Have you ever been to a concert or sporting event and tried to work your way through the massed crowd in order to get closer to the performers in the hope that you can ask them for an autograph?
That’s the basic concept of brand loyalty. Your business is stuck in a huge crowd (the marketplace) with your competitors, all trying to gain the attention of potential customers, pushing each other out of the way, trying to get to the front of the pack.
So, once you have actually persuaded the customer to use your product / service, it’s then all about how you retain them, and keep them coming back. What are the best ways for you to foster the level of brand loyalty that will assure repeat patronage?
This is a rule that needs to be clear right from the start. If you are constantly changing direction / voice, your followers will notice and might not take well to it. If people are going to be loyal to your brand, you have to be loyal to them, which means you have to deliver a certain level of consistency. That doesn’t mean you can’t change things up a bit and throw in new content, but if you do a complete 180’ on your followers, you might alienate more than you gain.
Finally, always stay consistent with your voice. If you use a little humor in your conversation, stick with it. If you’re strictly business, then don’t change it up midway through. This will only confuse your followers and push them away.
Make conversation, but from a distance
If there’s one thing that is consistent with brand loyalty, it’s that consumers won’t follow a brand with no human element to it. They want to know there is a real, live person behind all the content, ads, etc. doing the work. When people share your content or leave you a short comment, don’t blow it off. Engage with them, and acknowledge that you notice their participation with your brand. This can go a long way in gaining brand loyalty.
And when we say engage from a distance, it means not bombarding people with too much conversation and content. There’s a fine line between a healthy conversation and too much, so be sure to stay within the borders.
Recognize your followers
Do you remember how excited you were when you lost your first tooth and left it under your pillow for the tooth fairy? When you looked under your pillow in the morning and found a quarter, there was nothing more exciting.
That’s kind of how it works with showing recognition to your followers. People love waking up, signing in to their social media pages and seeing an alert that they have been mentioned or recognized by a company. Consumers love it, so if someone is doing some leg work for you on a consistent basis by spreading the word about your product, give them a little recognition. It doesn’t have to be much. A simple thank you goes a long way, or you can take it a step further and offer a coupon or a free item.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews
As several studies have shown, consumers are always going to put a greater level of trust into recommendations from people they actually know, friends and family, than in what brands have to say.. So if you’re attempting to gain brand loyalty, you need to build some positive attention from consumers around your business.
A great way of doing this is by asking your previous customers to leave a comment or review about their experience with your product or service. Yes, this can open the door for a negative review. But even a negative review can be flipped into a positive outcome, as long as you address it appropriately.
There are a lot of different ways to attract brand loyalists, but when it boils down to it all, it’s about your engagement and living up to what you promise to provide. The marketing process is two-way communication, so it’s up to you to provide a voice and brand image that people can connect with.
(photo credit: Simon Heseltine)