Imagine meeting someone for the first time. You either click with the person or you learn that you don’t have many commonalities, at which point, you either become friends or you part ways. A brand/consumer relationship works very much in the same way. There are people who are staunch advocates of one brand and are strongly opposed to competing ones. For example, if you ask people which they like better –iPhone or Android –chances are that they will choose one over the other. How does this happen? Here are three foolproof ways to engage and retain customers:
Share the same core values
The answer is pretty simple: you need to share similar, if not the same, core values as your consumers. Studies show that 38 percent of U.S. consumers will leave brands they perceive to have bad ethics. So before you even think about creating relationships, you must first think about the values that your brand shares with your consumers.
A great example of a brand with a loyal following is Zappos, an online retail shoe company. Zappos revolves around one mission: to provide“WOW” customer service. People keep coming back to Zappos, because they not only relate well to Zappos’ culture but they also have positive shopping experiences with the company.
Think of your audience not just as potential customers but as actual people. Sure, you want them to buy your products; however, to keep them coming back to your company, it’s not enough to have a website that is geared purely for retail. You want them to buy into your brand culture as well. Have a mission statement that drives your company, both within and outside of your industry. Your goal doesn’t have to be as ambitious as saving the world, but you do have to stand for something that matters – both to you and to your audience.
Speak only when you have something to say
Creative and consistent communication is certainly part of the equation, but I’ll tell you what is not: constant contact. Remember that more is not always better. You don’t want to be that overly needy friend who bombards everyone with texts, emails, Facebook posts, or tweets, because after a while, people will stop paying attention to what you have to say. People are already over-saturated with advertisements, so the last thing you want to do is add to the noise. Instead, when you do speak, make sure you say something that is worth their precious time.
Anticipate their needs by offering them a deal, and then deliver quality products to foster positive consumer experience. Engage them in conversation by asking for their feedback on your products or customer service to show them that you care. Appeal to their emotions by using your shared values in order to create a buzz around your brand. Regardless of what you say, you need to have a specific purpose in mind before you communicate with your customers.
Reward them well
Say you already have a solid consumer base; people like your products well enough, but that’s not enough for you. You want them to be so in love with your products that they can’t stop raving about it – and rightfully so. Did you know that according to recent studies, 76 percent of North American consumers are more likely to shop at a store that offers a loyalty program and that customer testimonials are 89 percent more effective than all other types of content marketing?
These staggering statistics reveal one important tip: reward your customers well, and they will do the same for you. Take American Express, for example. Every purchase on your Amex earns you points you can cash in for travel, gift cards, or shopping rewards. The philosophy behind this is if you give a little, you get a lot. By creating a rewards program for your consumers, you ensure that they become loyal customers eager to share their positive experiences with everyone.
What does all this mean for your business then? Essentially, your brand means nothing without the staunch support of your audience. Therefore, creating a meaningful and worthwhile experience for your customers will not only keep them coming back to your business but will also turn them into your biggest brand ambassadors.