reminded of the benefits of using the brand and feel rewarded every time they make the choice to re-engage.
Be human: It’s extremely easy for companies to get into the habit of only looking at the data, not their individual customers. Marketing successfully and building brand loyalty goes hand-in-hand with gaining trust. Take time to focus on your customers and allow them to get to know your brand’s personality. In today’s digital world, especially on social media, customers expect companies to appear more human. If Oscar Wilde were among the living, his quote would ring true today: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
Stay consistent: Every touch point is considered a brand experience; therefore, using clear language consistently to communicate about products and services helps the customer navigate choices. This is especially important for franchises. For example, when someone dines at a chain restaurant, they expect the same service and ambiance at each location throughout the nation. Creating brand consistent messages through all marketing outlets will reaffirm the customer’s trust in the brand and will set you apart from your competition.
Connect with your customers: People love interacting with brands, especially when considering specialty products. They want to feel their needs are being validated and that the company genuinely values them. Being present and available to customers, on social media for example, provides an outlet for customers to make an emotional connection with your brand. By listening to what your customers are saying, you can better anticipate their needs. Developing this relationship requires devotion and time, not just during the holidays or a promotion, but throughout the entire year.
Deliver on promises: Marketing thought leader Seth Godin said it well, “Authenticity, for me, is doing what you promise, not ‘being who you are.’” Once a customer uses your product or service, they establish an expectation level for future purchases. It’s up to the company to deliver and exceed their expectations time and again. For example, at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® our mission is “to continually strive and exceed our customers’ expectations in value and high standard of satisfaction.” This isn’t just a saying hanging on our walls; we take it to heart with each decision we make.
Remain top-of-mind: Once the customer makes a purchase, it’s important to continue nurturing the relationship. Email marketing is a opportune way to stay in contact with customers. In addition to sending an email directly after the purchase, think about reaching out to them periodically with relevant offers or information which might be valuable to them within the context of your business. Inquire through simple surveys about their satisfaction of recent purchases. Email is also an inexpensive sales channel for sparking interest in new products and services you provide.
Consumers are inundated with choices today. To foster loyalty, we must think beyond the point of sale and use our strategic imaginations and business smarts to deliver unique and engaging experiences which no other competitor can replicate. So shape your business offerings from the viewpoint of your best customers, and you’ll be closer to creating brand advocates.