Running a business is no longer as easy as it used to be a decade or two ago. Contrary to what the businessmen amongst you may think, the reason for this isn’t even increased competition or greater supply for the same demand. Instead, it is the fact that the average consumer has become smarter, more cautious, and far more strategic in his purchases. The direct fallout of this is that brand loyalty is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
Customers, these days, have no qualms about ditching brand loyalty and moving on to the next service provider or product manufacturer the moment they find a better offer. Businesses, themselves, are denigrating brand loyalty by easily stealing their competitors’ consumers by offering lower rates, better products, and even free gifts.
So, in this day and age, should a business give up on the concept of brand loyalty altogether? The answer is no because the most successful businesses are still those with a brand name. If the biggest global businesses have a brand, then it naturally means that there is merit in doing the same. The question is how can a business ensure brand loyalty amongst its customers? Office Hacks from Inkjet Wholesale answers with these six awesome tricks.
Brand Loyalty Trick #1: Marketing Message Personalisation
Recently, we did some shopping online. After the checkout process, we received this email starting “Dear Buyer”. While it didn’t create any negative impression on us, we didn’t feel all that engaged, if you know what we mean. On the basis of marketing best practices, whether digital or conventional, this email’s opening was flawed because the message wasn’t personalised.
The business in question tried to cut corners on cost and effort by trying to create email content that could be sent to everything. Since this is the age of individualism, everybody wants to be a special individual and such messages run counter to such sentiments. Alternatively, an email that begins with “Dear Shaleen” will be far more effective in engaging the individual customer.
Personalised or specifically targeted marketing is statistically known to generate a far greater response from the receiver. This isn’t only relevant to emails but all marketing components including blog posts, one-to-one chats, and even blog posts.
Brand Loyalty Trick #2: Segment Your Target Audience into Personas
How will you do this personalisation, though? Personalisation is particularly difficult because you’re likely to have thousands of consumers. While it’s easy to automate “Dear Shaleen”, the other elements of personalisation aren’t so easy. The trick to personalising marketing is creating target audience personas. These personas are essentially fictional personalities on the basis of which you can group your target audiences.
The purpose of creating personas is to segment your audience into groups of people that have similar demographic and psychographic traits. A simple way of doing this is to create a survey for your existing customers and then group them according to their responses. Another key method is social media listening. Creating personas will allow your business to not only market your products better but also make your customers think that you really know and care about them.
Brand Loyalty Trick #3: Combine Recommendations and Convenience into Those Personas
With the previous two tricks, you’ll make your customer feel special. You’ll give him a sense of belonging with your brand that can be very powerful. These feelings are important but they won’t hold any water unless you use them to give your customers solutions and bring your firm more business. To do this, you need to provide your customers with another quality that they’re perpetually searching for – convenience.
People lead busy lives in which they have problems that they need to solve as quickly and with as little fuss as possible. This is where you should be stepping in with your product or service. You should not only engage your consumer on a personal level but also make it supremely easy for him to partake in your product or service.
This means simplifying the front end of the ordering process, shipping, and anything else related to conversion. Save them time, save them money, and save them effort to gain more traction for your business.
Brand Loyalty Trick #4: Focus On Experience inside Your Sales Funnel
There is a difference between eating a burger from a fast food chain and eating a burger in a fine dining establishment. The obvious difference between the quality and elaborateness of the food is something that falls in the category of product development. This is something that most businesses do anyway.
The other and possibly equally critical difference is that a fine dining restaurant sells you an experience while a fast food chain sells you food. The former’s experience includes everything from high-end ornamentation, fancy cutlery, quality presentation, five-star service, and the sense of being revered.
The latter is what you should be looking to present to your customers. You can improve your service providing capabilities and even presentation but, in the majority of cases, you’ll have to operate from a distance. This means digital media. Digital media means all devices, all operating systems, and all platforms. Because people use multiple devices and platforms, their touch-points with a business are also numerous.
Your target should be to provide your customer with an experience across all their devices and platforms. For this, you’ll have to devise an integrated strategy that makes use of data analytics, automation, and marketing strategy customisation. While it’s a huge task for many businesses, the benefits usually tend to outstrip costs.
Brand Loyalty Trick #5: Initiate One-To-One Engagement through Chat Tools
The previous trick was very much in the “involved” category i.e. it was extensive and intensive at the same time. As a result, we felt the need to give you a simpler and easier to implement trick. Brand loyalty and customer retention are all about engagement and engagement is nothing but ensuring that you’re always in touch with your customers.
Research has shown customers online clearly prefer to two-way communications over one way communication. The name of the game again is personalisation since two-way communications result in more personalised solutions. Furthermore, a study by Forrester revealed that 44 percent of online consumers see having their questions answered by a live individual as the most important component that a website can provide.
What is the bottom line here? The bottom line is that customers like online chat tools on a website. They help keep them engaged as well as facilitate their conversion into paying customers.
Brand Loyalty Trick #6: Align All Employees and Departments towards Customer Engagement
Any business looking to create a brand needs to treat the brand as a single entity. Why? It’s because customers view brands as individual and separate entity. To them, it doesn’t matter which company or individual owns and runs that brand. Treating a brand as a separate entity amounts to doing mental acrobatics for an entrepreneur who hasn’t done it before.
Every brand has a personality. Consider Apple, look at McDonald’s or even see Nike. Each of them has a unique personality that is instantly recognisable by most people in the world, leave alone just their customers. Everything about a brand needs to be similar. More importantly, the service surrounding the brand needs to be spot on.
This means the attitude of all front end employees i.e. employees in direct contact with customers, needs to be curated and polished. Just so you know, for good measure, the bigger brands ensure that all their employees understand their brand’s commitments and qualities.
Businesses looking to establish a new brand need to do the same. This isn’t so much a brand loyalty trick as it is a long term thought exercise that needs to be translated into the real world. How you do it for your business is up to you, since every “brand is unique”. Tongue in cheek, we know but still relevant!