Building relationships takes time but growing and maintaining them long term takes perseverance, energy and purpose. Jack Trout, Ad Exec and Author of Big Brands, Big Trouble says:
“Marketing battles take place in the mind of a consumer or prospect. That’s where you win. That’s where you lose.”
We live in seriously disposable times. People outgrow their use for things and each other, sadly rather quickly. I always take note when people talk about following people and companies for a “long time.” That’s really hard to do today. So how do you build a long term following, loyalty and community? How do you win in the minds of the consumer?
Here are seven ways that can foster loyalty:
Be Authentic and Real
Be who you are, walk your walk and do what you tell others to do. People are way more savvy today and pic up on wrong or suspect intentions and motives. Sure we all have something to sell, but let people know you have their back and “get” their pain. Can people relate to you?
Deliver Fresh, Fab and Fun
It’s all about the experience we create and have with people and companies we interact with. Make sure you are refreshing your sites, visuals, marketing materials and presentation. We all love things that are new, but a different spin on something we like is cool too. Make things easy to follow, entertaining and culturally relevant.
Directly Acknowledge Others
Nobody achieves success without the support of others. Be vocal and step up in directly acknowledging people, who step up and support you. Use your social media streams to shout out, re-post and let others know that you appreciate them.
Rewards, Incentives and Exclusivity
Develop ways to give extra value to people who show you loyalty. Make them feel exclusive by creating a separate database for them, that you can extend exclusive offers, content or incentives. Show them an “inner circle” status. Look at all the premium loyalty programs that exist today and follow that model.
Network, Connect and Introduce People
Always be finding reasons to connect people together for the right reasons and most apparent synergy. When I meet people at conferences or events, I just know who I should be introducing then in my sphere’s. Act on it quickly, while meeting them is current.
Feature, Reference and Mention
Know your audience, customers and followers. Use them as examples of the things you write about, present on, things you value. Blogging and social media are great ways to do this.
Collaborate and Partner
In today’s business landscape, adding value to what you offer or deliver can be easily accomplished by joining forces with other companies, products and services that are complementary to yours. Look at all the multi-branding and cross-branding that you see in travel, consumer products, education, sports and entertainment. I can now go to one store or shopping area and get groceries, eyeglasses, flowers, auto supplies, yogurt and stamps. Find ways to collaborate and partner but be very careful to “vet” people and know who you are entering into partnerships with.
Loyalty and longevity are the highest compliments a business can be given by their public. They are earned by valuing a deep appreciation for others and maintained by showing others that appreciation consistently.
Here are some awesome articles about brand loyalty from BrandChannel. What are some of the ways you are fostering loyalty?
Loyalty Photo via Shutterstock