10 Ways to Win Over Loyal Fans of Your Brand
Marketing is a complex process that requires a lot of constant activity, research, and
implementation of various strategies. The job becomes easier, though, when businesses are able to develop a core group of loyal fans that shoulder some of the marketing load themselves. Christofer Lund of Coffee Cup Commerce offers some great tips for improving brand loyalty amidst your target audience. Here are some other important steps that can have an incredible effect on your brand's reputation within the market.
Offer Rewards for Learning About Products and Services
When consumers feel like they know the ins and outs of your business, they start to feel like brand experts. When a consumer feels that he or she has reached "expert status" for your brand, they are far more likely to invest in products and services and recommend what your business offers to their friends and online acquaintances. Getting someone to examine your brand, though, can be a challenge. Consumers are busy, and they don't have time to read through your company history or evaluate your products. They may find time, however, if you offer an incentive or reward for doing a little brand research. Providing free upgrades or other small giveaways in exchange for watching a brand video or learning about a new product is a great way to create loyal brand experts among your target audience.
Implement Beta Testing
Beta testing is an excellent strategy for improving customer loyalty and creating an engaged and excited fan base. It also helps a brand develop products and services that are more likely to please a wide target audience. Consumers love to be a part of a secret, unreleased product or service. When a brand offers beta testing for a service, customers get to feel like they are part of a select and intimate testing group. They'll provide valuable feedback and keep checking back to see when the product or service goes live. When your brand finished beta testing and releases the final product, you'll have an excited group of beta testers ready to tell the world about their involvement.
Send Free Stuff
Nothing sends customers into a brand-loving frenzy than free giveaways. Obviously, you can't give away your products and services for free on a regular basis and still hope to secure a profit at the end of the fiscal year. However, if you notice that customer activity is waning or customers seem to be losing interest in your brand, you can revamp the energy levels amongst your audience by offering deals, coupons, perks, or even complementary products and services. These types of offers are also incredibly shareable; every consumer wants to be the bearer of great news to their social media contacts.
Interact Constantly Via Social Media
Social media is like one big conversation between a brand and its loyal followers. To make this conversation an effective loyalty-inducing strategy, though, the conversation needs to be kept going on a regular basis. Many brands make the mistake of neglecting social media presences that they've established. A good rule of thumb is this: if you can't devote the time and energy required to communicate constantly via a social media account, disable the account entirely. A neglected social media presence is worse than no presence at all. It's also important to interact with customers via social media instead of just posting updates about your brand. Customers want their comments to earn a response, so retweet, like, and share the things your customers say about your brand.
Ask Fans to Guest Blog
Asking fans to guest blog on your website is a great way to establish a loyal customer fan base. Even if a customer is never featured on your blog, he or she will be interested to read about real customers who have real experiences with your brand, its products, or its services. Also, guest bloggers are more likely to share their posts with a wide network of their own personal followers, so your brand gets more exposure for each post.
Feature Fans in Email Blasts
Recognizing your fan base in a public way, such as in a mass email marketing campaign, is a great way to offer public "kudos" to your followers. The fans who are featured will be more likely to share and respond to the email blast, and other readers of the email will perceive that your brand cares for and acknowledges the importance of its customers.
Showcase Loyal Fans on Your Website
Along the same vein, showcasing loyal fans on your brand's website is another great way to personalize the relationship between a company and its fan base. When real people are featured on a website, customers take notice. Elance, a popular freelancing website, does a great job with this. With photographs of real providers and quotes from successful freelancers, Elance inspires confidence in website visitors who are looking to hire professionals to get a job done right.
Use Fan Suggestions
Another important tip for winning over loyal fans of your brand is to use fan suggestions on a regular basis. If you ask for feedback, comments, and suggestions for improvement, but fail to ever implement these suggestions, your fans will start to mistrust your motives. When you implement a fan suggestion, make it public. Thank the fan specifically via email, social media, or on the website.
Deal with Complaints Immediately
Complaints aren't necessarily a severance between a brand and a fan. If you are diligent about responding to customer complaints in a transparent and honest way, you can leverage complaints and use them to increase brand loyalty.
Above all, be personal in your interactions with customers and brand fans. Generic comments simply don't cut it in this social sharing age. Reply to customers directly, thank customers by name, post pictures of and comments made by specific customers. The more personal your brand is, the more likely you are to develop fierce brand loyalty amongst your target audience.
Implementing these steps will help to develop brand loyalty amongst your fans, but skipping these steps could leave your fans feeling unimportant and neglected.
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